You don’t have to own a Pit Bull to know that they get a bad rap. Any dog owner could tell you who Michael Vick is, and even if they’re not a fan of Pit Bulls, they wouldn’t agree with the practice of organized dog fighting. Having owned 3 Pit Bulls at one time (my middle child passed away in May 2017, you can read all about that here…warning: you may need a tissue), I know first-hand the negative Pit Bull stereotyping and judgments that are thrown in the faces of Pit Bull parents on a regular basis.
For those who don’t know…imagine walking your dog and seeing some one cross the street in front of traffic just to avoid walking passed you. Imagine being forced into a home you can’t afford or a town you don’t want to live in because they don’t allow your dog to be there. Imagine meeting a fellow dog lover who suddenly wants nothing to do with you because they discovered what breed of dog you have. This is the kind of treatment Pit Bull parents receive regularly. It’s just not fair to them, and it’s not fair to the dogs.
Think about it…it’s one thing to dislike a certain breed for whatever reasons (maybe you just aren’t fond of big dogs, or your need a dog that serves a specific purpose), but for those who are hating on Pit Bulls just because of their past are literally holding a grudge against some one who was forced to do something against their will. These dogs don’t WANT to fight, they’re being forced to. There’s dogs in China that are being forced to wear kid’s clothes and walk upright on their hind legs just for some viral video craze, but no one holds a grudge against them. They feel sorry for them. But because of what the Pitties were forced to do (kill other Pitties), suddenly they’re classified as horrible, vicious dogs.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, a significant amount of progress has been made in preventing dog fighting from existing, as well as educating the public on all the good qualities that Pit Bulls have. Take Gigi, for example…she spent her childhood unwillingly participating in the Missouri 500 dog fighting games. The organization was busted in 2009, freeing Gigi, along with over 350 other dogs who were brought into shelters in hopes of finding loving homes. Shortly after, Gigi met her soulmate parents who have since rehabilitated her and certified her as a therapy dog. Despite her brutal past, which is evident by her scarred appearance and one blind eye, she now happily volunteers at Love on a Leash Pet Therapy. Together with her mom, they visit veterans, seniors, and adults with mental disabilities to brighten their days with her wagging tail and infectious smile.
With that said, we have a long way to go before Pit Bulls and their parents are “accepted” in society the way other breeds are…the way they deserve to be. And it’s up to us to do something about it. Trying to convince the public that Pit Bulls are sweet, loving animals will not be easy. They are, in fact, genetically dispositioned to attack and destroy. And they do, in fact, account for the majority of fatal dog bites in the U.S. BUT, I believe we can help minimize the chances of these types of incidences from occurring. With education and responsible pet ownership, we can help Pit Bulls become the dogs they’re meant to be. It’ll be a long journey to get there, but we have to start somewhere. So, to begin, there’s one simple thing you can do to help show the public how wonderfully beautiful these dogs are, inside and out.
What’s that one simple thing? Share pictures of your Pittie. Seriously! Show the world how loving they are by photographing them giving kisses to you and/or your family members. Nothing says “what a sweet pup” like a photo of a dog licking a baby’s face or the two of them getting along like best buds. Praise their skills by sharing pictures of them performing tricks and other talents. These are dogs are eager to please which makes them fast learners. They’re smart! Make a commitment to teach them a new trick every other month, then share it. Get them certified and take them to visit hospitals, veterans, elderly homes, kids with special needs. Take pictures of them interacting with these people that benefit from having them in their lives.
Dozer may be a big Bull, but he’s not a bully. Having almost not survived his first few days of life, he was rescued and now lives happily with and his brother, Sawyer. And they are two peas in a pod. They sleep, play, and eat together. Dozer even lets Sawyer ride on his back like a horse!
Hurley & Titan have a sister with Down Syndrome who they absolutely adore. And it goes without saying that she adores them back. Pit Bulls like Hurley & Titan are the epitome of “family dog,” showing nothing but unconditional love for their family members.
