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.
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!
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.
Want to contribute more than $15? That's great!
You also have the opportunity to become a monthly supporter on Patreon.
When their work is done, let's help find their forever homes.
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!
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 in any amount with a big thank you!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!