Several years ago, I climbed Machu Picchu. At altitude, your brain and body works in funny ways; so, after a couple days climbing the mountain, we took a break. We each grabbed a magnifying glass. We hiked amongst the orchids. We learned more about orchids than we should probably admit here… since friends who read this blog are already dealing with the image of the two of us bent over orchids with large, geeky magnifying glasses examining various orchid species. I blame it on the altitude.
A couple years later, I placed orchids in my courtyard. Hawaii and tropical plants seemed a match. My first attempt failed because apparently one places vice plants ones orchids. My second attempt did work because I placed them. See, orchids are air plants. WHO KNEW?! They grew until our dogs pulled them up.
So, less out of interest and more from guilt, I found myself at the 2013 Windward Orchid Show. I carried a camera and very little money. The former to take photos as a sort of penance to the orchid gods; the latter, well, no money, no plants; no plants, no chance for our dogs, no matter how well meaning, to kill them.
As I walked around with my Canon strapped around my neck, I perceived suspicious eyes looking my way.
“Why,” I thought, “would orchid exhibitors be suspicious of a pet photographer?” I asked someone.
“They are not suspicious of your camera, they are suspicious of you. “
“Why would they be suspicious of me?”
“Pollen theft. They don’t know you, they think you might be here to steal the pollen.”
“People steal the pollen?!”
Apparently, they do. Pollen, particularly from prizewinning varieties, is particularly valuable to orchid aficionados. WHO KNEW?! I wondered aloud why then the exhibitors wouldn’t harvest the valued pollen themselves.
“Wilting. If you take the pollen, the orchid thinks that it has been pollinated and the flower wilts.” It seems most people realize that the pollen poachers will claim their prize, but the exhibitors still try to keep it from happening. And thus they cast a wary eye on outsiders like me.
“They need pollen police,” I said. Then, I remembered Koda, a member of the USDA Beagle Brigade that I met when I first arrived at the Windward Orchid Show. “Koda can probably sniff out pollen. He could check everyone for stolen pollen as they leave.”
Of course, Koda already has a job.
For you who have taken part in my photo shoots, whether as a model, wrangler or prop provider, you know how much effort goes into each and every session to come up with a fabulous end result. Yes, I said FABULOUS. OK, so I’m a bit biased, but I’m really proud of what I do and your pets are such fabulous subject matters.
Speaking of FABULOUS, I need to give a shout out to a great local company named “Lei Woof.” I LOVE THIS COMPANY. Why? For starters, they make great products. “Lei Woof” specializes in popular, handmade, Hawaiian leis for dogs and cats. Their products are wonderfully made and come beautifully packaged. “Lei Woof” even creates human leis that match the animal leis… Mango and I can be twinsers!
Krystal Narusaki, who is the brains behind the “Lei Woof,” goes above and beyond. She rushed a set of her Christmas leis to me so I could include them in a holiday shoot (look for that image in an upcoming calendar).
The love that made these leis was apparent from the moment I opened the package. Soprano my dog model found the leis to be quite comfortable. He gave them two paws up and so do I!
Check out Lei woof’s website if you get a chance at http://www.leiwoof.com
You won’t be disappointed.
Are you a cat fancier? I am, but I would more likely call myself a cat lover. There is, however, no cat lover’s association.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association (or CFA) was founded in 1906. In that year, they licensed their first two cat shows in Detroit and Buffalo. Today, there are over 600 member clubs, including one here on Oahu.
Until January of 2012, I had very little idea of the CFA. I have two cats… two rescues, but they hardly qualify us for the Cat Fanciers’ Association. Then, a Cat Fancier, Ken Cribbs, contacted me. His Mr. Peabody, a Siamese, had been chosen as a Iams Ambassador Cat. Mr. Peabody needed photos.
The CFA called Ken in November to inform him that Mr. Peabody had been selected to be one of 15 Iams Ambassador Cats. Mr. Peabody is two years old, a seal point Siamese. He had won best kitten in Hawaii and best kitten in region. More recently, Mr. Peabody had won the Best Premier (fixed cat). Mostly though, Mr. Peabody is a friendly cat. That seems to be a prized characteristic among Ambassador Cats.
