Alison, Rhett, and their three dogs Enzo, Meeka, and Abby met up with me in Mellon Park on an early sunny morning in July. Enzo is going to be featured in the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society 2012 Calendar, but Meeka and Abby also got their portraits taken. I feel so fortunate that I got to meet such wonderful people like Alison and Rhett, and to photograph their furry family.
Rhett got Enzo when he was 16 years old as a freshman in high school. Enzo was born to a family friend's dog named Cinnamon - Rhett picked him because he was the biggest puppy in the litter. Enzo has turned out to be a big boy - a heavy 85 lbs. He has an obsession with food and has been known to ruin New Year’s parties by eating parts off all the cakes when no one is looking. Despite his eating obsession is a very laid back and easy going. He currently lives with Rhett's parents, but often comes to visit Alison and Rhett on the weekends in Squirrel Hill where he has developed a taste for Alison's pointy shoes. Enzo just celebrated his 15th birthday in April. He goes by the nickname Red Man.
Alison wanted to get a small dog that could travel easily as she was working in Germany and traveling often. Alison got Meeka when she was 2 years old from a breeder in Illinois. Her official name is Del Amos Sweet Meeka and she was born to a European Champion. Meeka was going to be a show dog, but a bad knee condition prevented her from entering the field and the breeder decided it was best for her to became a family pet. Alison's mom found Meeka online and picked her up for Alison while she was in Germany. Alison met Meeka for the first time at the Chicago Airport when she came home that summer. It only took a day and they became fast friends and very attached to each other. Meeka will be 11 years old this August. Meeka has traveled all over and lived with Alison in Germany, Milwaukee, WI, Sacramento, CA and now Pittsburgh. Meeka often comes to the studio with Alison and watches ballet class and rehearsal in her little travel bag. Meeka recently had her professional ballet premiere in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's The Three Musketeers. Alison calls Meeka her ballet dog - "Mimi".
Abby, a Sheppard-Collie mix, is a failed foster dog attempt – as in, Alison failed to give her back. Abby is very athletic and enjoys long walks with Rhett. She has a lovely long coat, but gets a short summer cut every June. She protests vociferously while they shear her hair, but clearly loves the cooling cut! She was about 2 years old when Alison got her, so she is now around 8 years old. Alison was volunteering as a dog walker at the WPHS and saw her one day as I was walking dogs. Alison took her for a walk and something with Abby really attracted her. Abby caught kennel cough while in the shelter and had to be isolated for a few weeks. When she returned to the adoption floor, she became a super barker and was being overlooked for her new bad kennel manners. Alison decided to take her in as a foster dog to give her a cage break to see if it might help reduce her anxiety. Well... She never went back to the shelter and within a week Alison adopted her. Abby still loves to bark, but has gotten better, is a very loving and sweet girl - Alison and Rhett can't imagine her not being a part of their lives.