We journeyed to Holland with a purpose, a flower pilgrimage. Sure, we hit the art museums, walked through the relatively tame “Red Light District,” avoided the second hand highs spilling out of the local pot bars, but we were on a mission.
Our first stop on the pilgrimage was at the place Martha Stewart once described as the Wall Street of Flowers. We rose well before the sun and hiked to the Amsterdam’s Central Train and Bus Station. After wandering around for a few minutes, we found the correct bus stand that corresponded to the number and route. The presence of other pilgrims waiting for the same bus gave us confident confirmation. Soon, we departed. The ride took us through the city into the suburbs and finally to the edge of the countryside where greenhouses began to appear. We arrived at a huge warehouse facility that houses “FloraHolland.” We traversed catwalks suspended above a floor covered by containers of flowers that moved on automated carts prior to entering the auction and then by rapidly crisscrossing electric lifts after purchase. The choreography required to move these containers around at incredibly fast speeds without crashing into each other is amazing. Further, given the speed and frequency of movement, it is amazing that the right containers make their way to the correct trucks to get on a plane for distribution around the World.
So,when we booked the trip, we picked a date based largely on the prime blooming season in a place called Keukenhof. We dragged our luggage to Amsterdam central station and took a train to Leiden. A day later we took the bus to Keukenhof.
Keukenhof rocked! Yes, there were flowers, but most importantly there were DOGS! More than 7 million bulbs to countless million blooms and DOGS! Did you really think that this would continue to be all about the travel or about the flowers? We had barely walked into the park when we saw the first locals with their dogs. Amongst the tulips, the tulips, and more tulips, dogs walked with their humans, and to a pet photographer, this made the pilgrimage all the more rewarding.
CUE THE MUSIC:
Da-dum da-dum da-dum da-dum daaaaaaaa…
SCREECH… NO, WRONG MUSIC! It’s not Jaws swimming through the night ocean water ready to chomp a little hunk of human meat for dinner. No, cue the mermaid music. In this case, I am thinking not of a fictitious mermaid, but a real living, breathing mermaid, Mermaid Kariel.
Growing up Kariel liked mermaids as much as any other girl, but unlike others, Kariel wanted to be a mermaid.
I was paging through my 2013 “I (Paw) Hawaii Calendar, which included Kariel’s Mer-dog-ter, Lola. When I first met Kariel for that shoot, I was absolutely blown away by her passion and the positivity that she exuded. It was a beautiful day, in many ways. Eventually, she convinced me to dawn a tail and accompany her into the deep. My take: YOU HAVE TO BE IN REALLY GOOD SHAPE TO SWIM IN THAT TAIL! Kariel is.
So, here I sit, in the midst of shooting multiple pet photography projects, and I am thinking of a Mermaid… a real life Mermaid and her real life Mer-dog… and I find my “happy place.”
CUE THE RIGHT MUSIC, THIS TIME!!!
Deb McGuire, Hawaii’s Best Pet Photographer, announces the arrival of her 2016 “I (Paw) Hawaii” Calendar in stores now. To get Deb’s calendar, go to any local Longs, Walmart, Food Pantry(s), Airport Gift Shops, Hawaii Doggie Bakery and Boutique, Target, the military Exchanges, and many others. If you have trouble finding Deb’s Hawaii Pet Calendar at your local store, you can order the Deb McGuire’s 2016 Hawaii Pet Calendar from Island Heritage Co at http://www.welcometotheislands.com/2016-Trade-Calendar-Paw-Hawaii/dp/B00TA9YT2M. When it comes to pet calendars, especially Hawaii Pet Calendars, don’t settle for anything less than the original Deb McGuire calendar.
When putting together my first calendar, a now friend happened to have a very unique fur-baby who not only jumped out of airplanes (tandem of course) but surfed the waves of Waikiki. Dr. David Yew and his Bugsy traveled a very adventurous path.
Today, I learned that Bugsy had passed. I love all my fur-babies, but when I am friends with both the dog and his human, the passing is particularly tough. When David told me, it was hard to hold back the tears. Bugsy was truly one of a kind.
Sometimes, something about a photo shoot sticks in my head. In the case of my session with Bugsy, there are a couple things that come to mind. The first had less to do with photography and more to do with the reaction of the world famous Waikiki Beach Boys and the local beach vendors. They all seemed to know Bugsy and respect him.
The second image that comes to mind was that both David and Bugsy seemed to enjoy being on the surf that morning. They both smiled so broadly. It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful image to keep in my mind.
Bugsy Yew lived a long, adventure-filled life. He left a huge part of himself with David Yew. Bugsy left a mark on all of us who were fortunate to know and cuddle him. He will be missed but I take comfort in knowing that Bugsy is now pain free and running like a puppy, jumping from cloud to cloud in heaven.
Hang loose Bugsy!
It seems only a year ago, Magic was eleven. Now, she is twelve. I guess that is how life works. One day your ten, two years down the road you’re twelve.
Twelve is such an even number, I think. Unlike eleven, which is just odd, twelve has more symmetry.
Twelve is divisible evenly by three. I love three. Twelve is in fact divisible by three even numbers other than itself. Twelve is, therefore, a very good number.
