<![CDATA[hollycookphotography.com - Blog]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2023 01:12:40 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Salryc]]>Fri, 03 Nov 2023 17:21:53 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/salrycSal and Jess
Salryc is a Pharaoh Hound/Jindu Mix who was rescued from the meat trade in South Korea. She is an amazing creature!

I first met Sal and her human, Jess, last winter for a Santa session up at Steven's Pass. This was Sal's first experience with snow and she had a blast! I don't know who enjoyed the session more; Sal or me. I really enjoyed watching Sal frolic in the snow and celebrate her joy.

Sal is a very smart, high energy dog and her human, Jess, has spent a lot of time working with Sal. She is highly trained, has a mind of her own and has a bright spirit. You can see it in her eyes. She also loves her human.
In the spring of 2023, I photographed Sal for my contribution to the "Tails of the World" book. We met at Discovery Park, during a foggy, misty Saturday morning. The water droplets on the grass added just a touch of magic to her images.

I've also photographed Sal for a feature in Seattle Pup Magazine, when I was volunteering as a dog photographer.

But my favorite session, by far, is the "Woman and Her Dog" session I did with Sal and Jess. These sessions were created to celebrate the bond between a woman and her dog, while letting the woman feel powerful and beautiful in an amazing dress or skirt (or whatever outfit makes her feel powerful and beautiful.) Jess choose to wear red and I added on a satin skirt with a 9 foot train. Yep, it's really 9 feet long! We created images on the beach during a moody afternoon in early fall. (If you are interested in a "Woman and Her Dog" photo session, please email me)

In between spending time with me, Jess and Sal drove up to Calgary, Alberta and enjoyed a session with a gifted dog photographer, Heidi Grace. Heidi created images of Sal and Jess that really highlight their bond together and they are beautiful, bright and cheerful.

I am working with working dog clients almost exclusively now. It's a passion for me and I have to answer the call.

That being said, I am now working with select private commission clients as well. My time is limited because working dog teams always come first, but if you are interested in a DogJoy Session with me as your dog photographer, simply join the wait list. As soon as a time slot opens up for a private commission, I will let you know. Your submission is good for 6 months!
join the wait list
Hugs to your dog!
<![CDATA[Play = Pay]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2023 17:52:13 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/play-pay

Would you do your job without getting paid?

In the wake of the disaster in Hawaii, scent detection dog teams from around the country responded to the call for help. Search and Rescue teams who specialize in trailing, live find, water rescue and even recovery all went in the hopes of finding survivors. They all went in with the call for help ringing in their ears, with the unwavering hope of being of service, with the knowledge, deep in the back of their minds, that they may see things they wish they hadn't.

I heard some of the stories that these teams endured. The unbelievable fury of that fire, whipped by hurricane force winds. The Banyan Tree that was scorched but, somehow, survived. All of the people who were displaced or who were searching for their families.

But the one thing detail that really caught my attention was a story of a group of SAR teams who went to work and when they were done, they were paying their dogs for their work. Listen, the dogs love the work, but they also love (and deserve) the reward for a job well done. That reward is play. Whether it be a game of fetch with their favorite ball or bumper, or a rousing game of tug, these dogs deserve to be paid.

In this particular instance, the outcome of the search was not as they had hoped. They had found the human deceased. It seems the family was somehow involved in this mission and found that the dogs "having fun" was disrespectful and they were upset. It was simply a matter of the family not knowing how the dogs worked. I'm not sure if anyone explained it to them. I can empathize with their unhappiness, especially if the dogs were full of joy because they were playing. Whose job was it to educate this grieving family? When I asked this question, no one really had an answer.

This story got me thinking, though. How many people understand that Search and Rescue Dog teams must have this moment of positive reinforcement even during and after catastrophic situations? The dogs don't truly understand the scope of their mission, they just know they have work to do. They also know that once they have successfully completed their work, they get to play. Even during the aftermath of 9/11 - in the haze of disbelief and grief - the dogs were rewarded with play. It's how they know they've done their job. It's how they de-stress. It's how they bond with their human. Let's not discount that part.

If you read this post and have found this to be new information for you, please tell your friends and family and encourage them to tell others. Awareness of this play=pay for these amazing dogs will go a long way!

Also, please remember that these teams are nearly 100% voluntary! That means that they do not get compensated for their time and are serving because they feel the need to answer the call.

I'm even happy to provide you with this graphic to share on your social media, if you see fit.
Feel free to screen shot it, download it, copy and paste... it doesn't matter. What matters is creating the awareness about the incredible things these dogs do and allowing them the time and space to enjoy their reward.

