Category Archives: Personal

Boo has a few ideas to help animals on Giving Tuesday.

No Bah Humbugs Here! It’s Giving Tuesday.

No Bah Humbugs here!
It’s Giving Tuesday. We made our donation to the CSU Animal Cancer Center. The work they are doing is incredible. I’m proud to volunteer my time helping them.
If you have an opportunity to donate and were looking for an organization that helps animals and people, I highly suggest the One Cure program.
Don’t forget you might be able to double the gift, check and see if your company matches donations.
Boo has a few ideas to help animals on Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday donation ideas to help animals.

Interested in a few other organizations that help animals? Here are a few of our favorites.

The Best Friends Society is an amazing animal rescue in southern Utah.

Our friends at PawsCo do amazing work saving the lives of dogs and cats in Colorado.

The Denver Animal Shelter is an open admission shelter that helps over 7,000 animals every year.


What’s your favorite organization that helps animals?



Boo Radley the dog dressed as Jon Snow.

Winter is Here | Behind the Scenes of Our Game of Thrones Photo

We’re pretty excited about the new season of Game of Thrones. Last year we created a photo of Boo Radley as Jon Snow. We had more than a few people ask how we did it so I thought I’d show some behind the scenes.

My husband made Boo’s costume and fit like a harness. The collar buckled and there was a buckle under his chest. He made it that way so that we wouldn’t have to put anything on over Boo’s head.

Here’s a photo of Jamie putting the costume on. Boo knows he’s getting some pretty yummy snacks for his hard work so he’s pretty tolerant with the costume.

Boo getting his costume put on.

Boo getting his Jon Snow costume on.

Typically for the kind of a portrait I’d use studio light. But this day we just set it up in the backyard and used natural light.

Most of the photos Boo had his mouth open and was looking straight at the camera. I had my husband move off to the side with Boo’s treats to get him to look in another direction. This is the photo I selected. There’s still some work to be done.

A look at the photo before photoshop.

Boo snow before final edits.

Retouching the photo was next. I normally don’t do this much retouching on pet portraits but the wall scenes from Game of Thrones has such a specific look to it I needed to make a few changes to make it look a little more like I wanted it to.

First I desaturated the photo and darkened it a tiny bit, then I created snow in photoshop. Now Boo is looking a bit more like Jon Snow. So that’s how we created our little tribute to Game of Thrones.

I’m thinking this year I may need to make an Iron Throne for Boo Radley.

Alright GOT fans, tell me… who do you think is going to sit on the Iron Throne?


Boo Radley the dog dressed as Jon Snow.

Winter is Here. Boo Radley as Jon Snow.




Relieve the stress from fireworks by playing games.

Fireworks and Fear: Helping Your Dog Cope

Fireworks aren’t fun for the dogs in our life but could they be? Probably not, but maybe they could be a little less awful.

If you’ve read any of our posts about our dog Boo Radley you would know that Boo is afraid of a lot. The vacuum, the laundry basket, the heat vents. You name it he’s worried about it.

When we first brought him home he was terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks as well and he would literally try to dig his way into the drywall. It was very upsetting for all of us. I couldn’t find a way to calm him. I’d shut all the windows to try to reduce the sound, turn music on for background noise. We bought a ThunderCoat for him and he chewed threw it in about 10 minutes. We thought the only thing that was going to work was medicating him.

One night there was a storm coming and Boo was getting nervous so we started playing a game with him. It was a game a dog trainer taught us when we first got him. She called it puppy popcorn but really it’s more of a hide and seek game.

My husband and I each have treats and my husband sits with Boo while I hide somewhere in the house. Once I hide I call the dogs name and he comes to find me. Once he finds me I give him a treat. While Boo is trying to find me my husband hides. We play until he’s tired and usually he’s so busy he forgets about the storm or fireworks. That game has worked miracles for Boo and for us. It’s fun too. We have a good laugh when he runs past us or finds us faster than we thought.

The amazing thing about playing that game is that now even if we can’t play the game when fireworks go off near us he’s not trying to dig himself into the drywall. He still doesn’t love them but he’s no longer a danger to himself either.

Relieve the stress from fireworks by playing games.

Playing games with your dog could relieve the stress from the noise of fireworks.

It can be a long week if you live in a neighborhood where people are lighting off fireworks every night for the first week in July. I hope this game helps you and your dog relax and have fun.

Remember hide, call your dog, reward them when they find you, repeat.










grief from pet loss.

What Not to Say to Someone That’s Lost a Pet

When I first started my pet photography business I thought I would be romping all around Denver with the cutest of puppies and active teenage dogs taking photos of them with their sweet fresh faces, playing, and running around with tons of energy. It wasn’t long before I realized many people don’t think of getting professional portraits until their dog is older. I would say more than half of all the people that hire me want me to take photos of their senior pets or even pets that have had a recent diagnosis of a terminal illness.

Because of that, I’ve had many conversations with people who have just lost their pet and after years of listening to their stories I can tell you what not to say to someone that has just lost a pet.

