National Mutt Day

Today is National Mutt Day, also known as National Mixed Breed day. Created in 2005, it is celebrated on July 31 and December 2 as a way to embrace and honor all the mixed breed dogs out there.  The hope is to bring awareness to all the mutts that end up in shelters due to overbreeding, and the desire for designer breeds that result in dogs who end up homeless. My husband and I adopted one such mutt, Kita, who has brighten our lives with her spunky, entertaining and adorable personality! Who says mutt breeds aren't the best?

Do you have a mixed breed dog? Share your photos in the comments below! 

terrier mix Penn State University

Featured | Daily Dog Tag

I've been following Beth Patterson at Daily Dog Tag for a while now. She has a great blog where she features all things dog related. I find great recipes, gift ideas for the pups and dog lovers in our lives, adoptables, and pet photography sessions from photographers all over the world. One of my goals this year was to get a blog post of mine featured on blogs like Beth's. I was really excited when she said she would feature my senior session of Kya who included her dog Tux in the photos. You can see it HERE! Be sure to check out the rest of her BLOG while you're there! 

Daily dog tag feature

Hazel | State College pet photography session

One of the questions I always ask my clients is why do they want photos of their fur kids? And what made them decide to call me now? I love hearing how much these special best friends mean to their pet parents. And what makes their relationship so unique. In Hazel's case, her mom told me she had been diagnosed with a heart condition recently. She was afraid Hazel was on borrowed time and wanted to make sure she got some photos before it was too late.

When I met Hazel and her mom to plan our session, I learned that Hazel had been a breeding dog for many years. Four years ago her breeder placed Hazel in the home where she currently lives. Hazel's mom is no stranger to miniature schnauzers, having owned others before. But this one was different. At 12, Hazel has never barked. Nor did she know how to play with toys. When Hazel's mom took her to the vet, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, worms and had to have several of her teeth pulled.

Hazel's mom wanted her to live a life of a dog doing what most dogs do - play, go for walks, and make friends with other dogs. She spent most of her life in a kennel either pregnant, nursing or waiting to be impregnated again. In spite of her lack of socialization, she gets along well with other dogs, and has several dog friends she's met at a local park where she walks daily. 

While not a lively dog, she is very calm, sweet yet a little timid. Hazel's mom told me she is scared of squeaky toys, whistles and loud cars. She thought Hazel would be hard to photograph and didn't expect a whole lot from the session. Although she was a little nervous at times, Hazel was a terrific model. In order to not scare her, I didn't use my sounds like I usually do, instead just watching her, clicking the shutter when something caught her attention and she was looking in the direction I wanted her to. In spite of all the concerns, we were able to capture a variety of images. Even though I kept the session short, she clearly became comfortable the more we worked together.

When I was finished and put my camera down for the final time, Hazel came over to me and curled up in my lap. It was as though she understood her job as well as mine was done and now it was time to really connect. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her. And I can't say how happy it makes me that Hazel has the family she does now. She really hit the jackpot with a loving, patient and understanding mom. One who truly will give her a life so she deserves after all these years of breeding. 

Hazel  the mini schnauzer
Hazel mini schnauzer in summer field
miniature schnauzer in stand of trees
mini schnauzer and wildflowers

Izzy turns 8!

I almost let Izzy's birthday go by without even wishing her a happy day! I had all these intentions of having a birthday cake smash photo session for her this year. I even bought a puppy cake mix a couple of months ago in anticipation of making this happen. The next thing I knew, it was the day before Izzy's birthday and I had nothing planned nor prepared. Her party was going to have to wait a couple of days. Thank goodness she has no idea it's July, let alone her birthday!

After baking her cake one evening, the next afternoon I set up her surprise. I don't think Izzy had a clue what was going on. That is, until I got out my camera gear and set up my equipment. She's learned that when I do this, treats are involved. So she's always ready to be photographed! Baking the cake was easy - just add an egg, water and oil to the mix then cook for about 20 minutes. I chose the pumpkin flavored mix and it sure smelled good! It's suggested that you use a 6 inch cake pan, but I only had a 9 inch one. So the cake was more thin than I would have liked. There wasn't enough batter either to make a double layer cake, but in the future I would buy 2 boxes and do this. I also didn't have enough icing and wished I had some yogurt on hand that I could have put in the freezer and used.

It wasn't the prettiest cake I ever made, but I don't think Izzy would mind. I set her up at my dining room table and began snapping away. At one point I sang "Happy birthday" and she seemed to really enjoy that. Mostly though, all she wanted was for me to give her the ok to eat her tasty treat! And just as I predicted, she loved it!

Sometimes it feels like it was ages ago that we brought home this tiny little 8 week old puppy. Other times, it seems like it was just yesterday. It's true what they say, time does fly. I can't imagine our lives without her!

Happy birthday Izzy!

golden retriever birthday cake smash 1
golden retriever birthday cake smash - 2
golden retriever - birthday cake smash - 3
golden retriever birthday cake smash - 4

Lessons from the dog - keep digging until you find buried treasure

Like most golden retrievers, my girl Izzy, loves to play with tennis balls. Sometimes the ball rolls under the fence in our backyard. Just far enough out of reach, yet not too far that she can’t see it. When this happens, she starts to digging at the ground hoping to get the ball to move just a smidge closer to her. While it’s a fun game for her, we are constantly screaming in frustration lest we have holes all over our yard!t But I have to admit, her plan usually works. If she digs enough, she'll be rewarded with her coveted prize! And play one more round of toss and chase the ball with me!

Izzy isn’t the only dog I know who likes to dig. Whatever the treasure is - a tennis ball, a bone, a treat or a favorite toy - digging has it’s rewards. And this is another lesson we can learn from our dogs. 

Often, we give up too easily. Or don't dig deep enough. But if we keep on digging we might be surprised at what we'll find. Our dogs know this, because within every hole they create, there was something in there worth digging for! We should do the same. Like discovering our true selves buried deep within us. Or give up when things get tough instead of digging our way past the surface. Perhaps we just met someone and didn't hit it off. If we dig deeper and get to know them better, we might find we have a lot in common. So the next time you feel like you're not making your dreams come true, go back to your hole and dig a little deeper. If you don't end up in China first, I bet you'll find you just didn't dig far enough!

golden retriever digging