The CFA-Iams Ambassador Cat Program was launched in October, 2010. The CFA Ambassador Program is completely funded by the Iams Corporation and has been funded by Iams for the past three years.
The mission of the CFA-Iams Ambassador Cats is to attend shows during the the show season. For example, Mr. Peabody has attended not only cat events and most recently the 2012 Pet Expo. This is a huge commitment for these cats and their pet parents to CFA and the Ambassador Committee. The Ambassador cats have a show shelter for the CFA-Iams Ambassador Cat and a display area so the public will have the opportunity to sit and visit and pet the Ambassador Cat. Ken Cribbs and Mr. Peabody will no doubt represent the CFA and Hawaii very well.
I often save “pet stories” or “pet items” that I find interesting. Not long ago, “USA Weekend” published “Pet Peeves of dog experts” by Steve Dale. Intrigued, I considered the messages in his compilation. I included some observations as a Pet Parent and Pet Professional… mostly as a pet parent.
Accentuate the positive
Victoria Stilwell (trainer, host of It’s Me or the Dog on Animal Planet):
“We must stop dominance-based and punitive training methods. There’s no science there, and dogs don’t learn anything except to fear us. Positive training techniques work; not to mention they are more humane, enhancing the relationship with your dog instead of destroying it. If dogs are our best friends, they deserve our kindness and respect. I won’t rest until science-based positive training is the norm.”
Our Mango was ill treated in her “training.” While her treatment may be on the extreme, it is clear that the abuse was meant to train and not just meant to harm. Of course that does not excuse the bad human…
Let dogs help your doctor
Jennifer Arnold (author of In a Dog’s Heart, founder/CEO of Canine Assistants):
“Dogs have the extraordinary capacity to make our lives better in ways we couldn’t have imagined only a few decades ago, from detecting cancers to telling us when there’s a diabetic high or low.” [At Canine Assistants, dogs are trained to help people when an epileptic seizure occurs; about 90% of them learn on their own to predict seizures.] “Learning how dogs are able do these things can be lifesaving. What’s most extraordinary, dogs do seem to want to help us.”
I have always believed that all my pets, not just my dogs, sense when I am not feeling well. They have an extraordinary power to make me feel better, as well.
Stop that hurtful training
R.K. Anderson (89 year-old, legendary veterinary behaviorist, founder of first center for the human/animal bond at the University of Minnesota):
“There’s never an excuse to hurt a dog when you train a dog – that is my No. 1 message. No. 2: Force isn’t necessary to train; motivate dogs using treats or toys, or use clicker training. Message No. 3: In my lifetime we’ve learned much about the benefits of the human/animal bond-an area which we have far more to learn how mutually beneficial our relationship with dogs is.”
Again, this is not just a dog thing. We decided to teach our Magic, a cat, to walk on a leash. Besides the obvious challenge of finding a harness small enough for her, we had to teach her to wear it, and not be afraid of her humans tethered behind her. In my opinion, this training could never have been accomplished with a negative approach. As documented in a “Pet Hui” segment, Mango was a challenge for us, but ultimately, again with the positive, she has learned without the hurtful practices she suffered before we rescued her.
Love all dogs, not just yours
Andrea Arden (regular guest on the Today show, trainer, author of Barron’s Dog Training Bible):
“It drives me crazy: People say they love dogs – and they do love their dog – but what are they thinking? When people purchase from a pet store, don’t they realize they’re perpetuating puppy mills? Look at the bigger picture! Or in New York City, blue French Bulldogs are now a trend, selling for $8,000. OK, really? Do you know how many shelter dogs can be saved with that kind of money?”
Although I think that the Steve Dale’s heading, and Andrea Arden’s observations are not necessarily consistent, I also think that both points are good. Steve’s point is that as pet owners we should love all dogs, and not just our own. Andrea Arden is saying instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on a pure breed that will likely perpetuate a much larger problem, rescue a dog and donate the money that you would have spent. That is truly a 2-for-1.
