The Dog Alliance
Photographing black dogs is hard, ya'll. They're like boomerangs wrapped in inky velvet put on this earth to test the very reaches of your photographic skills. But it's definitely worth it when one of your job requirements is to get bombarded by eight little black puppies first thing in the morning.
That was the first shoot I did with The Dog Alliance, a non-profit organization in Cedar Park, TX that provides service dogs to hospitals, nursing homes, and family courtrooms. Most notably, they provide service dogs to veterans who suffer from PTSD or mobility issues. Through their Hounds for Heroes program, these dogs are given at no charge to service men and women.
During the two shoots I did with The Dog Alliance, I got to work with Debi Krakar directly. She is the founder and executive director of the organization and an absolute joy to be around. As I photographed the puppies playing, she would point out to me their different activities- carrying a toy, posing for the camera- and what that meant with regard to their future service abilities. I'm always looking to add to my arsenal of animal-related trivia, so I was scribbling down mental notes.
Our second shoot was at my studio- an above-garage apartment that photographers would say (kindly) is on the smaller side. Because of the volume of shots we needed, I had to work quickly. That turned out to be pretty easy since the puppies felt that the studio floor was the perfect place to take a nap. And Roxy, the puppies mama, radiated calm in such an unfamiliar environment. It was wonderful to watch her with her brood.
I was so impressed with the whole experience of working with Debi and her dogs. The wealth of knowledge she has on canine training and behavior is extensive, but it doesn't compare to the amount of love and compassion she has for the animals in her care. You will certainly see more photographs with The Dog Alliance in the future.