Shared Hearts

My memory of the day is quite clear.  It was a bright, sunny February day and my spirit was lifted because I could actually feel the warmth of the sun again, even though my body was covered head to toe with ‘Nanook from the North’ clothing.  It’s the kind of day that the sun and leafless trees create strong shadows against the white snow.  What a time of year for new beginnings!  

We’d lost 2 dogs in 3 months at the end of the previous year and we were looking forward to hearing paws on the floor again.  The fact that it was around Valentine’s Day was icing on the cake!

I’d first met her briefly at her foster family’s home but it was the photos posted on her Facebook page that showed her athletic gait and strong carriage that caught my eye.  Besides being energetic, focused, and muscular, Hellie showed she was good with children and new adventures.  So the new adventure began – for all of us!

In a few days we celebrate the one year anniversary that Helen Jane came home with to live with Kathy and I and become our Hellie.  Since it’s around Valentine’s Day I asked her to model a favorite necklace that’s really an exterior symbol for the big, common heart we share.  

Never mind that she seems less than enthusiastic about the camera pointed at her.  A year ago she wouldn’t even look us in the eye, even with a treat at the ready!  Seems as though we had to wait until we measured up to her expectations.  Three walks/runs a day – check.  Comfy doggy beds – check.  Good things to chew on – check.  A dog sitter that gives me massages – double check!


As we celebrate a year together, I encourage others considering a dog or cat to check out the adoptable pets a local Humane Society or a breed-specific rescue.   From puppies to seniors, there’s a heart out there that’s more than ready to let you in.  It’s a gift that keeps on giving all year round!



4th Annual WINE & PAWs event

Winter’s losing it’s tenacious grip on the Upper Midwest and as I walk/run with our dog, Helen Jane in the early mornings, I can feel the soothing warmth of the sun again against my face and clothing and see the melting of the ice and snow.  Ooh, it feels so good!  Besides the coming of Spring, the weather changes signal the preparations for the upcoming WINE and PAWs 2013 event at my studio.  It’s an event that I always look forward to as many different dogs and their owners come to be photographed for a good cause – a dog rescue or humane society.   It’s fun to meet and photograph all the various breeds that attend!

4th Annual WINE & PAWs !

4th Annual WINE & PAWs !

This fun event is an opportunity to have memorable, artistic images made of your dog, with maybe a few images of the two, or three of you together.   (c’mon, you can do it for your dog!)  After losing our two dogs in three months last year, we’re grateful for the photographs we have to remember them by.  They were such great dogs and members of our family!  Your dogs are no different.

Besides some distinguishing photos, another reason the participants like about WINE and PAWs is the chance to make a donation to a 501(c)3 dog rescue.  It’s their way of giving back to the rescuers/volunteers that work tirelessly everyday to make the lives of stray and abandoned dogs better.  Many participants own dogs that have come from rescues or humane societies and love to show their ‘thanks.’   The tax deduction is just a bonus.

We adopted our new rescue dog, Helen Jane (aka Hellie) from such a place – the Illinois Bird Dog Rescue (IBR).  We wanted another English Pointer and we’ve been rewarded with a wonderful, youthful specimen who had phenomenal veterinary care and loving foster homes.  Initially rescued as an emaciated, tick-infested dog in Indiana in June of 2011, she has recovered from Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever and Erlichia – 2 tick-borne diseases – and continues to thrive while keeping her chronic Lyme’s disease at bay.  Her care was costly and WINE and PAWs is my way of giving back to IBR, who brought her back to good health and behavior.

Helen Jane showing off her point 'stuff'.

Helen Jane showing off her point ‘stuff’.

Now it’s your turn to step up and call me (414-550-5340) or email me ( to arrange a session time for you and your dog.  I’ll give you some hints about how we can make the session go smoothly and what you can expect to happen.  Tell me your if you prefer ‘red vs. white vs. rose’ and we’ll be all set.  While we don’t  consume the wine during the event, the wine exchange has become a fun way to try other wines when you get home.  Let’s reach my goal to raise $1000 for IBR!

Helen Jane catches some air as she romps at Runway Dog Park - Milwaukee.

Helen Jane catches some air as she romps at Runway Dog Park – Milwaukee.