“It’s just a dog.” I think this is one of the most heartless things you can say to a grieving person. The translation is, “your dog didn’t mean anything to me.” Our dogs are with us all the time, they are our sidekicks, our best furry friend, our fur-kids. We protect them, feed them, train them, walk them, cuddle with them. They are the family we choose, it doesn’t make them less important.

“They’re in a better place.” Honestly, we thought they were in a pretty great place when they were living with us and saying something like that makes us feel like we didn’t do enough to care for them. It’s kind of like saying our home wasn’t good enough and we could have saved them if only we would have done more. We know you probably meant to say something along the lines of, “I hope you find some relief that your dog isn’t suffering any more.”  But, even that phrase isn’t quite right because it makes it sound like our grief is selfish. We didn’t want them to suffer, we didn’t want them to get sick in the first place.

“This other dog needs a home.”  We know you think another pet will distract us from our grief and make us happy but the truth is sometimes it can make our grief worse. We adopted Boo shortly after losing our dog Cleo and for a while I felt guilt for liking Boo. If Cleo meant so much how could we replace him so fast? The truth is you can’t. So while I was busy taking care of a new dog, I really wasn’t ready yet and it made me frustrated that Boo had so many behavior problems and wasn’t as easy going as our dog Cleo. The comparison game was unfair to Boo and I just felt like crap all around. We aren’t replacing worn out shoes. We need time to get over our loss and time to decide when to move on.

grief from pet loss.

My soul dog, Cleo.

“How long are you going to be sad?” The translation for this is both, “you’re bumming me out, I don’t want to hear about it,” and, “you’re over reacting.” It’s very similar to saying, “you aren’t normal for being this upset.” Grief is different for every person. Some of us are heartbroken and sad for a month or two and some of us will be heartbroken for months or years. There is no normal. Grief is different for every single person.

After all these years I admit I don’t always say the right thing, in fact I rarely do. So I’m trying to say less and less. Maybe that’s the best thing you can do. Tell them you’re sorry for their loss, ask them if they need anything and then let them do the talking.





A New Boo


10, 9, 8, you know when there’s a countdown it leads to something big… 7, 6, 5. What if the something big was 7 new failures smacking you in the face? 4, 3, 2, or what if I decided to actually make those changes instead of just thinking about them…1.     Happy New Year!!!

A New Boo

Boo wishing you a happy New Year!

Normally, I am not the kind of person who makes New Year Resolutions I am the kind of person that makes lists. Lots and lots of lists. Lists of what to do today, this week, this month, what groceries to buy, what errands to run, what books I want to read, what music I want to listen to and on, and on, and on. Thank God for electronic notes, I tell you!

The great thing about lists is it can help you remember all of the things you want to remember and you can cross them off. There is something very rewarding about crossing anything off including, “get dishwasher soap.” I always thought the only real difference between an ongoing list and a New Years resolutions was just the date. I can start a list anytime. But New Year, well you know all about that.

But, what if I’m being too easy on myself? What if I’m not challenging myself enough? The thing about resolutions is they are usually something life changing (and something most people forget by February). While my list is ongoing and I do create some big demands for myself on those lists maybe it’s not as challenging as it could be. So I thought I’d make a new list this year. A list of resolutions. It’s nothing profound that you wouldn’t see on anyone else’s list but I thought if I told you about them and followed up on how I’m doing, those resolutions might be a little harder to forget about. So here they are in list format, there are seven. I’ll follow up a few times during the year and at the end of the year to see how I did.

  1. Exercise more – I work a lot and really need to get out of my computer chair more often.
  2. Use my metal studio more. As a pet photographer, I create art for a living but the metal studio is just for me, no demands, just create.
  3. Work on my selfie game. Ok, here is where it gets kind of interesting. You know if I’ve ever taken photos of you that I try really hard to get you to relax and enjoy the process of getting your photo taken. Well… I hate getting my photo taken. I hate it. I need to work on that for the same reasons I tell you to get your photo taken. The people we love want photos of us!
  4. More time for adventures with Boo – as I said I worked a lot last year and I feel like Boo and I both missed out on exploring Colorado.
  5. Education – there is always something to learn with photography, printing, and owning a small business. This year I committed to a week long course in Costa Rica with some of the best photographers in the world.
  6. Blog more – I stopped blogging sometime last year because all my blogs had been about the 52 week project. The project is great but I just didn’t have the time and to be honest I had done it for 3 years so while it was fun it was also kind of meh. I wanted to blog about something else but I wasn’t sure what. This month I’ll be exploring the things I do want to blog about and then creating a year long blog calendar for myself.
  7. Friends – I miss my friends. Did I tell you I worked a lot last year? This year I will be more connected to the people that are most important to me. I have a few visits planned for a few of my out of state peeps. For my peeps in Colorado I just need to be more consistent about getting out of the house. Hey, maybe some of them will let me bring Boo? Poor Boo, that might be asking too much.

Comment below and tell us what’s on your list!

Happy New Year!