Elle Turns 10! Celebrating a Decade of Photographing Paws, Wet Noses, and Wagging Tails
Tomorrow our golden retriever Elle turn 10 years old. Over the past decade Elle has been a favorite subject of mine to photograph. She is patient, loves any excuse for bribing treat, and is quite photogenic. She is the first subject I think of to test new equipment on, never complains when the lens is pointed at her, and usually follows direction pretty well. Over the years I’ve spent countless hours photographing her and have thousands of photos. Here’s her story and some of my favorite images I’ve taken.
It was the spring of 2009. Allen and I had only just started dating a few months prior. On a whim we decided to go “look” at puppies at a pet shop that sold from local breeders. We both agreed that we were only “looking” for the fun of it and could possibly look into adopting a dog at a later time. We both grew up with dogs, larger breeds like golden retrievers and labs, and knew that’s what we wanted and we probably wouldn’t find that here anyways. As we walked around, we saw many small breeds as expected, but a particular ball of yellow fluff caught our eye. It was a golden retriever! “Remember, we’re just looking!” we reminded ourselves. We watched her for a few minutes and instantly fell in love. Then Allen pointed out her birthday, January 9th 2009. Back on that day I sat in a mediation court ready to move on with my life and ready to have my divorce finalized after many painful and stressful months. As one chapter of my life closed, a new one was just beginning. We knew at this moment it was meant to be! A couple hours after going into a pet shop to “just look” at the puppies, we were the proud new parents of one.
Potty training, chewed sneakers, and vet bills probably weren’t the best stressors to add to a new relationship and some even thought we were crazy. However, it was one of the best decisions we’ve made as a couple and she forever changed our lives. Elle has been by our side through many ups and downs. We always include her in family portraits. She has moved with us twice before finally settling into our forever home with a large wooded yard that she loves to explore. We’ve gone on many camping trips and adventures with her. Her favorite food is banana and she has a huge dislike for doorbells. She was even part of our wedding party as our “Dog of Honor”.
So tomorrow we’ll celebrate her 10th birthday with lots of wet kisses, and as many cookies as she pleases. She’ll probably sleep on the bed, after eating a bowl of ice cream. Now as her blonde hair has turned a silvery white, her hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, and her eyesight begins to worsen we appreciate every day we have together. I’m so glad I took the time over the years to photograph and document our journey as a family and that we “just looked” at the puppies at the pet store almost 10 years ago.