Hello! My name is Jazzi, and I'm here to tell you my story. In February 2010, my owners surrendered me to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society when they didn't want me anymore. The reason really doesn’t matter. Bottom line is that I was homeless. Lucky for me Donna at the Humane Society saw me and said that she knew someone who would love to have a little Shih Tzu like me. Well just imagine what I said ………WHO?!?!
She knew this guy that had a Shih Tzu that had passed away about a year ago and was looking for another special Shih Tzu. I overheard her talking to one of the board members telling her how perfect I would be for him (no pressure here) plus she explained all the good things that he had done for his dog and what a great owner he was. So... some pictures of me got sent via cell phone. Good thing I am photogenic because he liked me, he really liked me.
I found my new home, and was ready to pack my bags and move in. Unfortunately one small problem was that they apparently wanted to spay me first. I will never do that again! After the operation they put me in a crate and my new owner picked me up. Off we went to my new home. What a great way to begin on drugs, not knowing were I was or what had just happened to me. Thankfully my new owner laid next to me all night, checking on me and trying to get me to eat drink and stand, but I was not going there yet. After a few days I was feeling better, and my new owner and I were getting along just great. Going on walks every morning, teaching me new tricks like rolling over, giving paw and speaking. I now have some great talents!
I can honestly say that I think I died and went to heaven. I am one lucky dog and he is one lucky owner. By the way, he calls me Jazzi Jett because I like to run up to people and walk quickly.Thanks to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society I can now be Miss June or May or December for the calendar.
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.
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.
This makes me think of a lion on the savanna.
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. :)
What a handsome duo.
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.