I mean,  you wouldn't do your job for free, would you?

Hugs to your dogs!
<![CDATA[The working dog wish list]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2023 18:18:50 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/the-working-dog-wish-list
A girl can dream, can't she?

As I take my time and consider what I want "Working Tails of the Pacific Northwest" to become (knowing full well the book has a life of it's own and I'm just the vessel through which it will come to life), I created a "Wish List" of all of the working dogs I'd like to feature.

It's a diverse list and it is a result of a lot of thought and consideration.

These are the dogs whose stories I want to tell. I want to share about the breed, the job and the dog's personal (is that the right word?) journey with their human partner.

This book will be different that any other book I've created, with only 30 features and so much more detail about each dog and their job.

Any working dog is welcome to register, of course. =)

If you are a human of a working dog with a job on the wish list, please register or reach out to me. I want to work with you and your dog!
If you have questions, are not in the Seattle area or have a financial burden, please email me.
Email Holly
I am so excited to create this new book, with epic imagery and amazing stories. I hope you will join me.

Hugs to your dogs!

<![CDATA[When their work is done]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2023 22:15:11 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/when-their-work-is-done

I am putting my money where my mouth is when it comes to working dogs.

I have added a new service to "The Working Dog Photographer's Fund" to assist working dogs who are in need forever homes when their work is done.

This new service will include professional photos, video clips, an interview with the human who knows the dog best along with a professional quality video that will be suitable for a website and social media sharing.

The dog in need of boosting can be working currently or waiting in a shelter, rescue or foster home, such as Buoy.

The caveat? I'm only doing this for working dogs, with the exclusion of bite work dogs, law enforcement K9s and Military Working Dogs. The dogs who do these specific jobs already have amazing resources that can do things I just can't offer.

I will not be charging for this new endeavor, it will be sponsored by "The Working Dog Photographer's Fund".

You have the opportunity to support this work!

A one-time contribution of $5-$15.
One Time Contribution
Want to contribute more than $15? That's great!
Monthly Support
You also have the opportunity to become a monthly supporter on Patreon.

When their work is done, let's help find their forever homes.
<![CDATA[Buoy]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2023 21:49:50 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/buoy

Searching for a forever home

Not all working dogs enjoy the jobs they are assigned.

When I was in my late teens, I got a job as a grocery bagger at a local store. I gave it about 4 hours and then realized it wasn't for me. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't the grocery store's fault. It wasn't the customer's fault. It just wasn't a job I was cut out to do. Instead of wasting everyone's time, I let the manager know how I was feeling and, upon mutual agreement, I left.

This is the case with Buoy.

He is currently working as a scent detection dog in California. His nose is trained to detect invasive mussel species on boats. It can be a hectic job too. He works when most people want to be in or on the water. It's busy. It's hot. There is a lot of chaos. Like me, Buoy doesn't thrive in chaos and has recently let his human partner know that detecting mussels just isn't for him.

It's not his fault. It's not his human's fault. It's not boater's fault. This isn't the job he wants to be doing. (I totally get that!)

So, the search is on for an active home that understands the needs of a working dog. Buoy is nearly 3 years old now. He is highly trained, super smart and has incredible ball drive. His ideal family would take him on adventures, let him use his nose and throw the ball over and over and over.

My friends over at Dogs With Jobs are the people to talk to if you are interested in Buoy.

Support the work!
<![CDATA[the time has arrived]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2023 17:55:55 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/the-time-has-arrived

The time has finally arrived!

If you have been following my journey at all over the past few years, you know my passion is working dogs and not money. You also know that my vision has been to provide photography to working dog teams at no cost to them. I want to include their stories in my books, on my blog, on my podcast and create DogJoy for them, exclusively.

Well, the time has finally arrived and I am now devoting 100% of my working time to this endeavor.

What does that mean? Well, first I am no longer working with private clients nor am I taking on commission or commercial work unless it benefits working dogs.

Yep, it's a huge step, but I believe in the power of manifestation, following my intuition and going with my gut. (Woo woo stuff? Perhaps, but these things have never failed me.)

But, Holly, how will you make money?

When I share this vision with people, that is always the first question they ask me. "How will you make money?"

First of all, what a sad statement to make. Are we only allowed to do things that make us money? What about things that make us happy? Things that bring us joy? Things that fill us with purpose? Those things are what motivate me. Don't get me wrong, I understand that money is a tool and I need it to create my place in this world, but it is not the motivation for my work.

