TL; DR: There are SO many dogs at the bottom of the blog!
Like clockwork every Friday at my 9-5, a recycled question passes through the office:
“Got any big plans for the weekend?”
Typically, I dread this question. (Dives into deep introspection on if I am living my best life and why I don’t have more planned. Kidding.) Most of my coworkers know that I photograph, so usually they’ll ask about that, too.
But on Friday the 10th, I could not wait for them to ask what I had planned for the weekend. I did have a shoot, but not like any I had done before.
“I AM PHOTOGRAPHING PUPPIES,” I pronounced to people who inquired (and probably to some who didn’t)… Ok.. not just puppies. Some grown-up doggos and a handful of kitties, too, but really no one was asking for specifics.
My mentor is a long-time customer of McLendon Veterinary Clinic. The clinic recently came under new management. In effort to create community and connection with clients, the new owners hosted a festival of sorts for customers and their furry companions. As part of the day’s festivities, they invited my mentor and me to photography some pet portraits. (I know what you’re thinking: how did I ever get so lucky?)
Originally, the shoots were scheduled to last from 9-12 in the morning. My mentor and I figured that there was only a slim chance we would use that whole time.
We were wrong. Boy, were we wrong.
As we pulled into the clinic, a line has started to circle the building. Doggos and puppers, big and small, hairy and hairless, dressed in their Sunday-best and Gameday get-up, ready for their 15 minutes in the spotlight.
“This is going to be the best day of my life.”
As the dogs filed in, we quickly realized this was going to be much more difficult that anticipated. We assumed (you know what people say about assumptions) that dogs would come in like little furball angels, quietly sit and stay, maybe give us a little Blue Steel, then go on their way.
No. No. and No.
Every time a new dog would come in, it’s like their thought process was saying this:
** read the following passage like a hyper version of Doug from Up
“OH WHAT IS THIS. AM I GETTING SHOTS? EVERY TIME I COME HERE SOMEONE GIVES ME A SHOT AND DUNKS MY HEAD UNDER WATER. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? WHAT ARE THEY POINTING AT M…. IS THAT ANOTHER DOG SMELL? IS THAT CHUCK? WAS CHUCK IN HERE? HOW MANY DOGS HAVE BEEN HERE?... (LICKS CAMERA) (KNOCKS INTO BACKDROP) WHERE IS MY MOM? OKAY, THERE IS MY MOM. (HEAVY BREATHING, HEAVY BREATHING) (RUNS AROUND OFFICE FRANTICALLY)
After a few minutes of sheer insanity, they often quieted down (or were held in place / bribed by their owners) as my mentor and I rushed to get the shots.
In between the chaos, we had some very beautiful and touching moments. A few of the owners had recently received news that their beloved friends did not have much longer. Our pet portraits would help commemorate their final time together and celebrate years of friendship and love. Looking through the viewfinder of my camera, I had a hard time focusing, eyes tearing up from the purity and beauty of the moment.
We photographed that day until almost 3 PM. While we lost track of the dogs and the time, the joy I felt working with the animals and the owners is a feeling that still lingers with me.
Thank you McLendon for inviting us, and I cannot wait until next time!