If we all show the world how big our little Pittie’s hearts really are, we’ll continue to make progress towards their acceptance. Pit Bulls deserve to be given a chance. With out help, they can be treated with the same love, respect, and kindness that other breeds receive. Like I said, it’s a long, tough journey ahead, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Every little step we take towards educating ourselves on responsible ownership, and educating the public on our progress helps. So join the cause, learn about the breed, practice safe ownership, strengthen their non-violent skills, help raise awareness, take some pictures of your Pittie and share them! If you’re not the best photographer and you feel you can’t do your dog justice, call or email me. I would LOVE to help you 🙂
Want to help stop negative Pit Bull stereotyping in a bigger way? Donate to your local Pit Bull non-profit. Awareness groups and rescue organizations (like San Diego’s “SD Pittie Parents” and “Passion For Pitties“) are always looking for help. Also, keep an eye out for my special promotion that I’ll be having during National Pit Bull Awareness month (October)!
Photos taken at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
Have you ever walked into a pet supply store and immediately feel like you’re their #1 customer? Like you’ve known the owner for years and they’d do anything to ensure you and your pets are happy, healthy, and treated with care? Unfortunately, many customers don’t get that feeling. Sure, the staff might greet you when you walk in, then oh and awe over your pet who’s happy to be out on an adventure with you. But do they ask you what your specific needs are? Do they actually listen to what you’re saying and give meaningful advice as to how to solve your problem? Do they genuinely care about your pet’s well-being? If not, then you should pay a visit to the lovely folks over at Carlsbad Pet & Feed.
Having purchased what used to be Carlsbad Feed Store in September 2016, owner and pet lover, Karen Moore, sought out to build a pet supply company that is centered around her customers. By listening to customers’ needs, educating them on products, and offering the most fair prices possible, Carlsbad Pet & Feed has grown to be (and continuously strives to maintain their reputation as) your friendly neighborhood store. With the help of her fiancé, Greg, and son, Steven, they’ve got customer satisfaction down to a science (although, I feel it comes naturally to them as well because they’re just really nice people).
The current line-up of products is a compilation of the highest quality food, treats, toys, and other necessities that were purposely sought out because of customer needs. If a customer comes in asking for a specific type of food, you can bet they will do their best to add it their inventory. Or, in the case where you might be looking for something they don’t carry, and they know of something better suited for you, they’ll educate you on why you should make the switch. With products for all kinds of pets, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, fish, ducks, guinea pigs, and more, you’re sure to find exactly what you need for your entire furry family (and the wildlife you so happily support).
When you become a customer of Carlsbad Pet & Feed, you won’t need to go anywhere else for your pet needs. They’re always looking for ways to ensure their customers are 100% satisfied, whether it’s adding a specific item to their inventory, matching a price you found elsewhere, or through their loyalty program. If you’re like most pet parents and you find yourself consistently buying the same kind of food, they offer a way for you to score an entire bag for FREE! All you have to do is collect the UPC codes from the bags, and once you have 12, turn them in and receive your free bag. So easy and so awesome!
In celebration of their 1 year anniversary, Carlsbad Pet & Feed is hosting a HUGE Anniversary Sale on September 15, 2017. Customers will be able to take advantage of substantial savings on nearly ALL of their products. Bags of high quality dog food, like Taste of the Wild, Natural Balance, and Honest Kitchen, will be marked down by up to $15! If your dog prefers wet food, you can save $1 off a can or $12 of a case of Merrick in any flavor. Now, that’s something that’ll have your dog licking their chops! All collars, leashes, crates, and shampoos will be 20% off. And, if you buy a bag of Primal freeze-dried dog food, you get a 16oz goat’s milk for FREE!
As if the savings weren’t enough of a reason to visit, there will also be a variety of vendors to chat with and score free samples from. Mastiff food truck will be on site serving up some delicious sausages…mmm, perfect for a September afternoon. They’ll also be having an hourly raffle to win awesome prizes, like gift baskets with hug savings from the vendors, gift certificates to Carlsbad Pet & Feed, and so much more! In order to score a raffle ticket, all you have to do is spend $25 in the store. And for every $25 you spend, you get another ticket. How great is that?! Lastly, to ensure no customer leaves empty-handed, they’re sending you home with a free goodie bag (while supplies last, of course).
If you can’t make it to the anniversary sale, I’m sorry, because you’ll really be missing out. But, I highly recommend popping in to say hello, meet the family, and buy some great stuff for you pets. Once you’ve been to Carlsbad Pet & Feed, you won’t want to shop anywhere else.
Carlsbad, CA 92011
Calling all Pit Bulls and their parents…we want YOU! I’m currently casting Pit Bull models for my next campaign in honor of Pit Bull Awareness month (in October). By participating in this model call, you will help promote my campaign to support two wonderful Pit Bull advocacy groups in San Diego, SD Pittie Parents and Passion For Pitties.