Secondly, the realist part of my brain understands that money is necessary. How can I travel to these working dog teams without money? How can I create books without money? See? I get it, I just don't like it.

Anyway, it has taken me a little over a year to figure this out and I'm at the point where I can do this work and not have money be a huge consideration for me. How?

By building a solid community that supports the work that I do and giving them an opportunity to financially support that work.

Here's how my community supports my work:

1. They get involved in my projects and bring in new friends.
2. By purchasing my books, calendars and other creations.
3. I have an amazing Patreon Community.
4. I have given my community the opportunity for a one-time contribution, if they are moved to do so.
5. They "Buy Me A Coffee".

These things all add up so I am able to work with working dog teams at no charge to them! I call it "The Working Dog Photographer's Fund" and I use it to work with working dog teams who might not otherwise be able to work with a photographer.

Would you like to get involved? All of the options to support my work are listed below. You can become a monthly supporter or simply Buy Me A Coffee. Every penny is helpful and is used for my work.

Listen, this isn't the easiest way to make a living. But, the work is more important than the money. Ask anyone who knows me. =)

The working dog photographer's fund

Here are a few ways to contribute:
No commitment. $5-$15 with a big thank you!
one time contribution
One time contribution in any amount with a big thank you!
Become A Patron
This involves a monthly contribution, but you get access to great stuff with a big thank you!

You can also sponsor a team, contribute to a current fund raising effort or just share on social media. Little things add up!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Hugs to your dogs!
<![CDATA[Archeology Dogs]]>Tue, 22 Aug 2023 19:39:15 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/archeology-dogs
I met Suzanne and Keb at a cemetery in Snohomish. The only marker was a solitary sign that bespoke the name of this long forgotten cemetery. Locals use it as a pseudo dog park. The grass had just been cut and the clippings had been left to dry in the sun that had yet to appear in our little corner of the Pacific Northwest. 

The training session included 3 dogs and 2 handlers, one curious photographer and her sherpa husband. (If you've worked with me before, you know that Tony is a great sport and is always so helpful.)

What were the dogs looking for? Burial plots that are well over 100 years old. Pioneers that settled in the area, shaping where our towns now sit by creating commerce and communities. Their stories are unknown, their final resting places are unmarked. This happens more often that I realized, thus the need for archeology dogs.

These dogs are experts in human remains detection. That is a broad umbrella under which they work. They are versatile and can work in different scenarios, but for the purpose of this day, they were detecting the pioneer's final resting places. 

The handlers worked one a time, placing flags where their dogs alerted. There was no way to know if the dogs alerted correctly or not, but their finds were marked with different color flags. The handlers will review their finds and compare with data from the time era. History meets working dogs. How cool is that?

Why is there a need for Archeology Dogs? Because there are so many small, forgotten cemeteries just like this one. 

Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest believe that your final resting place is just where your body lays. Your spirit continues it's journey....unless the final resting place is disturbed. This is very important in their culture and it's also a beautiful way to consider death. Thus, we must treat their final resting spaces with respect. But, I digress...

Many times, when new buildings are being built, it is essential to know what is under the ground. What if there is a small, forgotten cemetery buried underneath? Call in the Archeology Dogs to find out. It's a valid option. The dogs will come in and do their work, alerting their handlers to possible remains. The spot is flagged and the dogs move on. 

Later, more sophisticated machinery (and more expensive) will be brought in to verify the dog's finds. 

Once it's been determined whether or not there are remains on the property, plans can move forward for building, etc. 

It NEVER ceases to amaze me what dogs are capable of, and I truly believe that we have only scratched the surface of their potential. 

Suzanne is a kindred spirit: her love of working dogs eclipses mine. She has collected stories about her and Keb, and her sometimes human partner, James Guy Mansfield, and created a book. 

A Dog's Devotion. I've read it...twice. It's worth a read.

Want to support my work without a commitment? Buy Me A Coffee.

<![CDATA[PNW Dog of the Year 2023]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2023 16:34:03 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/pnw-dog-of-the-year-2023
Congratulations to Ember, who won this year's PNW Dog of the Year Contest with nearly 1,000 votes!

Ember is a 5-year-old Golden Retriever who serves her community in Oregon as a Therapy Dog. She and her human partner work at a local hospital. She is a third generation Project Canine Therapy Dog and also serves as a Hope Animal Assisted Crisis Response Dog.

Ember is also an amazing nanny to puppies and helps them learn to socialize with other dogs. This is vitally important if the puppies are to grow up to be therapy dogs.

When Ember is not working or supervising puppies, she loves to go to the beach.

