Featured Session: Bear, Ace, Maddie & Finn
When Lisa first reached out to me about scheduling a family photo session, the first since her adult children were little, I could sense her hesitation. Not only would we be rounding up 3 busy professionals, but four large, high-energy dogs. I’m so grateful for the faith she placed in me though. Their session was a wonderful way to close out the decade!
Our first challenge was finding the perfect location where these big guys could run free to romp and play. Fortunately, Lisa’s daughter Kerri had an in at a local horse farm. Perhaps it was the chill in the air or the holiday weekend but the farm was virtually abandoned. And with the exception of a curious buck who meandered through our forested studio, it turned out to be a wonderfully low-distraction location.
Miss Maddie lead the charge. Her delightfully exuberant play left the boys of the family continuously trying to keep up. Maddie found her family by sheer luck, or maybe it was fate. She was a stray on the streets of Topeka while Kerri was finishing up her veterinary degree. After being scooped up by animal control Maddie was brought to Kansas State for her spay. As it happened, it was Kerri’s first surgery. When the sweet pup opened her eyes and shook off the anesthesia, she found herself in the lap of her furever mom. And every day after that Maddie wakes up to Kerri’s kindness. She shows her appreciation by launching herself into her family’s arms whenever they’ve been away too long. While capturing Maddies adorable face I held a tasty treat over the camera. Eager to get the goody, she quickly offered me her paw. When I saw this gem pop up on the back of my camera I knew we’d captured her playful personality beautifully.
Bear’s the senior member of the group. He charged around our snowy session eager to romp with his younger compadres. It’s funny, as much fun as it is to photograph young pups, there’s something about senior dogs that speak to my soul. Perhaps it’s their graying muzzles, or the wisdom in their eyes.
Bear started his journey as a circus dog. Life under the big top left him with little chance to play with other dogs. Luckily, he found his way to a rescue and eventually to Lisa and her family with a soft spot for BIG dogs. Bear came with his name, and it suited him so well that he kept it. He spends his days refining his hobbies and his tastes. Every evening he serenades Lisa with the song of his people. He loves tennis balls, but not just any old tennis ball. Only the squeaky kind, this sweet boy has standards. He’s also quite fond of avocados, and once ate an entire bag of them, pits and all!
Ace is the biggest member of the pack and he sticks like velcro to his dog-dad Matt. That is until Maddie books past him and he can’t help but give chase! There’s something super fun with a bit of adrenaline about photographing a giant dog running…directly at you. I love to photograph dogs running head on. Imagine if you will; me laying on my stomach in the snow with Ace’s most favorite person in the world standing right behind me calling him. I snap away knowing full well, there’s a fair chance he’s about to run right over the top of me. As it turned out, Ace stopped short to lick my face instead!
Gentle giant Ace enjoyed the free reign but never ventured too far from Dad. Though we all cringed and clamored as her veered toward the frigid creek. While a polar plunge seemed like a refreshing idea to Ace, all I could think about was how much water he’d bring back with him to share with the rest of the family. Fortunately for us, this good boy came right back when dad called.
Finn is the newest member of the pack. It’s hard to imaging this energetic and loving boy narrowly escaped an early demise. His early years were spent with a loving couple who cared for him, but couldn’t manage his medical issues. His people made the tough decision to say goodbye. As it happened Kerri was the vet on duty when Finn was brought in to the hospital. His adoring personality won her heart and she took him in, knowing that she was better equipped to help him live a better life.
Finn repays Karri’s kindness by bringing as much joy to her as possible. He’s a big, silly, goofball who’ll disappear in the bushes only to return covered in snow. He loves to bring her every single toy in his toy box. Whatever it takes to make her smile.
As the sun set on our Winter photo session I couldn’t help but feel really honored to have met this wonderful family and their four amazing dogs.