Send inquiries with a photo of your pet to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, 8/31/17.
Must be available to join us for the photo shoot at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve on Sunday, 9/3/17.
Why submit your dog?
1. The photo shoot is FREE. Yep, it won’t cost you a thing. All you have to do is bring yourself and your dog.
2. Professional photo shoots are pure entertainment for you and your dog. It’s an experience like no other.
3. You won’t leave empty handed – You’ll receive a FREE 5×7 print, as well as a free custom mobile app featuring your dog’s images from the photo shoot. This is a fun and easy way to brag about your pet’s modeling skills on social media. And you’ll be able to purchase prints of any of the images from the session via an online gallery.
4. You’ll be contributing to a greater cause – helping to raise awareness and support for two of San Diego’s biggest Pit Bull advocacy groups, SD Pittie Parents and Passion For Pitties.
What’s the catch?
There’s no catch – the only catch we believe in is the kind a dog does when playing fetch. With that said, there are some requirements:
1. Your dog does NOT need to be a purebred Pit Bull, but should at least have distinguishable Pit Bull traits.
2. You must be willing to be in at least a few of the photos with your dog.
3. Limit 2 dogs per person.
4. You must be available for 1 of the 7 time slots (8am, 9am, 10am, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm) on Sunday 9/3/17 for the scheduled photo shoot at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
5. You must submit a photo of your dog to email@example.com by Thursday, 8/31/17.
6. No previous modeling experience required.
Increase your chances of being selected by completing this survey now!
The minute I met Coconut, I was in LOVE! She is the sweetest, softest little ball of fluff. When I came over to her house for the Consultation, she instantly greeted me with joy. Maybe she smelt the treats in my bag, maybe she’s just that sweet to everyone (probably both). Either way, she makes you want to curl up a cuddle with her 🙂
For the photo shoot, we headed to the beautiful, fun nook in San Diego known as Seaport Village. This quaint little dog-friendly part of town is big on the tourist attraction list, and offers all kinds of cute little spots to take pictures, as well as a few restaurants with pet-friendly patios, such as Edgewater Grille. Not to mention, that view with all that water (yes, please!).
We started the session by climbing the rocks near the water. I always like to start sessions with the more active shots so that the pups are more rested towards the end of the shoot when we do the more relaxed posed shots. Coconut had no fear, climbing all over the rocks and nearly jumped in the water. Luckily, she didn’t because her white-as-snow coat would have been a
hot wet mess had that happened.
Our next stop was the duck pond. I was so excited to take Coconut to see the duckies because she’d never seen any before and I knew she would love it. As expected, she was in awe of her newfound furry friends. After a few minutes, she muscled up the courage to cross the fence line to get a closer look. Naturally, I embraced breaking the rules in order to get a good shoot. My favorite image from this part of the shoot is the one where she’s on the bridge looking into the water where 7 ducks were swimming for her amusement.
After visiting the ducks, we took a little “picnic” break in the grass. Coconut wasn’t quite ready to settle down yet, but we lucked out because she found a random old bully stick that another dog had left behind, and she was instantly fixated on it. Hello new bribe tool! As long as I had that bully stick in my hand, she would stare at me and do whatever we wanted. It was pretty awesome…and hilarious! Of course, in appreciation of all her hard modeling, we let her enjoy her super stale treat for a few minutes here and there.
It’s pretty difficult for me to pick a favorite photo from this session, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be this one where Coconut’s parents are kissing her and she is clearly loving it! I mean, it’s just pure joy for all three of them. Simply precious!
With stale treat in hand, we continued through Seaport Village to our next picturesque spot. There’s this little bench that’s surrounded by ivy, and when I was location scouting here (go behind-the-scenes in the location-scouting video), I knew I had to shoot at this spot. The way the ivy hangs is so enchanting, making for some really magical moments. By now, Coconut was getting the hang of this modeling thing, and was really working the camera for these shots.
For the last stop on our adventure, I figured “what better way to wrap up the session than with a sweet, cold treat from our friends over at Ben & Jerry’s?” Coconut had never had ice-cream before, but that didn’t stop her from inhaling the double scoop we got. I’m not even sure her parents got much for themselves, but we were all having a blast trying to keep the ice-cream from melting all over everyone. Coconut had no problem appointing herself the task of drip control – haha!