You can follow Ember's adventures on Instagram or Facebook.
Ember is the embodiment of a gracious Golden Retriever. Her and her human partner work tirelessly to help and support people when they need a paw to hold or a shoulder to cry on. They are a wonderful team.

$500 was donated to their dog charity of choice, Pile of Puppies, in Ember's name.
She will receive a custom made crown, a certificate, a complimentary photo session, a 5x7 acrylic block, and 2 t-shirts for her humans.

She also is on the cover of the 2024 Tails of the Pacific Northwest Calendar, which is available to order until Sept. 40.
You can see that the voting was intense, but Ember took the lead early and maintained it for the entirety of the contest. She had a lot of competition too! Sterling and Tugboat ran successful campaigns!

Tugboat took his campaign to work, where he encouraged boaters to vote. He is a mussel detection dog who works at a very busy lake in Northern California, so he interacted with humans a lot.

You can imagine how amused I was when I got this photo.

While Tugboat didn't win PNW Dog of the Year, he ran an amazing campaign and many people learned about what Mussel Dogs do and why they are important. I think I'd count that as a win!

Great job Tugboat! <3

Some folks got really creative with their campaigns!

PNW Snow Dog of the Year

Congratulations to Sterling, who has been named PNW Snow Dog of the Year! Why? Well.... As I explained to my Patreon Community:
"Sterling and Walker are brothers-in-dog who were on my "Dogs I Want To Meet" Instagram Wishlist. I had been in contact with Lillian, their human, for a few months, but things never worked out for me to actually meet her and the dogs. 
When it was announced that I was creating "Tails of the Pacific Northwest", Lillian was interested, but Sterling required a lot of care, which, of course, costs money. She even created a GoFundMe campaign to help with the cost. Anyway, long story short, she couldn't participate because of a lack of funds. 
This is where YOU came in! I had just enough in the Working Dog Photographer's Fund for Lillian to register both boys to be in the book. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT!
Once I told Lillian that we wanted to feature the boys and that the cost had been taken care of, she was thrilled. We set up the session to take place in Anacortes, one of my favorite places to shoot. I was *hoping* for a cloudy day, but it is Bluebird season and the skies were cloudless and blue. We made it work.
Since Sterling has a tough time getting around, we didn't get to the beach and that was totally ok. We found many places where he could explore, safely. 
Now, let me take a minute here and explain why I love these dogs so much.
First of all, they are both rescues. Sterling was rescued in Texas and Walker was found while Lillian and her husband were hiking in the woods. Sterling had glaucoma and, at the age of 8, he went blind. He requires eye protection when he's outside, so he rocks his RexSpecs. Walker has become his emotional support dog and, as long as Walker is around, Sterling feels safe. It's an amazing relationship. When experienced in person, it's just magic. (I know I use that word a lot when it comes to dogs, but it's always true!) Also, both of the dogs are Amabassadogs for a local Malamute Rescue.
You can understand my excitement when I realized that your support could actually get these boys in the book! And then, it got even better!
As I do when I create any book, I started a Dog of the Year Campaign. Since I had working dogs and non working dogs in the book, I could not run a "Working Dog of the Year" campaign, so it became PNW Dog of the Year. Sterling's mom took it and ran with it. She put it on social media, talked to her friends and neighbors, and told her vet about it. While she was excited, she was worried about over doing it. She shares everything on social media about Sterling and Walker and did not want her followers to feel overwhelmed between the GoFundMe Campaign and the PNW Dog of the Year Campaign. 
That being said, Sterling is currently in second place; behind by 147 votes. With 2 weeks left in the contest, he has a fair chance of winning. If he does, $500 will be donated to Washington Alaskan Malamute Adoption League (Wamal). He will become the cover dog for the 2024 Tails of the PNW Calendar. He will receive a crown and a certificate and so much more. Even if he doesn't win, his second place standing will assure his appearance in the calendar. 
All of this because YOU supported me doing something that I love to do. Lillian doesn't know that I am doing all of this. She just thinks I was being nice and allowing the dogs in the book. But, it is important to tell their story. Lillian feels alone in her journey with Sterling's newly diagnosed cancer and I check in with her often. I wish I could just give her the money for Sterling's treatments so she could focus completely on caring for her dogs. Since I am not a gazillionaire, I'm doing what I can to help. 
When her dogs have finished their journey's, she will always have the book, the photos and the calendar to remember them. It's not much, but it's what I can do with YOUR support."
Secondly, the voting concluded when I was in Michigan. That's a different time zone by 3 hours. I *thought* I was smart enough to have set the voting to end at midnight PST, but I did not remember the time zone difference. My laptop, thinking it was smarter than me, ended the voting at midnight EST, meaning anyone on the West Coast lost their chance to vote between 9 pm - midnight.

