This past Saturday I got to meet so many great new dogs available through the Lowcountry Lab Rescue :) I always love getting together with the dogs, fosters, and volunteers and we had a great turnout this time at the James Island County Dog Park. LLR is a wonderful organization and the volunteers work their tails off pulling dogs from shelters, rehabbing them, and finding forever homes. If you or anyone you know may be interested in one of these dogs, check out their Petfinder website and fill out an adoption application. They also keep their Facebook page updated with all of their available dogs so that’s another great way to keep in touch. And of course, share share share if you can! You never know who may be ready to open up their heart and home to a new pup :)
First up is Poppy. She was such a doll and those eyes just melted me.
This yellow guy above (right) and below is Phoenix. He was definitely a happy camper and very well behaved.
A puppy! This is Jackson. Don’t tell me he isn’t making your heart melt right now…
This sweet old lady is Mother Hubbard. It’s pretty obvious but she’s such a mellow, laid-back girl with an easy and kind demeanor.
Above (right) and below is Gypsy, a real sweet little lady. Look at those ears :)
This guy is Happy, and his name suits him perfectly. He got along with all of the other dogs, loves tennis balls, and just wants to play :)
Above (right) and below is Bear. He was just that…a big teddy bear and a real gentleman.
Next is Cash, another very handsome and laid-back guy.
And to the right we have a good looking chocolate guy named Fudge :)
As some of you may know, for the last year Dustin and I have opened our home to a few rescue dogs through the Lowcountry Lab Rescue based in Charleston, South Carolina. I’d always wanted to foster ever since I was a kid, but we always had more than enough animals already and we were (read: my mom) was terrified of getting attached. When I got in touch with LLR last year after I’d photographed some of their adoptable labs and felt like we were ready, I had no idea what we were getting into, so I figured I’d share a little about our experiences.
Since November of 2011, we’ve had four foster dogs through LLR and each one has taught me something new:
- From Greta I learned that these dogs don’t know what’s up from what’s down. Greta was pulled from a kill shelter and shuffled around quickly. She “broke me in” to fostering REAL good…I honestly wondered what I had gotten us into. When you’re so used to dogs that are already on a schedule and totally comfortable in your home, your brain seems to forget what it’s like to have a dog around that has no idea what a schedule or rules are. The lesson I learned from Greta is that the first few days are always the hardest. You have to know that many foster dogs are coming from high-stress and chaotic shelter environments or a home where they had nobody to trust. It takes time and patience for them to adjust to a new place.
- From Chase I learned that not every foster dog is going to be a fit in our home. Unfortunately Chase’s story was exceptionally sad…he was an owner surrender at the old age of 13. Who surrenders a senior pet, I have no idea. He had never been fixed so he was pretty set in his ways, and although he was a huge lovebug and such a doll, he and Riley (our male lab) could not get along or be comfortable around one another. It was a hard thing to own up to, admitting that he couldn’t stay, but our own pets must take priority. Fortunately Chase went back to his previous foster and has become an official member of their family :)
- From Sam I learned that many of the dogs that come through the rescue live through unimaginable circumstances. Sam was put in a 10×10 pen as a puppy and fed sporadically He had no training, got no attention, and his owner didn’t even care to change his puppy collar. Because puppies grow, Sam’s skin grew around his collar and it had to be surgically removed. Sam had never been given ANY boundaries. He was a ball of energy and had no manners, but he was SMART. He taught us that sometimes the most wonderful dogs come in the wildest of packages and that with a little love and TLC, dogs that seem to be a “lost cause” can become the most amazing companions.
- From Farrah I learned that love and attention goes a long way. Farrah was such a great dog and she was adopted so quickly that I never even got to blog the pictures I took of her. She was in an out within a week, because she was that awesome :) At first I thought Farrah was a female Sam, but it turns out she really just wanted lots of love, attention, and exercise.
Fostering is hard…I can’t argue with that. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not something we would be able to handle year-round. Fortunately it has worked out well for us to take foster dogs during my slow-season, but once wedding season comes around and I start traveling a fair amount again, it’s just not feasible. Foster dogs need lots of attention and many need a fair amount of training work (however there are SO many dogs out there in the system that are so easy, laid-back, and have been living in homes all their lives). It’s also hard to adjust your schedule to what a new dog’s needs, but it’s also so worthwhile. While my dogs go off leash all the time (they stick right by my side and are not independent enough to go off on their own), all of our foster dogs have needed to stay on the leash. Getting on a leash walking schedule is no easy feat when you are used to opening the door and letting your dogs do their thing for 10 minutes, but I always found the extra exercise and time outside to be really enjoyable. So there are definitely schedule adjustments, but they have always ended up being a nice change in the every day pace.
