modern pet portrait

Georgie Ray | Pittsburgh Dog Photography

Today I'd like to continue with the second half of my portrait session with Kristen, Ricky, and Georgie in Frick Park. A while back, when I posted on my blog that I was looking for subjects for my portfolio, Kristen replied and suggested that not only would her pets be easy to work with and eager to pose, but they'd also bring some real personality to the photos. I have to agree. :) The story of Georgie Ray

Our 1 year old black lab mix had a rough start in life. He was born at a Kill Shelter down in Georgia, and his litter of 12 was set to be euthanized. Luckily, a great volunteer for the Humane Society started a project called “The Puppy Pipeline.” He goes every few weeks down to Kill Shelters in Georgia, loads up a van with puppies, and brings them to shelters up north. When Georgie arrived at the Humane Society, he was very sick with kennel cough, full of worms, and covered in fleas. After a flea bath and some dewormer, he started to recover, but the kennel cough only got worse. We took him home, and he couldn't eat or drink anything; he was coughing and dry heaving every few minutes! It was horrible. We raced him to the vet who gave him fluids and medication, but it literally took 2 months for Georgie to recover fully. (He also had some serious stomach issues, which I won’t go into much detail about– but after a month of not gaining weight and trying multiple expensive foods, his body finally decided that it could handle one of the most pricey dog foods on the market! Thanks George!)

He is now a happy and loving dog that turns everybody into his best friend. Walking down the street can be a chore sometimes; whenever he sees a person or another dog, he will literally cry until he is allowed to greet them. (And when I say cry, I mean weep!) Though he is pushing 60 lbs, he is still 100% lap dog, and often refuses to use his large expensive bed that we bought for him. What he does use it for though is his Kong– He’ll take his Kong and place it in the bed. Then he’ll pick the bed up and toss it, making most of the treats/kibble come raining out of the Kong. It is surprisingly very efficient, and we can’t believe he came up with it. He’ll spend an hour putting the Kong in the bed and throwing the bed over and over and over.

Pittsburgh Dog Photography

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This makes me think of a lion on the savanna.

Pittsburgh Dog Photography

I have a squeaky toy in my toolkit to be used as an attention grabber. Georgie loved running around with it in his mouth and just playing with it. :)

Pittsburgh Dog Photography

What a handsome duo.

Pittsburgh Cat and Dog Photography


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Rick James | Pittsburgh Cat Photography

Today I'd like to share the first part of a portrait session that I did with Kristen and her pets, Ricky and Georgie, in Frick Park a couple of weeks ago. The trees were blooming, and lots of people stopped to talk with us about how brave it was to bring a cat out to the park. They clearly hadn't met this badass cat, and if you've ever watched the Chappelle Show, you'll understand why his name, Rick James, fit so well.  

The story of Rick James

Ricky, a gray  American short-haired tabby with golden eyes, is not only a sassy cat with a lot of personality, he has been through some hard times. When I first got him from the Humane Society in Sept 2008, he was 7 months old and very sick. He had been rescued as a baby from a hoarder’s house where there were 40+ cats. Because of his condition, he had to be fostered and cared for around the clock. By the time I got him, he was still on lots of medications for his respiratory infection, but getting better. After a month or so, he was healthy and happy, and that’s when I started to realize this cat was very different than others. Not only was he the ever inquisitive kitty, but he played in the shower, repeatedly attacked my fishbowl, stole any kind of food that was sitting out, became best friends with my dwarf hamster, refused to cover his #2s in the litter box, and claimed his place as my little spoon every night.

In November 2008, I took him home to visit my family. I had him in an upstairs bedroom because my dad is allergic to cats. One day, I got a frantic call from my dad, asking where my cat was. I told him he was in the bedroom, and when my dad said he wasn’t, I simply said he is under the bed. When my dad said he wasn’t and that he had found a cat outside, I was really confused. Turns out, I had left a window cracked because it was warm outside, and Rick, being the crazy little man he is, shredded the screen and jumped from the second story into the front yard. My dad had to scramble to catch him and reminds me of it all the time. From the jump/fall, Ricky injured his knees and now walks with a slight waddle. The vet said it shouldn’t impede him, but that he’ll always have slightly bent legs.

In January 2009, I decided to get him declawed after he had torn through 3 sets of blinds. He had to stay overnight after his surgery; that didn’t go too well. They used surgical glue, so he decided to pull that all out and eat it. Then they had to stitch him up at 2am; he decided to pull all of those out too. This led to him having to wear a funnel collar for 6 weeks. He learned to scoop up his food with the funnel, and then lean back for it to fall in his mouth. (If I took the collar off for a minute, he would go right back to chewing on his paws!!)

Essentially, Ricky (full name Rick James) is a crazy cat with a ridiculous amount of personality. Now that we have a dog, they are best friends and can often be found racing at lightning speeds after each other in our living room. Rick has been through a lot, but has one of the sweetest, craziest, and most unique personalities I have ever seen.

// Kristen


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Georgie & Ricky | Pittsburgh Pet Photography

A while back, Kristen contacted me and wanted to do a photography session with her pets Ricky and Georgie. While the Pittsburgh weather has been somewhat unreliable for the last month or so, we finally spent this past Saturday afternoon in Frick Park and had a blast. I can't wait to share more with you.

Georgie & Ricky in Frick Park - Pittsburgh Pet Photography

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Betsy | Pittsburgh Pet Photography

On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, that was not too cold and not too hot, I met up with Shannon, Dave, and their dog Betsy for a portrait session at their home.  This is the story of Betsy.


When my husband Dave and I decided it was time to get a dog, we searched for a while on for the perfect “young adult medium-sized spayed female.” One day, a dog popped up that had the cutest face I had ever seen, with wild, matted fur and eye boogers. Her name was Bootsie. I yelled downstairs to my husband, “I think I found our dog!” He yelled back up, “Is it Bootsie?”

The next day, we made a trip to the shelter. Bootise's cage was the first one as soon we opened the door. We took her into the play area, but to our surprise, she didn’t want to play....She. Wanted. To. Sniff. She sniffed her little heart out, with amazing intensity, all the way around the perimeter and back again.  We just sat and watched in disbelief. Dave finally broke the silence and said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t take her if this is all she does; she hasn't even come near us.” He barely got the words out before she jumped up on the bench and cozied right up next to him.

We brought her home and changed her name to Betsy (Dave had a childhood dog named Bootsie), and she's been our best friend ever since. Sure, she’s gotten herself into a few kerfuffles, like turning the stove on when we weren’t home and eating a shower curtain. At any given moment, she'll act as if she hasn’t eaten for weeks. She doesn’t like nervous dogs and she hates humpers. She likes to chase yard intruders (especially groundhogs) but she is not very good at it. When she finally catches them she tries to sniff them to death.

People always ask us what kind of dog Betsy is, and we always answer “no one knows—not even the vet.” But I sort of like it that way, it adds to her mystique.

// Shannon

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