It was brought to my attention the next morning with some... let's say unsatisfied voters. I spoke with Lillian to apologize and then had a smack upside the head of inspiration.

I had to talk to Ember's human first, before I could say anything to Lillian. So, that's exactly what I did!

Ember's human has gone through a cancer journey with a dog. She also knows how much my mistake bothered me. (I have nothing if I don't have my integrity.)

So, with Ember's human's blessing, I created 2 PNW Dog(s) of the Year awards! Because Sterling is a Wooley Husky and loves the snow, it just made sense to name him Snow Dog of the Year.

The Calendars

Sterling's Dog Charity of choice, in the event he won, was Washington Alaskan Malamute Rescue League. In order for things to feel fair, I decided that a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the calendar featuring Sterling on the cover will be donated to Wamal. I don't know if we will raise $500, but we will do the best we can.
The Calendars are on sale now until September 30th, with your choice of covers; Sterling or Ember. Or, order both!

To order, simply scan the QR code or click the button, below.

Order 2024 Calendar

Thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who participated in this year's PNW Dog of the Year contest. My little ol' dog lovin' heart is just so happy!
We helped Pile of Puppies and Wamal.
Our little community grew and it was amazing watching everyone support each other.
I met new dogs and made new friends.
Isn't that what community is all about?

Hugs to your dogs!
<![CDATA[Half Way Through Voting for PNW Dog of the Year]]>Wed, 19 Jul 2023 18:32:36 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/half-way-through-voting-for-pnw-dog-of-the-year

Have YOU voted?

When I created PNW Dog of the Year, I anticipated some moderate voting and some campaigning by a handful of people and their dogs. Boy, have I been delightfully surprised with this year's contest! There are a total of 38 dogs in the running for PNW Dog of the Year. (All of the dogs who are featured in Tails of the Pacific Northwest are eligible, but some chose not to participate.) As of today, July 19 at 1:30 pm, there are 2000 votes! 2,000! I'm flabbergasted!
The top 9 dogs all have votes in the triple digits! Since voting is open until the end of the month, I am sure more dogs will end up with votes in the triple digits.
The winning dog will receive
How's that for a prize package! And, it doesn't matter where the winning dog lives, because I will travel TO them to present their winnings.

I am very excited and am trying to remain impartial as the votes roll in. I can watch the votes get counted in real time on my Google Sheets form.

The best part?? We were able to contribute $1,600 to Rogue Detection Teams!

What's Next?

My next book, which I begin shooting in September, is called Working Tails of the Pacific Northwest. This book is ABOUT and FOR working dogs.

I have a very strong conviction to create this book because the stories of these dogs need to be told. I have. like. 100 other reasons too, but I wont bore you with that list. =)
I will recreate this process again next year....creating a  book, naming a PNW Working Dog of the Year (unless there are dogs featured from outside the PNW!), a calendar for 2025 and another book after that. You will also be able to purchase apparel, note cards, etc. I have big plans and it's all about celebrating working dogs next year!

See, my goal is to create this process every year so that YOU will know that it's happening and can get involved or tell your friends and family about it, or just enjoy being a spectator of the process.
So, if you haven't already, please vote.PNW Dog of the Year

Hugs to your Dogs!
<![CDATA[Tails of the World]]>Mon, 17 Jul 2023 17:52:23 GMThttp://hollycookphotography.com/blog/tails-of-the-world
This past Saturday morning, I completed my last photo session for my feature in "Tails of the World".
Over the past two months, I was able to meet and photograph eight amazing dogs, each with their own stories, to be featured in this year's edition. These dogs all represent the best of the Pacific Northwest and I want to share their stories with you. The images I am sharing on this blog post are NOT the images that are going to be in the book.


Leonard is an amazing dog. I met him and his mom several years ago, when I was creating my first book, and we've been friends ever since. He's even been a model for me during my Unleashed Photography Challenges.
I was really excited when he and his mom signed up.
Before I continue, you need to know that I have a list of Instagram dogs that I want to meet. Most of them are in Seattle, but some are not. Since 2023 is my Year of DogJoy, I decided that I wanted to meet ALL of the dogs in Seattle. Since I believe in the magic of manifestation, I create a "Wish List" of about 35 dogs and posted it in my Instagram stories earlier in the year. If you don't believe in the magic of manifestation, than you are in for a surprise!
Ok, where was I? .... Oh, yes. I hadn't seen Leonard and his mom for a while so I was really looking forward to our session. Not only would I get to see Leonard (who actually loves Tony more than he loves me), I would get to catch up with  his mom.