Getting attached has not been a problem for us. I admit handing over our first foster, Greta, was hard. I blubbered like a baby giving them the leash and cried the whole way home. Since then, it’s been sad and we feel a void in the home but no tears have been shed. I think for us, our dogs fit so perfectly into our family that in my mind, it would take a miracle for a dog to come along that would tempt me to want to keep it. Riley and Lexi have the most awesome bond and adding a third dog to the dynamic just wouldn’t make sense. It’s also been a great learning experience for my step-son, Landon. He likes hearing the dogs stories and getting to help “save their lives.” He especially took to Sam and loved going with me to take him for long walks, knowing that we were “making him better and giving him manners” so that another family could love him forever.
I’m definitely no expert on the subject having only fostered a few dogs, but these four dogs have taught me a lot about how the process works and it’s just the most rewarding and wonderful thing to be a part of. Just a little love and a little time can make a huge impact. Seeing these dogs move onto homes where they are just so loved and treasured is priceless. If you’re interested in fostering but don’t know where to start, calling your local shelter or rescue would be the way to go. Many humane societies also foster out dogs, so that would be a good place to check as well.
I have had so much fun sharing the images from my meet up with Dana Cubbage Photography and Sarah of McGraw Photography and today I’m bringing you Bentley and Friday. Bentley is the adorable French Bulldog that melts hearts left and right, and Friday is the super awesome and playful blue merle Catahoula. Talk about photogenic pups! And funny enough…but these two are actually buds at The Wag Factory :) If you missed Lilly and Gizmo on Monday, you can check them out here :) Who can’t get enough of these amazing locations we found in downtown Charleston? I’m in love!
Is it just me or is Bentley absolutely LOVING his time in front of Dana’s camera?
Hi Friday! This guy was so much fun and has the COOLEST everything…story, namesake, coloring, personality, and owners! I love everything about him, and soon enough you will see why :)
Thank you Sarah, Dana, and all of our AWESOME models and their mom’s for such a fun afternoon!
Did you catch the sneak peek I posted last week from my rendezvouz with Dana Cubbage Photography and Sarah of McGraw Photography? Today I’m finally sharing the first two of four pups we worked with. We met up last Monday for a yummy lunch at Poe’s Tavern and then hit the streets downtown with our models to do some laid back shooting. We had such a blast and I know we all are so excited about the shots we captured! It will be so fun to see how we all put our “mark” on our images despite working with the same dogs in nearly identical conditions. We had such a great time and if you think it sounds like fun, try to get together with a few photographers in your area and do the same thing! There was an outpouring of support for our model call so don’t let finding “models” deter you :) Here are some of my favorites of Lily and Gizmo. A huge thanks to their moms Amy (from The Lovely Find) and Amanda for bringing them out!
First up is photogenic miss Lily…and this is Sarah doing her thing in historic White Point Gardens :)
Here Dana is working with Lily down one of Charleston’s beautiful side streets…
Next it was Gizmo’s time to shine. His mom affectionately listed his breed as “alien from another planet” when she sent in the model call email, and we all got such a kick out of that. Gizmo has tons of personality and LOVED all of the attention his ego was getting haha! And that underbite…absolutely hysterical.
This past Monday, Sarah McGraw (of McGraw Photography), Dana Cubbage (of Dana Cubbage Photography) and I got together with four really awesome dogs just to hook up and shoot for fun. We had a blast hanging out in the streets of Charleston with Lily, Gizmo, Bentley, and Friday. This is just a little peek at what’s in store, but next week I’ll be sharing two dogs at a time. Aren’t they all so photogenic and clearly full of personality?
Although I have deep roots in Maryland where I grew up, I am absolutely in love with all things southern. I live on a farm in a small town in South Carolina with my handsome husband, my beautiful step-son, our two yellow lab fur-kids, and three spoiled horses. My blog is a journal of sorts. It’s where I can share all about the things I love so much: my family, our life together, and of course all of the amazing and wonderful people and pets whose story I get to tell.
I love collaborating with laid-back and down- to-earth couples who appreciate the value their wedding images will have for the rest of their lives, and I believe in unique weddings that are truly designed around two people and who they are together. I strive to create images that are emotional, organic, fresh, and genuine, but that will remain timeless twenty, thirty, or sixty years down the road. I believe in printed images, developing friendships with my clients, and having a completely relaxed and enjoyable wedding experience. Each and every story I get to tell is unique and I truly enjoy sharing all of the little pieces that together form this beautiful relationship.
I am currently booking weddings for 2013 and 2014, so please get in touch below to start the journey of documenting your love.