My friend recently told her 9 year old daughter about what I do for a living, and she’s decided that she too, wants to be a pet photographer when she grows up! Her business will be called “Petography” and she’s already created a schedule for her upcoming shoots.
Horses 1/8/11 Pali(sades) Park 8AM
Dogs 3:45PM Completed
She’s only 9 and already knows the best time to shoot. (Dear Kendall, how did you know? You’re a natural!)
And with that I wish you a Happy New Year! 2010 was a really fabulous year and I just want to say thanks to all my friends, clients, and contacts who have made this year so magical and memorable. May 2011 bring you much love, joy and abundance!
Those of you who read the blog regularly and follow me on facebookprobably remember that I started fostering my first foster dog Harry back in January. The poor guy came to us so abused and broken - when I looked at him I literally felt like I was staring at a vacant shell of a dog. The passion and joy that you always see in the eyes of happy dogs was completely extinguished, and he just looked so very sad all the time. After weeks of working with him, I finally started to see small glimmers of happiness in his eyes.
We fostered Harry for 3 months, without any applications coming in for the sweet guy. I finally decided to tweet Denise Richards to see if she might be able to help - she’s a huge supporter of dog rescue and Best Friends Los Angeles, who I was fostering Harry for. To my utter surprise and happiness she retweeted my message to her millions of followers!
Literally within an hour, we had several promising emails, with one that really stood out from the pack! Harry had found his forever home - one with a dad that would stay home with him all day long, and a mom that would spoil him to pieces with new matching leashes, collars, and bowls.
By April, Harry was ready to go to his new home. These photos were taken in our last hours together.
(^ He’s smiling! I swear I didn’t photoshop this!)
I won’t lie - I was a complete and utter wreck that morning. When Robin from Best Friends came to get him, I was bawling so hysterically that she actually said “Grace! He doesn’t have to go! He can stay here with you!” But I knew he had found his perfect family, and I tearfully said bye to Harry that morning.
A good friend told me that the pain of parting with a foster dog goes away as soon as you get your first update, and she was right. Harry’s new mom and dad have done such an amazing job with Harry since April and I’m so excited to share their update:
We wanted to give you a status report on our Bichon-Poo “Harry”. He has gained at least 5 lbs since we got him from you, and has become very protective of us. The only time he barks is when someone rings the doorbell or comes to the front door. Other than that, he’s very quiet (which we appreciate). He just started a basic obedience class at Petco, with one session down and five more to go. There are two other dogs in the class - a lab mix and a great dane-something mix (HUGE). Harry was quite intimidated at first, but eventually came out from behind our chairs and got brave enough to venture into the “common” area. We are very proud of him. He has come a long way since April. He is still skittish sometimes, but really enjoys our affection, and wants nothing more than to sit with us on the couch and cuddle up. Rhonda has had to move him over from “second” to “third” position to get the pecking order straight, but he’s ok with that, as long as he still gets attention.
We love Harry very much. He has grown to more than a “lap dog” - he’s more of a “two-lap” dog in size. I wish there was a way to keep him clean all the time, because he’s so soft and cuddly right after a bath, so he gets a bath every week. He still is very ready for the next one every time!
Here’s three pictures of him. The first has him “begging” (waving his front paws in the air up and down) which is very cute. In the second and third, he’s just standing looking at the camera - almost posing. Hope that helps you know he is loved.
And there you have it. Harry is home. And Harry will live happily ever after! Harry was my first foster dog, but I know he won’t be my last.
I’ve always considered fostering, but the thought of it honestly freaked me out. I couldn’t imagine taking care of a dog and inevitably growing to love him, only to give him up to his forever home. So while it sounded really awesome in theory - I knew I just didn’t have the guts to do it.
But on Christmas Eve 2009, Los Angeles Best Friends Animal Society volunteers went to the Balwin Park Shelter and rescued a group of dogs from euthanasia - including this little Bischon-Poodle mix named Harry.