During the course of our conversations back and forth about the session, Leonard's mom saw my wish list. While she chastised me for Leonard not being on the list (I have since rectified that situation) she told me that she would be pet sitting 2 of the dogs on my wish list! I asked her to bring them to Leonard's session and promised that they would not over shadow Leonard.

She agreed and brought a friend along as an extra set of hands. Three rowdy dogs with two handlers, Tony, serving as Sherpa and me,  just recovering from neck surgery. Ha! I say again, Ha!
Leonard brought along Wrigley and Riley, with their parent's permission of course. It was such a joyful evening with an amazing sunset that I missed because we were just having way too much fun.
You can follow Leonard & Wrigley and Riley on Instagram.
Here it is! The Dogs of Instagram Wish List. It really is hanging on my cork board in my office.
You can see I've added Leonard, and have met 5 other dogs and their parents. My goal is to meet 5 more by the end of the year.


Salryc, or Sal, is a Pharaoh Hound/Jindu mix. She is the first Jindu I've met. (Yes, it counts even if she is mixed with other breeds)

I met Sal and her mom last Christmas for holiday photos up at Stephen's Pass. She said it was a fluke, but I know better...it was meant to be. The session was the first time Sal had ever seen snow and we had a blast! I've worked with Sal several other times since then and she photographs beautifully.

When Sal and her mom signed up for Tails of the World, I was so excited. Sal is just a joy to work with. She tries to accomplish everything I ask of her and if she doesn't know how to do it, she and her mom figure it out. I love that kind of relationship, they are so in tune with each other. DogMagic!

The day of our session was dreary and wet. It wasn't really raining, but it was misting heavily. I love shooting in that kind of weather, but I wasn't sure if Sal would approve. I should have know that she wouldn't care.

We started off in this amazing field. The colors were glorious, but muted. The sky was soft and gray. Perfect lighting conditions for what I wanted to create.

As the mist fell on the field, it gathered on the grasses and created a magical effect. Like little, tiny fairy crystals, sparkling all over, but you had to be paying attention to actually see them. It was perfect.

I created an amazing image of Sal for the book, but this is my favorite image of the day.
Sal either heard or just sensed that there was something in the grass. She stood still for a few seconds and then she pounced! I wasn't expecting it and I am still shocked I created this image. But, there she is, in mid pounce, showing total focus on whatever she found. She is surrounded by sparking blades of grass and framed by a beautiful, soft wisp of grass whose arch matches the arch in Sal's back almost perfectly.

She is an amazing dog, and, I've known how special she is from the first day that I met her.

Sal doesn't have a designated Instagram account...yet. I'll let you know as soon as she does. (Peer pressure!)


I met Lucy's mom when I was creating my first book "Send Me; Working Dogs of the Pacific Northwest". She is a mortgage broker at a local firm in Bellevue. Her company, along with all of the employees in the office support a program that matches service dogs with veterans who need them. It's an wonderful program and, of course, I loved it from the start. At the time, they were supporting a pup named Liberty who was in training to be a service dog. Lucy's mom and I were in contact a lot at first, but then, a pandemic happened and everyone stayed home. You know, I believe we were all in shock for a very long time about everything being shut down, but that's another story for another time.

Anyway, you can imagine how happy I was when I found out that Lucy's mom had registered her for "Tails of the World". A chance to chat with an old friend, meet her dog and have a wonderful time together.

We met at Discovery Park on a chilly, but sunny morning. I had requested a cloudy day, but, at that moment. Mother Nature wasn't cooperating. 

I was excited to meet Lucy, but it was on her terms and she wasn't quite ready, so we started out walk into the park. It didn't take long for Lucy to realize I had treats and we soon became friends.

She is a beautiful Golden Retriever who is the apple of her mom's eye. Her dad's too. She is goofy and sweet and seems to like to make people laugh. Her tail never stops wagging and her eyes sparkle.

I was trying to create a majestic image of her, with 2 paws up on the log, just gazing out over the fields, but she had her own version of "Up Up" and I almost cried, I was laughing so hard. To be honest, her version actually suits her personality and it's my favorite image from the session. Look at her tail!

She actually did do the "Up Up" the way I asked her to and it is majestic and beautiful, but it doesn't show her personality quite like this image does.

