Scrolling through your facebook feed and you come across a cute photo of a puppy. The puppy is on the page of a rescue that you follow, or maybe one of your ‘friends’ shared the photo. The puppy is wearing a cone and it looks like something is happening with one of her eyes. You take the moment to read the caption and maybe your heart breaks more than usual because there’s “something” that resonates a bit more closely than you’re used to.
This is what happened with me and the photo of Callie.
I saw Callie’s photo come up on my feed, posted by my friend Norma. I know Norma because I’ve spent a good amount of time at her and her husband's home photographing the various dogs they’ve lovingly brought in to foster. To help them heal. To help them rest. To take a breath from their journey of unknown. To get to know love, comfort and care.
I’m not sure what compelled Norma and her (talented artist of a husband) Gord to start fostering animals. For some reason that has never come up in our visits. With all the people I’ve met, the foster homes I’ve been to, I’ve never asked. Maybe I assume I know the answer… maybe the answer seems obvious to me. Maybe I’m too focussed on the dog, endeavouring to get the best photographs I can with the least amount of disruption to the animal and household. Regardless of the reasons, I’m just thankful they’re there.
So, here was Callie. A mere six weeks old wearing a cone and the tell-tale stitches holding together the lids of her left eye. An enucleation of the eye. An injured eye that could not be saved. It was almost six years ago a similar image came across my social media feed and was burned into my memory. Back then it was a little dog named Coco. He had he same purple stitches and shave pattern around the eye.
Today Coco is Mister Coco, currently sleeping under pillows on my couch. One of the fosters we brought home to heal, but he never left. Now my little shadow and one of the reasons that I find myself stopping what I’m doing to go visit an animal at its “home away from home”.
These homes are so important in the world of animal rescue. With limited spaces for the sheer volume of animals who are in need of a new life, it seems that it’s now up to caring humans to step up. And Norma and Gord have.
I first met them Jan 17, 2014, when I went to photograph Molly*. She was one of the first dogs rescued through the Victoria Humane Society (VHS). She had been found dumped, left abandoned at a remote location near Logan Lake, BC. They stepped up to foster her, and here we are over four years later and she’s never left. She’s an official member of the family. Molly may still be nervous of newcomers, but when I visit, a bit of cupboard love helps bridge the gap.
Norma + Gord have also welcomed a foster named Simon. He came in to care with VHS as one of the ‘mountain man’ dogs. He was so shut down, it was just heartbreaking. When I met Simon in February 2015 he was just shaking. So, so scared. I wouldn't even try to pet him… he barely let me, a stranger, look at him. But when I saw him this time, now that he's an official member of the family, I got to rub his belly, his chest, his face… and he wasn’t petrified. This isn't to say he was *super* relaxed (especially when the camera was out), but he let me, a stranger, in and gave me a wee bit of trust. His eyes went soft and he even subtly asked for more when I stopped. Apparently he now sits, shakes a paw, rolls over, lays down when visitors aren’t around. He takes treats, but only after he’s ‘worked’ for it, meaning only after he does sit, etc. This was not trained… this was all Simon.
And then there’s Paisley… surviving not only two bouts of heartworm, but being shot (the pellets are still in her leg) and enduring an untreated broken foot. Despite whatever has happened in the past, she’s let it go and this girl’s tail NEVER stops wagging - it's a photobomb of its own. Paisley loves above all.
All three have welcomed little Callie into their home, letting her run around, be silly, and try to play with their tails. But most of all, heal and learn. I have no doubt that when Callie is ready for adoption, she will get a great home and the chance to navigate life with the support of a loving human by her side.
So, here are some photos of what was supposed to be a ‘short visit to get a few photos’ that turned into almost two hours of chatting and marvelling at the incredible progress of some super special dogs. Thanks N+G!