Magic will be quick to shed eleven. Of course, that is I, a human, saying this. In year eleven, Magic had a cancer scare. During a checkup because she was losing too much weight, the Vet found a mass in her abdomen. That precipitated a second trip to the Vet for an ultrasound, which showed nothing… The tumor, we (Vet + us) concluded, was most likely a large poop that had not yet worked its way through her little system; this confirmed the fact that our cats wait far too long between bowel movements. Her third trip to the Vet was for a tooth extraction. Tooth became teeth, because two teeth needed to be pulled. Then, when she became irritated with the stitches inside her mouth, and tried to use her back paw to scratch through her cheek to get at them, she made a fourth visit to the Vet. If you can picture a very petite black cat dwarfed within smallest sized protective cone-of-shame, you will feel for her. We called her the Space Alien, as she bore a striking resemblance to “Marvin Martian.”
Yeah, I am thinking Magic is well rid of eleven.
Happy Birthday, Magic. We love you!
Admittedly, I sometimes react like a little girl. So, when the box arrived from Island Art Cards, I anticipated its contents as if the box held Christmas or Birthday presents. My expectations were high. Anticipation… Expectation… Culmination! YES! The “Hawaiian Surf Dogs 2015” calendar is here, and if I do say so myself, IT IS WONDERFUL. I LOVE IT! The calendar is full of my passion. It is full of dogs doing the things that they love to do at the beach or in the water.
THE NEW HAWAII DOG CALENDAR IS HERE! For some odd reason, Steve Martin’s phonebook scene from “The Jerk” popped into my head once again this year. Fortunately, for those who follow this blog, here and on Facebook, I searched the archives… and realized, yes, Steve Martin had been in my brain before… BUT, THE NEW CALENDAR IS HERE!!!
Deb McGuire, Pet Photographer, announces the arrival of her “I ♥ HAWAII 2015 16-Month Calendar.” The calendar is published and distributed by Island Heritage, and is available Longs, ABC Stores, Airport Gift Shops, Tourist Gift Shops, and on the Island Heritage site.
Another calendar, featuring surfing and water dogs of Hawaii is coming soon…
I love, love, love my fur-babies. The big ones, the small ones, the short and the tall… love them all. I have said many times, “I don’t do this for money; my passion is the animals.” That is why, every pet touches my heart, so much so that losing one of my furry friends hurts a bunch.
When we photographed Sandy, she was already not feeling well. She had hepatitis. Yet, she seemed fine. She had energy and stamina. You would not have known that anything was wrong. Her human’s story regarding giving a black dog the name Sandy is one of those classic unforgettable moments… why would anyone name a black dog Sandy? BECAUSE IT FITS.
We photographed Hobbs just after sunrise on the other side of the Koolaus. Typical of the weather on the mountain, we thought it might rain. But then, as we crossed the street, the sun came out. Hobbs welcomed us by barking and barking and barking. By the end of the shoot, we were all in love. Hobbs was not feeling well. He was so energetic. He lived his life very well, very fully.
Rex was a beautiful dog. He was a working dog. He had just retired when we first met him. He was so thrilled about retirement that he ate the furniture. Rex was so beautiful.
Libby was a rescue kitty. SHE WAS SO WELCOMING!!! We think that she eventually tolerated us. I remember her eyes. Her eyes were absolutely gorgeous.
Chamois brought two little girls a lot of joy. The girls are older now, and they have lost a dear friend. Chamois will join her dog sister Cali in heaven.
Spanky was a dog with an interesting past. He was adopted by good people; his first pet parent, a drug dealer, left the picture for a Court scheduled sabbatical. We met Spanky at Kapiolani Park… not far from his home. Spanky was a “senior.” He was 17 years old. In the middle of the photoshoot, Spanky did something that no other dog had ever done. Spanky fell asleep. Spanky had a long and interesting life, but for me… who wanted one more puppy kiss… Spanky left just a little too soon.
Rocky… what to say about one of our best models? We consider ourselves very fortunate to have known Rocky and his pet parents. He loved the water. He was the best underwater dog ever. Rocky loved to pick up rocks and hide them in his cheeks. He was a great diver. Most of all, Rocky was a total sweetheart with beautiful brown eyes.
Riley and Nico were part of the same pet family. Riley was my first deaf dog; my first furball model who could care less about all my goofy noises and attempts to get his attention by using sounds. Nico was a goofy black lab. They were much loved family members of my friend Carolyn, who brought us Blarney. Both Riley and Nico left our extended family far too soon.
I really, really love my fur babies. They are my passion. This past year I lost too many furry friends, but I know deep down that they have crossed over the rainbow bridge to a place that they can be puppies and kittens again, forever.
Blarney is two.
Blarney is our special child, our special gift. 71 pounds of pure love, Blarney wants to be part of you. In physics, the Law of Impenetrability states that two bodies cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Blarney has not studied physics, probably never will… and so, the Law of Impenetrability does not apply to Blarney… so says Blarney. This is fine until you are in midstride and Blarney and your supporting appendage are trying to be in the same space.
Blarney kisses like a young teenage boy. He is enthusiastic, but it is wet and really, REALLY sloppy. Sometimes, you have to force yourself not to think where his mouth may just have been.
Blarney is angelic when he sleeps… he is not perfect… he farts, burps, and snores. He hogs TOO much of the bed. He sleeps as hard as he wakes.
Blarney is our water dog. He is a constant subject for tourists’ photos and videos on the beach at Lanikai.
While I may not have chosen to have a 71 pound dog, I would always have chosen my special boy. When he looks at me, my heart grows inside my chest.
Blarney is two. I love my special boy.