As we were walking around in the fields, I discovered that Lucy's dad is the man behind one of my favorite Instagram accounts: Seattlelockdogs  He takes pictures of dogs who visit Ballard Locks and then posts them on Instagram with a little snippet about the dog. When I first discovered this account, I was delighted! Someone who loves dogs was taking the time to take their picture and get to know them so he could share! I mean, c'mon. That's amazing, right?
 When Lucy had had enough of my shenanigans, she let us know and it was time to go. We made our way back to the parking lot and said our good-byes, but I know in my heart that this was not the last time I would see Lucy. I am positive I will see her again.


Phoenix is a brand new friend to me. You'd think, by looking at her, that she is a Puggle. She is not.

I met Phoenix at Discovery Park with her mom, who has just moved here after spending a year in Michigan. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. It was just the thing for Phoenix's mom and I to start talking about, which really helped break the ice.  

Phoenix wasn't exactly sure what was happening, even though her mom had visited the park the week before. I think Phoenix knew where she was, she just wasn't sure why I was tagging along. Until she discovered the Wild Weinies I had in my bag. I swear I haven't met a dog who can resist those things! Bacon flavored, in case you are wondering.

We took a short walk to my favorite stone wall, near the church and got to work. It didn't take long for Phoenix to figure it out and before long, she was happily posing for me.

I think her favorite part was running down the path between tall weeds and large ferns. She just really seemed to enjoy that part. Her ears would bobble up and down and she would have a silly grin on her face and she raced down the path to her mom.

Phoenix is also very athletic and enjoys jumping up on things. She also enjoys destroying sticks.
Phoenix is an even mixture of adventure dog and homebody. She loves to hike and be outside, but then she also loves to be home, cuddled on the couch. It's a lovely balance and we could all learn a thing or two from Phoenix about balance.


Sequoia is an intriguing dog to me. She is a mix of Husky, Malamute and Samoyed but she doesn't talk very much.  She is as stoic as they come.

I met her and her mom earlier in the year for a Pop Up Session in Discovery Park. When I found out she was a mix of northern breeds, I had expectations in my mind of how she would behave. You know, Huskies run and are unruly (mostly), Samoyed squeak bark a lot, and Malamutes are stubborn. How do I know this? I've lived with all of those breeds.

When I met Sequoia the first time, I was struck by how majestic and quiet she was. Not a peep out of her. She did everything I asked her to without any trouble. Her images turned out beautifully and I almost couldn't believe this dog was only two years old.

When I realized that Sequoia's mom had signed her up to be featured in Tails of the World, I was so happy! She was such a joy to work with the first time!

The second time wasn't much different, other than the fact is was raining and a bit chilly. I don't think she cared. Frankly, neither did I. It was another misty day, which turns the summer grasses into sparkly blades of magic. The skies were heavy and gray with impending rain, but it held off for us. The sweet peas were just starting to bloom in the sweet pea patch and Sequoia was wearing one of her beautiful, handmade bandanas.

Lots of drama in the skies and on the ground, which suited her perfectly. Her white fur sparkled from the mist and her one blue eye and one brown eye were filled with joy. She gave me a tiny smile and that's all I needed.
She really is an incredible dog. She is a working dog breed and she assigned herself the job of Yard Guard. No interloping squirrels or bunnies take up residence on her watch. When she is out on adventures, she has exquisite manners.

She also loves Wild Weinies.

Sequoia isn't on Instagram but she is on TikTok at SequoiatheHusky


Beau is an 11 month old German Shepherd and he has the most perfect head tilt I have ever seen. You know those reels  you see of malamute puppies tilting their heads back and forth? (The two puppies on the right cause me so much cuteness aggression!)
Beau does that too, but is way cuter in person!

Beau is a beautiful dog with great manners. He didn't mind that it was wet and rainy at the park during his session.

Beau is confident, intelligent, curious and has a thing for rocks. He loves working for treats and it's very apparent he also loves to please his humans.

He loves visiting local Sniff Spots and playing with his friends. He's an all around solid puppy.

But the thing I noticed about him? His demeanor. He is calm and confident. He didn't balk at any of the requests I asked of him and performed them like a champ. He was very tuned in to his people and checked in with them often during the session.

Like all young dogs, Beau had a threshold that he could tolerate and I was very careful not to cross it. When he was done, we were done.
This handsome boy is going to be an amazing grown up dog one day and I feel honored that I was able to photograph him in the sweet pea patch at Discovery Park. (Even though we all got wet!)

Beau is on Instagram.


The very first thing I noticed about Frankie were his eyes. Almost pumpkin orange, they are mesmerizing. I wanted to be sure I did them justice during his photo session. They are a photographer's dream come true.