This pet family photography session was so much fun, and we got so many great images from it. During their Show-n-Shop appointment, Coconut’s parents had a somewhat difficult time choosing which images to use for a wall gallery because they loved them all. Not a bad conflict to be in if you ask me 😉 With the help of my handy dandy wall gallery design software, we were able to create a beautiful display for their bedroom featuring all their favorite images. They also purchased a custom album because they really did want all the images and albums are the best way to get them all.
Coconut didn’t seem too impressed with my wall gallery design, as she was more interested in finding the treats that she knew were in my purse. And because we took a few hours to design the perfect product order, she literally fell asleep with her paw in my purse (my Instagram fans were amused). Oh Coconut, you are too much, sweetie pie!!
Big Dog Plaid was founded in January 2017 with one goal: to create high-quality bandanas and collars that fit and flatter big breed dogs. I had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Alyssa, at the San Diego Pet Expo back in January 2017. Funny enough as it is, she actually won the contest I was throwing for a free mini session! During our pet family photo shoot with her oversized lap dog, Georgie, and her now fiancé, Mike, she had mentioned that she was starting a company that offered luxury bandanas and collars for extra large dogs. Eager to help her launch her business and establish herself as a professional, I offered to do a commercial pet photography session.
Our goal for the session was to get a variety of models, products, and images so that Alyssa could use them in her marketing and branding over a substantial length of time. So, I tapped into my model database and she reached out to her brand ambassadors, and we ended up doing 4 photo shoots at 2 locations with 9 dogs, 10 people, and a vast collection of bandanas and collars.
First stop…Ocean Beach Dog Beach. This is one of my favorite dog beaches to shoot at because it offers so much variety for composition and background elements, as well as space to get away from the crowds if desired. The morning shoot starred 2 Bernese Mountain Dogs who were nothing but total hams the entire time. Hudson and Riggins are no stranger to being in front of the camera. Check out their Instagram feed and you’ll see what I mean. It’s no wonder they are some of Big Dog Plaid‘s best brand ambassadors…they absolutely loved showing off their new bandanas!
The next shoot was that same day, later in the afternoon – I love me some late afternoon light. Alyssa really wanted to portray how BIG these dogs are who wear her products, so we called in a teeny weeny Jack Russell Terrier named Odie to help visually demonstrate the size of the Big Dog model, a Golden Retriever named Indiana. These 2 had no problem becoming friends right off the bat. And they both had natural talents when modeling for the camera. Odie may be small, but she has a big smile! And Indiana was just the friendliest dude to work with. They both were cracking me up the entire time.
The 3rd photo shoot was big and beautiful. We gathered 3 dogs and their parents for a lovely morning at Balboa Park – one of my favorite places to shoot. The goal here was to get a nice BIG group shot to show the diversity of breeds that Alyssa’s clients are. Mission accomplished (and I didn’t even have to swap heads in Photoshop!)
Epply was the only male, a white mutt (believed to be Husky/Great Pyrenees/German Shepherd Mix). Whatever breed he is, I can tell you that his personality was awesome. Not only did he love all the attention, but his smile just kept getting bigger and bigger the more we photographed him. And that tongue…Haha!
The other white dog in the mix was Sobe, a beautiful Alaskan Malamute. She also had a smile any pet parent would love and boy did she look good in that “Blue Ivy League” bandana. Watch out ladies…I think I found America’s Next Top Dog Model!
And rounding out the bunch was sweet, little Tillie. Boy, did I have a soft spot for her! This gorgeous blue PitBull/Lab mix looks like she could my dog’s daughter! Her resemblance to my girl, Skyy, is uncanny. Not to mention, her disposition and general demeanor was as sweet as they come.
Our last shoot for this epic adventure was with 2 very active and involved Anatolian Shepherds. Misty and Rosin were so intriguing to me because they were such gentle giants but they took their job as protectors quite seriously. They didn’t have a problem with me or my camera, but trying to get them to separate from their owner was no easy task. You can’t blame a dog for being that way when their owner does anything and everything to provide the best lives for them. As far as their modeling abilities go, they wore those bandanas with pride!
All of these photo shoots were an absolute blast! If you own a large dog and you’re looking for a bandana or collar for them, head on over to BigDogPlaid.com and check out their stuff! They’re located right here in San Diego, and they’re constantly adding to their inventory.
Do you own a pet business? Are you looking to freshen up your marketing or want to launch your shop with legit, professional photos of your products? Call or email me at 760-401-7566 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to collaborate with you and help grow your business!