I remember my first dog almost as clearly as I remember my bedroom growing up. Her name was Kaibab. Yes, you read that right—her name was Kaibab (after Kaibab National Forest). She was a Norwegian Elkhound and as I recall, she was a big and powerful dog. This could be because I was a small child, but in my mind she was big enough for little me to ride like a horse and had a deep strong bark that resounded throughout the neighborhood whenever she felt we were threatened in any way. Despite her intimidating first impression to anyone that knocked at our door, she was gentle and kind with little me. I remember putting baby bonnets on her head, singing her songs, and hugging her with my arms barely reaching around her big fluffy neck.
Although Kaibab was my first dog and I loved her so, she was older when I was born and therefore, sometimes couldn't keep up with me. She introduced me to what it meant to have a pet, but my first puppy, Hallie swiftly became my first best friend. Hallie was also a Norwegian Elkhound, but lacked the confidence and grit that Kaibab possessed. The runt of the litter, she was small, scared of everything (including parked cars and the dryer) and clung to me like the slime my kids make clings to my carpet. She slept with me, walked with me, cuddled me, comforted me. She licked my tears when I cried over a silly boy or fight with a friend. She was always happy to see me, even if I was too busy to acknowledge her. She taught me what unconditional love was and when she finally passed on, I felt like my world was ending.
Since Hallie, I have had three more dogs; Kaya the red and white Siberian Husky. Allie the black and white Siberian Husky. And now Dexter—the overstuffed fluffy Golden Retriever.
I can't not have a dog. I am a dog person through and through. I knew my kids needed to be raised with dogs in the house and I knew I needed to raise dogs in my home. They will just forever be a part of who I am and my makeup. This is why, this year, for my mini session special—I chose "kids with dogs."
In case you aren't aware, every year I have a discounted mini session special that is specific and lasts throughout the year. As long as you book by the end of January for ANYTIME throughout the year, you get the discounted rate. I know that these don't always apply to everyone—not everyone has a dog or is a dog person, but this year, that was the theme.
I wanted to do this session because I don't have any digital images of Kaibab or Hallie. I can't post a picture here to remember them or show them off. Sure, I have some random pictures of them from a camera that required film that my mom or dad took, but I wish they were included in the family portraits we had taken. I wish they could be represented as the part of our family that they truly were. They deserve to be documented, remembered, and cherished. We have since had a family portrait taken with our dog Dexter by Hayley and I am so happy we have this photo:
I remember how excited I was when this family decided to take me up on that mini-session special with their two awesome kids and two adorable furry best friends. They picked the Park of Roses and we took advantage of the blooming flowers that surrounded us, played with the dogs, snapped pictures, and talked about life. These pups were rescue dogs and I truly believe that they didn't just get rescued, they rescued their family too. You can just see the love from canine to human, and human to canine. It's hard to describe or even understand—but you see it. And now, with these, they can always see it even when their dogs move on and cross that rainbow bridge. When they're writing a blog, during midlife about the powerful connection humans have with dogs (because everyone does that, right?), they will have a digital picture of two of the dogs they grew up with, told secrets to, and shared an indescribable love with. Mission accomplished.