If you would like to donate to the Victoria Humane Society to help pay for Callie’s surgical bills, or to the society in general to help pay for food, spaying/neutering, transportation, etc for animals in need of rescue, or already in foster care, please visit their website: www.victoriahumanesociety.com
*Click here to see Molly in January 2014 (scroll to the bottom of the page)
Super cool to have a photo session with these two... Bill met Brennan last year they met while both modelling at the 2016 Man and His Dog Fashion Show Fundraiser that was raising money for the Victoria Humane Society.
This year, they're the poster boys!
I got to photograph them for their ad... and Brennan, who's now Jax, was such a chill guy we had to wake him up from his afternoon nap (amidst the hustle and bustle of Outlooks For Men on a Saturday afternoon) to get 'ready for his close up'... here's some of the fun we had...
Can't wait to see these two strut their stuff this year!
This year's show takes place on November 9 at the Atrium, 800 Yates Street beginning at 6pm. Admission is $55 and includes one drink and nibbles. Tickets are available now at Outlooks, 534 Yates Street and online at outlooksformen.com
See ya there!
Spent an afternoon Horsing Around with the Magic Unicorn, Paltry Pete and Montague C. Horse (aka Monty)!
These characters offer up reviews on all sorts of things - from food to fun stuffs - here in ol' Victoria, BC and they've got some great reviews planned.
Keep your eyes peeled for them while out and about, or check them out HERE!
The artist was present, she is present... she is a present... she's a gift!
I wasn't the only one participating in the #100daysproject here in little old Victoria, BC. My friend Betty-Ann Lampman who is a stinkin' great artist and designer was too. (We're big fans of B.A. in our house... we have her collage, "Losing Game" on our bedroom wall, right under our tv so we can say goodnight to it every night.)
Based on the photographs by Marco Anelli as part of the documentary, The Artist is Present, (available locally at Pic A Flic Video) she created black and white paintings of 100 of the faces who appeared across from performance artist, Marina Abromović.
Betty-Ann knocked this project out of the park, she killed it, she gave it the 'what for'.
The local paper interviewed her HERE. She even had one of the subjects contact her to see if he could buy his portrait.
Anyway, she was nice enough to let me come over to her beautiful home and photograph her with a bunch of her original pieces scattered about her living room... she was just so patient while I had her holding poses and laying around on her hardwood floors. And at the end of it, she was looking forward to putting all the pieces back into their portfolios into the order in which she made them. Did I mention she was patient?
B.A.'s going to have a show in October 2015 at the Martin Batchelor Gallery in Victoria, so you should definitely check it out.
To see these pieces in person - all 100 of them - is truly magical.
Today the Mister had his first gentleman date when Sir Buddy came to call. The two enjoyed time sniffing, pee-marking, chin scratches, chatting, and then Sir Buddy needed a bit of nap time - he is a senior after all!
Dress code: neck ties were a must - either formal or informal
Food: organic yogurt and surf n' turf treats
Drink: fresh water from the garden hose, in tea cups of course
Thank you Sir Buddy and Aima for the visit... it was short, but sweet.
Until the next one!
Also... be sure to watch Sir Buddy's attempt at nap time at the end of the photos!
It was Good Friday in more ways than one last week as I got to spend the afternoon photographing some super talented, beautiful, fun gals from Shampoo Hair Bar in a colourful, funky pad... right here in Victoria!
It was fun, there was sun, and of course, lovely locks!
Wanna see more of these beauties?.... just click!
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive."
I used to love to wear make up... my mom sold Avon when I was young and I would play with her samples for days... it was heavenly. Cut to a whole bunch of years later and I don't wear it much - I try to, but I often forget.
Anyways, I love the look of smokey eyes and my friend Heather is so fresh faced and only wears a teeny bit of make up generally so I thought it'd be fun to get her all smokey-eyed and mess up her hair a bit and see what happens! Since she's a performer, it took her no time to get cozy in front of the camera...
High-fives for the eye style, goes out to make up artiste, Laura Myers!