Why Last Saturday was the Best Day Ever.

Saturday August 13th I ran a promotion for pet portrait sessions. In my imagination, it was going to be a day where animals from all walks of life would parade through my studio with their owners. There would be birds and pigs and lizards and so many people would want pictures of their pets that I would probably have to schedule overflow sessions on Sunday. National Geographic would feature something I shot, I'd get an endorsement contract with PetsMart and Oprah would eventually call. Back on Earth, the day came and it consisted of a hand full of people and their dogs. And let me tell you, It. Was. Awesome. Felicity and Sage were a couple of my favorites. They were both super happy to be in the studio sniffing everything and running around with those wide dog smiles. I broke a serious sweat trying to keep up with them but between three humans, a jar of treats, and one squeaky toy, eventually we got a good, traditional portrait. It's all the pictures I got before that, though, that I felt really captured the energy and personality of these two.

They were so friendly and so happy. Tails were wagging everywhere!

After that I met Goob, a 4 year-old dachshund who had back surgery in February after suffering from IVDD (Intervertebral disc disease). I heard Goob's story back in March when my own dachshund was temporarily paralyzed from the onset of IVDD and traumatized the hell out of me. It's a real common affliction among dachshunds, basset hounds, and the other long breeds. It's totally treatable and my small dog has since recovered without surgery but it was a long, emotional, road. The story of Goob and his journey back to health was reassuring to me during a very stressful time this year. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him.

He was a little skeptical about being away from his blanket and he was more than a little camera shy, but we got some great pictures of this handsome, dignified, little guy. Also he was really clean and very soft.

Molly was next. I had met Molly once before so I knew what a sweetheart she is. She's real old but you'd never know it the way she wiggles and wags all over the place.

What I loved about Molly was her silly smile. We used up about half a lint roller getting her hair under control cause she is a real shedder. I even ran the lint roller over her body between shots to get rid of all the rogue hairs flying around. She didn't seem to mind.

In between shots, she loved sniffing around the studio and she made this cute little pig snorting noise while she was sniffing.

Her owners said that she also snores quite loudly at night when she's asleep.

In addition to pictures of just Molly, we took family pictures too. It was hard to get this dad and daughter to crack a smile but Molly cooperated the whole time grinning from ear to ear. Seriously, she definitely looks like the happiest family member.

After picture time, we did our best to get the hair off of everyone's clothes and they were on their way. Later when I was sorting through the pictures on my computer, that silly dog smile kept making me giggle out loud. What a cute happy little face!

Next up, more dachshunds! Since I am familiar with the breed I believed Scarlet when she said that her two dogs Axl and Libby were "bad." They ran into the studio like they were descending on a frat house on a Friday night.

Both dogs are relatively young and Libby is still practically a puppy. I am not exaggerating when I say that these dogs partied all over the place. The treats didn't help either, they just raised the stakes and the competition. When I brought out the squeaky toy to get them to look in the same direction, it was over. They both went for it. Axl was determined to make it his new girlfriend and even when I tried to hide it under my shirt, he was not deterred and set about digging for it.

Despite his history of back issues, Axl was showing off at the studio with some real feats of strength jumping on and off the couch. Dachshunds might not always be very well behaved but it's not because they're stupid. They can be quite intelligent. While Libby was partying all over the place, I got to see Axl's impressive repertoire of tricks. My dachshund, Little Jerry Seinfeld, knows quite a few commands. He's really smart, he just chooses to use his powers for evil.

Here you can see Axl and Libby demonstrating their proficiency with the "speak" command.

I have to say, if there's one thing I love more than photography, it's dogs. I just love love love dogs and I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday than taking pictures and meeting other people's dogs. At the end of the day, I sat at the computer in between Little Jerry and Mini and thought about how lucky we are as humans that God gave us dogs. I don't know where I would be without my little buddies. They make good days better and dark days bearable. Whenever I feel like I'm in over my head in life, stressed, anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed, being near a dog always helps. No matter what kind of crappy day I've had, when I come home and see that my dog, Mini, has brought an assortment of my things outside onto the porch, it puts a smile on my face. As I write this, the two of them are wrestling on, of all places, my pillow. I know that tonight when I am wondering why my pillow smells like dog butt, I will laugh when I figure it out.

If you'd like to book a portrait session for you and/or your pet, call me at (336)757-2728 or email me at rachaelfernphoto@gmail.com

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