Poor guy was in REALLY bad shape. He was lifeless in his cell at the shelter, and upon closer examination volunteers discovered he was badly wounded. It looked as if he’d been dragged on asphalt by a car, resulting in a big, painful patch of road burn on his side. He had also developed hot spots around his back legs and tail, probably from all the anxiety of being in the shelter.
They bathed him, groomed him as much as they could, and off he went to the vet for boarding.
With so much recovering Harry needed to do, it seemed that it would be best for him to heal in a foster home instead of yet another scary, cold cage in boarding. My friend and Studio Manager thought he’d be a perfect fit for my house. Maeby and Zoey love small dogs and I work from home. The ONLY REASON I really had to say no was my own selfish anxiety about growing attached to Harry and eventually giving him up.
So I sucked it up, got over my fears, and in early January I went to the vet to pick Harry up.
See the giant patch of road burn on his side? Poor guy had wounds on his legs too.
It’s been about 7 weeks now since Harry has come to live with us. He had to wear a cone for the first month, learn to be in a crate, and learn to be home alone. I can’t lie - it’s been a long journey. He had EXTREEEEEEEEME separation anxiety and couldn’t stand being in a crate. Once when I was out of the house for an hour, he actually CRACKED the bottom of the plastic crate trying to get out!
But our little man Harry come a long way in the last 7 weeks!! His wounds are completely healed, his hot spots are gone, and he loves hanging out in his crate even if I’m home. Harry is extremely obedient - if I tell him to “go inside” his crate, in he goes. He learns commands very quickly - I taught him sit, stay, and shake in a matter of minutes. Harry loves all dogs big and small and doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. He has complete respect for Maeby and Zoey, and doesn’t have rude doggie manners other than trying to snatch food from my hand (but he quickly learned not to do this too). His favorite thing in the world is cuddling and having his belly rubbed. Best of all, Harry is 100% potty trained! He still has some minor separation anxiety issues (especially compared to how he was 7 weeks ago) and loves to follow me around from room to room. We’re trying out best not to enable his clingy-ness by only giving him affection when he’s calm, relaxed and not asking for it.
Harry is still a little withdrawn and hasn’t completely emerged from his shell. He doesn’t quite know how to play, but every once in awhile something in his head clicks and he goes bonkers playing with Maeby and Zoey. He’s come such a long way since I met him 7 weeks ago and I know he’s ready for his forever home. Overall Harry is an AWESOME DOG and whoever gets to adopt him is one very lucky person!
My hope is for Harry to get adopted in Los Angeles so I can have a photoshoot with him and his new lucky owners someday. But until that day comes, we’ll continue to love him and get him ready for his new life.
And check out how handsome our little man Harry is now!
Interested in adopting Harry? Email me: grace at shinepetphotos dot com.
As far as the fostering experience goes, would I do it again? Absolutely. This is our way of contributing to the rescue process - a karmic act of gratitude for the people who fostered Maeby and Zoey before we adopted them, and for the people who will foster our future rescue dogs. It’s really amazing to be a part of the rescue cycle and can’t wait for our next dog (which won’t be until 2011 since The Boyfriend has made me promise we can only foster 1 dog per year!)
I was featured in the latest issue of Koream Journal, the ultimate source on everything Korean American.
I grew up in a very non-diverse town (I was just one of very few Asians in a graduating class of nearly 800 students!) and ended up getting really involved in Asian Pacific American activism in college. I helped found the oldest Asian sorority in the country at Penn State (founded in 1930!!) , served as the president for a semester, and also was a governing officer of the Asian Pacific American Coalition for a year. So to be recognized by my fellow Asian Americans is a huge, huge honor. I couldn’t be more thrilled!
Thanks Koream Journal for profiling me, and to Ellyn Pak for a fun interview. And of course, my girl Korissa for taking my photo with the dogs!
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Shine Pet Photos: Modern pet photography by Grace Chon. Serving dog and cat owners in Los Angeles & San Francisco by photographer Grace Chon.
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