Some of my dog (& human) friends

Ankita with Sarah, July 2012
I absolutely love this candid photo that Ankita snapped. We were hanging out at the Doggie Prodigy store, and Ankita announced that she was going to take a picture with her head pressed up against Sarah's. She walked over to the corner, held up her camera, pushed the button, and returned with this fantastic photo (along with several others). I really think it captures their personalities, and it looks to me like Ankita has some natural photography talents.

Henry, March 2012
Henry is one of my current foster dogs, a 2-3 year old rat terrier cross. As you can see, he has fantastic markings, which Barbara O'Brien captured beautifully during a casting call. Henry tends to get a bit jumpy in new environments. Getting his picture taken was definitely one of those experiences, but Barbara did a great job making him comfortable.

Henry is currently available for adoption, and you can read more about his personality at Second Chance's website under "Snoopy." (I couldn't call him that!)

Kunda trying (successfully) to get my attention, October 2011
I love this photo that Tara Engle took of me and Kunda during the Fall of 2011 at 10 years old. For years, I had wanted to get photos taken of my majestic mastiff while she was healthy enough to show us how lovely and gentle her personality was, and I was lucky enough to get Tara to take those photos. A talented local photographer in Minnesota, Tara specializes in photographing animals (and infants) and contributes so much to local rescue groups. In fact, she photographed the dogs and cats for the 2012 MN Animal Rescue calendar that raised money for rescue group Wags and Whiskers and followed that  with their 2013 calendar. Note: If you visit Tara's website, you can also see a photo of Kunda on her homepage!

Calvin, September 2011, Courtesy of Barbara O'Brien
Calvin, another of my former foster dogs lucky enough to have been snapped by Barbara O'Brien, is doing what he loves the most--hamming it up. As Deb Schneider, owner of AllBreed Obedience and Behavioral School for Dogs says, "Calvin has a good work ethic." It's true, too. He loves to train, and I can teach him tricks in no time. Although he's a bit of an imp who can be unpreditable around people and has been returned because of biting, I can't imagine my life without Calvin in it, so I adopted him. As you can see from this picture, he tends to make people smile.

Spencer, October 2008
I'll never forget Spencer. When he first came to my house in 2006, he was a gangly, frightened adolescent who had been running the streets of Duluth. Afraid of everything, I had to carry him up and down stairs. And at 75 pounds, that definitely took it's toll on my back! I worked with him carefully, and I began to see the confident, beautiful dog that Spencer was becoming. Sadly, I placed Spencer twice in homes that I thought I had screened carefully--including home visits. The second home returned him after they had burned him to his skin using a no-bark collar. I was horrified, devastated. In the 8 months they had him, Spencer had become fearful again. Luckily, I found a new family for Spencer that was ready to love him unconditionally. Although, to this day, I feel like I let Spencer down with those first two placements, I can honestly say that he has the best home I can possibly imagine. They absolutely love him--and still bring him to my house for the occasional visit! He was also selected at the 2013 Giffy dog of the year.

Sarah about 6 months after she came to my house,  September 2008
Sarah is one of those once-in-a-lifetime dogs. She came into my house a slip of a dog, terrified of everything. In fact, a veterinarian told me that he didn't know why Second Chance Animal Rescue would try to save her.  Luckily, we didn't listen, and three years later, she was certified as a therapy dog. I actually wrote about her journey in one of my blog posts. Since December of 2011, I've taken her on regular visits to visit memory care residents, and she's amazingly talented. Sarah can calm down the most agitated resident in a matter of minutes.

Gizmo sitting in his favorite umbrella stand, 2011
Gizmo will always be a favorite of mine. My tenth foster (of more than 170), he came into my house from a hoarding situation with more than 150 animals. I knew he had had a challenging life because he was one of a handful that had vet records, which told us he had lived in the home for years. His muscles had atrophied; his fur was thin; and he always acted like he thought he was getting pushed around. Gizmo may have had to scrap a lot in the first five years of his life, and he continued to have a huge personality in my house. For the ten years that he lived with me, he was definitely the boss, but he also found his home. Ultimately, he became a gentle old soul that tolerated the other dogs coming and going quite well.