Thursday, August 11, 2011

How I get my photos

One thing I've learned about canine photography is that it's messy.  I get wet and muddy and that's not always because the dogs are excited and jumping on me.  One of the major keys to getting a nice photo of a dog is getting down on their level.  For many people this probably means just squatting down a bit.  For me, it means, well, crawling around in the grass and dirt to get just the right angle.

Take this photo, for instance, of my friend's dog Nellie.


I absolutely adore this photo.  It's crisp, the colors are beautiful, and it really shows off Nellie's lovely face, eyes, and her awesome personality.

So what did I look like while this photo was being taken?  Well, Nellie's owner was nice enough to snap this photo.

M & ridiculous Nellie

So there ya go.  Me crawling around on the (rather wet) grass to get photos of dogs.  I think it was well worth it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Not good enough

Recently I was reading a fantastic blog post by Nathan Winograd called Good Homes Need Not Apply.  If you haven't read it, you really should.

The basic gist is that there are many good homes for adoptable pets and that good homes come in all shapes and sizes.  But the problem comes in when rescues have rigid and often ridiculous requirements for adopting one of their pets.  All over the internet, when this problem gets brought up you get people posting about how they were refused by a rescue due to X really ridiculous reason.

Common rigid requirements are:

1. Must have a fenced in yard.  This excludes anyone who lives in an apartment, a housing association that will not allow fences, people with yards too big to be able to afford a fence, and people who just really do not want a fence in their yard.  Drive around any neighborhood in the USA and you will find very few yards with any sort of fencing.  All of those people who don't have one?  They can't even apply to adopt a dog.  Forget that they might take the dog out for several walks a day.  If there's no fence, don't even bother.

2. No children under X age.  X is often an arbitrary number like 6 or 7, but I've seen rescues who won't adopt out to people with children under 10.  Now look around you.  How many families do you know with children under 10?  Under 6 or 7?  While I can understand the reasoning that children get bitten more often than adults and that very young children don't always know how to interact with dogs properly, shouldn't you be considering the parents in all of this?  Meet the family, see how the parents interact with the children and how they work with the kids and the dog together?  We had dogs in my family from when my brother and I were pretty young (certainly younger than 6 or 7!) and my parents taught us how to interact with dogs.  I cannot imagine not having the joy of growing up with dogs around!

3. Cannot be away from the home for more than X hours.  X is often something like 4 hours.  This eliminates people (or even couples) who work normal 9 to 5 type jobs.  While some couples might have overlapping schedules that allow for someone to be home with the dog much of the time, many work pretty standard hours and are gone for the same part of the day.  Forget being single and wanting a dog if you have to work full time!  As has been pointed out, this limits rescues to adopting to people who either work from home or are millionaires.  Forget about parents who stay home with their kids.  See #2 above.  That won't work either.

Just today I was glancing through Petfinder at a couple puppies I found adorable and have a hard time believing aren't adopted yet.  I went over to check out the website for the rescue to see if I could figure out why.  One lists this: If you rent, we will not approve your application. If you live near a busy road or within city limits, a fenced in area is required.  In today's economy many people are choosing to rent and live for years in their rented place.  Many people do not want a house.  Recently I read an article that stated many people are opting to rent when they could buy.  Does that make those people less stable than those who buy a house they might someday have to foreclose on?  And I'm not sure how many cities these folks have been in, but in our fair city, there's often not enough yard to fence in.  People who live in the city walk their dogs (as we do).  The dogs are healthier, happier, and better socialized for it.

Rigid requirements are not doing anyone any favors.  The dogs that languish in foster homes for months, sometimes even years are not being helped.  They're in limbo and should never be in limbo for years on end.  The dogs dying in shelters because the rescues cannot pull them out because they're "full" are not being helped.  Because a rescue cannot find that perfect home (large home, large fenced in yard, someone home all day, couple is married, but has no young children and is also not "too old" to have a dog), they would rather allow shelters to kill other dogs that they could have saved if only they had looked at each person as an individual instead of as meeting or not meeting (much more likely in many cases) a certain set of rigid requirements.

I'm very thankful that Bare Bones Rescue (a sadly now defunct rescue) was willing to look at us as individuals.  After all, we're an unmarried couple living in a rented duplex with no yard and therefore no fenced-in-yard.  Other rescues would have turned their nose up at us.  But this one was happy to place a dog with us and, as anyone who has followed Dahlia's story knows, she is anything but unhappy.  She gets several walks a day, is fed good food, goes to the vet as scheduled and when anything comes up that we think merits a vet visit, gets plenty of attention from us, and goes to agility classes once or twice a week.

But hey, rescues who have rigid requirements, I guess we still just wouldn't be "good enough" for you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Shaking off!

Inspired a bit by this post, when Dahlia was wet and shaking off this weekend I decided to try to get some photos of it.  Now, clearly, I don't have quite the camera Ms. Davidson does.  Nor do I have an awesome studio space to take wonderful photos in.

But despite that, I think the photos are hilarious enough to share.



I think this last one is my favourite.  Her head had basically finished the shaking, but the shake had continued down the rest of her body.  She looks like a big black sheep.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011