Golden Years

October 26, 2015  •  5 Comments

Senior golden retrieverSenior golden retrieverOld golden retriever Max the golden retriever has been with his family since he was a puppy. His family adores him and with good reason! "Best Dog Ever" definitely applies to him. Sadly, Max was just diagnosed with cancer so his family decided it would be a good idea to get photos of him while he is still feeling relatively energetic.

Here's what his family had to say about him:

Breed & age: Max, golden retriever, 13 1/2 years
Favorite food: salmon and doggie ice cream
Best trick: carries three tennis balls in his mouth at the same time
Most annoying habit: None, of course
If Max had a job, what would it be? Max would be a service dog. He loves helping people and has a huge heart
If Max were a superhero, what would his special power be? Making everyone's heart heal and feel better
Extra-curricular activity that nobody would guess? Hanging out in his "hole" in the backyard and going on walks, of course
Nicknames? Snorkel, Noopy, Maxy, Hashy (the girls could not say Maxy when they were little)

Amazing true story: When our twins were born and we brought them home from the hospital, Max ran outside and back through his doggie door. He was carrying two of his little stuffed animals in his mouth and promptly dropped them in front of each baby. It was so sweet!

Golden retriever and twinsGolden retriever and twinsGolden retriever and twins This is Max's "hole." It's basically a dog-sized hole that he dug in the backyard that he likes to lay in. He brings his "babies" (a.k.a. little stuffed animals) out to the hole with him. It's his happy spot!

Golden retriever and twin girlsGolden retriever and twin girlsGolden retriever and twins
Golden retriever and kid reading a bookGolden retriever and kid reading a bookGolden retriever and kid reading a book

If you have an elderly or ill pet, here's what you can expect from a photo shoot with me:

  1. First and foremost, I will make sure your pet is comfortable. I follow the dog's lead and read their body language to see how much they can handle. If a dog needs to lay in the same spot for most of the session or take a nap, that's fine. I am very good at recognizing pets' signs of stress and anxiety. If I see any, I back off and give them space.
  2. I learn about your dog ahead of time so that we can incorporate fun things that are unique to them.
  3. I feel it's important to include family and younger pets in the photos to capture that slice in time.
  4. I'm sensitive to the sheer emotion associated with the end of life. It's a privilege for me to be invited into your home during the last few months of your pet's life and I try to respect that. A few years ago, I had two elderly dogs of my own so I have experienced seeing beloved pets decline. I desperately wished my dogs could have lived longer but, now that they are gone, I'm so glad I have plenty of photos of them. 


Grandma Shirley(non-registered)
SWEET SPOT..that's what I'll be calling Max's "Hole"
Grandpa Duke(non-registered)
It's his Den...his ManCave
Grandma Shirley(non-registered)
I love the picture of the three of them in the "HOLE", however, I think it needs a better name. "HOLE" just sounds tooooo
ordinary for a guy like Max. Can't we put our heads together and come up with another one that best fits the purpose? Here's a few I have off the top of my head: earthspace, backyard couch, foxhole (at least it is a bit better than "hole', best one of all is Clubhouse....Max's Clubhouse....all are invited!
aaah!! great shots! love all the love he gets! give him a big hug and kiss for us!
Gina Guarascio
Karen is a wonderful and caring pet photographer. She is definitely a pet person and Max liked her right away (always the sign of true character). We highly recommend her if you have an elderly, furry family member and considering a photo shoot!
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