Frankie is a rescued American Bulldog. He even has the DNA analysis to prove it. Frankie is living his best life in Seattle with an amazing couple who adore him and understand the breed. I don't know how Frankie ended up in rescue, but I'm grateful his parents adopted him. They clearly adore him.

Frankie really seemed to enjoy his photo session with me, mainly because I threw his ball over and over and over again. He also really liked my treats. He tried to accomplish everything I asked of him, but I knew when it was time to stop shooting and start playing. (I always try to end photo sessions on a good note.)

Frankie is definitely loving life with his humans. They are completely in tune together and it is such a joy to watch humans who respect and love their dog as much as their dog respects and loves them.
In order to play with Frankie, we needed to have two balls. As he brought the one he just fetched back, I had to throw the second one so he would drop the first. It's not cheating...it's smart!

Frankie is on Instagram.


Ollie is a certified water rescue dog as well as a medical service dog for his mom. Instead of detailing our photo session, I have a story to share that I will remember for the rest of my days.

When I was 7, my dad was remodeling a house on the river for this wonderful lady. I don't remember her name, and it doesn't really matter. I really remember her Newfie named Molly. Molly was a very large dog, but, remember I was only 7 she could have been average size. To me, she was ginormous. Anyway, my dad had an appointment on that particular Saturday that I got to go to work with him. He told me in his stern dad voice "She has a dog. I expect you to behave."  Really, dad? Do you not know me at all? We rang the door bell, and as we waiting for the door to be answered my dad gave me "the look". You know what I'm talking about, right? The look that says you better behave or you'll pay for it later? Yea, that one. The door was answered by this beautiful, soft spoken woman who looked, to me, that she should have been in movies, not living in a small town in Michigan. Not far behind her I heard this ruckus and as we walked in the house, I was tackled by this massive black dog! Her name was Molly, and she proceeded to lick my face, steal my left shoe and take off to hide it. Her mom was mortified and I was delighted to be welcomed into her home by this amazing dog! We found my shoe and I spent the rest of the appointment with Molly. I do not recall if my dad thought I behaved or not. I only remember Molly.

She was the first Newfie I had ever met and the only one to steal my shoe!

Ollie was on my Instagram Wish List because he reminded me of Molly. No two dogs look alike, even if there breed standard has little room for variety. But, Ollie reminded me of Molly, so he went on my list. I can't remember the exact circumstances that led to Ollie's mom reaching out to me, but I'm so glad she did.

Instead of conducting Ollie's session at Discovery Park, we went to Deception Pass to get in and under the water. The circumstances were very special and I strongly felt this was the way to conduct his session. It was a lot, for Ollie and his mom, but so worth it. He is a water rescue dog and he deserved images in the water.

About half way through our session, Ollie was on the beach by his mom, who was sitting in a chair. She had explained to me that sometimes she doesn't feel well and Ollie is there to make sure she is okay. I was waist deep in the water, trying to figure out a specific shot I wanted to get when Ollie started to get restless. I immediately thought his mom needed help. Ollie looked from her to me and back to her again. I was genuinely concerned, but his mom started to laugh as Ollie headed for the water. It took me a few seconds to realize what was happening. Ollie was coming to get me. I did not perceive any danger and I felt just fine, but Ollie wanted me out of the water. His mom had told me earlier to grab on to his fur on his hip because that's how he rescues people. I was not convinced this was a good idea, but as Ollie swam with all of his might towards me,  his eyes met mine and I knew he meant business. He swam around behind me, came up on my left side and presented his hip. I was hesitant to grab his fur but he gave me a side eye that I could actually HEAR, so I grabbed his fur. He swam powerfully towards shore dragging me behind him. Once we hit the beach, he gave me the once over, covering me in slobber and dog hair. Then, convinced that I was okay, he returned to his mom's side for some treats and lots of love.

I'll never know why Ollie thought I needed to get out of the water, but I had to let him do his job. In all of my years of working with dogs, this is the first time a dog has actually rescued me. I will never forget it either.
I am not finished editing Ollie's images yet, but this is as close as I can get to showing you what I saw coming for me when Ollie decided I needed to be rescued. And he didn't steal my shoe, just my heart.

Ollie is also on Instagram.

What's Next?

On August 1st, 2023 registration will be open for my next book "Working Tails of the Pacific Northwest". This is a book for and about working dogs. Why only working dogs? Because of dogs like Ollie, whose stories need to be told.

Follow me on social media to keep up with my projects about working dogs.

Hugs to your Dog!