I recently had the experience of fearing that all of my belongings, my home and possibly my life could be swept away. I’m talking about hurricane Harvey. Sitting in my home waiting to see how close the flood waters were going to get, I began to try to make some decisions about what I would absolutely need to save in the event I had to leave. My dogs, of course. My camera, yes. But, as I looked around, I realized I could not stand the idea of losing photos of my loved ones, including my pets. I have beautiful images of dogs and cats that have long since crossed over the rainbow bridge that would be devastating to lose.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about taking photos of pets is that they are not with us as long as they should be. They move through our lives, expanding our hearts and giving to us in ways we never imagined and it is never for long enough. I have photos of my dogs at every stage of their lives. Some as puppies, some as half-starved rescues who blossomed into stunning beauties and many of them just being their wonderful, silly selves. I get to have those forever, even if I can’t keep my dogs with me for that long. So for me, sitting there waiting to see what would happen, it was clear that “stuff” may not be important, but some things are worth more than money. They are the ways we keep memories alive.
This past Sunday I had the privilege of working with Flitzer and her owner/trainer Holly Furgason. Flitzer is a Jack Russell Terrier and is a lot of dog in a tiny package. She is titled in both conformation and obedience and on her way to completing her rally title (her official name and title is the title of this post and is almost as big as she is). I was looking forward to working with a well-trained dog. Many of the rescue animals that I photograph are still working on learning their names and perfecting their manners, so it can be a bit of a challenge to get them to pose. Flitzer did not disappoint on the posing, but she is a terrier after all and showed her breeding in the busy setting we chose for the shoot. There were dogs to growl at and birds that needed to be chased and those things had to be done with intense concentration.
None of my noises worked. When you photograph dogs, you have to lose your inhibitions about being silly. You have to yap, squeak, blow raspberries and any number of other undignified ploys to get the dog to look at you. But Miss Flitzer was not impressed! She is a terrier and she was busy making her own silly noises at anything around us that caught her attention. She was being a dog!
I recently adopted a terrier mix named Roxanne who, to put it mildly is a tiny bit intense. Working with Flitzer was like a balm to my dog owner ego. If a well-trained, titled dog like that can be a little nuts, my wonderfully quirky girl is just being who she was born to be. She is an extremely intelligent, slightly stubborn, unapologetically enthusiastic lover of life and, to be honest, kind of my hero.
Check out the photos of Holly and Flitzer. If you want a well-trained dog like Flitzer, contact Holly at 832.275.4301 or through her Facebook Page here
© Kim Tonks Photography