Don’t buy a dog online
Kelly Gorman Dunbar (trainer, founder of dogstardaily.com):
“Part of the problem today is all the online buying – there isn’t a reputable breeder who makes a sale online. Sure, great breeders may have wonderful websites to promote their dogs – but they don’t sell them just like that online. Do homework. A lot more research goes into purchasing a new car, compared to buying a dog.”
I cannot imagine buying a dog or a cat on-line. And, I can’t imagine that a reputable, responsible breeder would SELL their dogs without knowing as much about the life that they were about to send their puppies or kitties into.
Give puppies lots of company
Ian Dunbar (pioneer trainer, author, founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers):
“Eight-week-old puppies go into homes unsocialized, leaving it all up to the new owners, who don’t have a chance. Without any socialization, dogs are permanently damaged, never able to reach their potential. All puppies should meet 100 people before they are 8 weeks and 100 more people between 8 and 12 weeks.”
Have fun with this one! Actually, had we had Mango as an eight-week-old, this would have been advice to follow. We started at the six-month mark, and that is a tough time to play catch up. Still, the advice holds true. The more Mango is around people and other dogs, the steadier her behavior has become.
After flying day and night for two days from Hawaii to LA to NYC, we arrived in Berlin. Knowing that we need to stay awake, to fight the temptation to put our head on a pillow, we took a short walk around our hotel.
Hollywood Award Season is coming, and so, movies have been arriving at our home. More than any other, that perk of my non-pet-photography life is awesome. We watched “The Help” last week, and tonight, we watched “Beginners.”
OK, so the movie starred Christopher Plummer, Ewan MacGregor, and Melanie Laurent, but Cosmo stole the show.
Cosmo, a Jack Russell terrier, plays Arthur, a Jack Russell. Talk about perfect casting. MY BALLOT DOES NOT INCLUDE HIM… so I may have to write him in.
Ewan MacGregor… a.k.a. Oliver… inherits Cosmo a.k.a. Arthur after Christopher Plummer’s character Hal… a.k.a. Oliver’s gay dad… dies. Arthur expressively communicates with the humans in the movie. The doggy subtitles were genius… I would definitely subtitle my pets, as well. Arthur’s expressions while subtitled would make a method actor blush with envy… truly, he was that good.
As to the movie itself, the actors were very strong, and their performances reflected that. The movie was… interesting… I wish I had known it was based on Mike Mills’ relationship woth is father before I watched. Still. Arthur made the movie for me.
On a 1-5 dog bone scale, I give Arthur… I mean Cosmo 5 dog bones, a big thumbs up.
“It’s 2003. Thirty-eight year old graphic artist Oliver Fields has just lost his father Hal Fields to cancer, after Oliver’s mother Georgia Fields passed away five years earlier. Oliver is naturally a sullen man due to his growing up relationship with his parents (his mother who had a unique view on life) and watching his parents’ cordial but somewhat distant relationship with each other, but is more so now because of his personal family loss. Oliver embarks on a relationship with Anna, a French actress. Oliver is hoping that his re-energized relationship with Hal following Georgia’s death and Hal’s new outlook on life during that time will show Oliver how to act in a loving relationship. After Georgia’s death, Hal came out of the closet and began to live with a joie de vivre that did not exist before, which included an open relationship with a much younger man named Andy. Oliver’s relationship with Anna has other obstacles, including Anna’s own vagabond lifestyle and Oliver needing to take care of who was originally Hal’s very needy Jack Russell terrier, Arthur.” Written by Huggo
Deb McGuire is the Hawaii Pet Photographer, but she is also a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Member… and mother to two cats and a dog. If she writes a movie, Deb will include cats and dogs. Her cats and dogs will also have subtitles, because no one will understand her pets without Deb’s help.
Hawaii’s best Pet Photographer, Deb McGuire, of Deb McGuire Pet Photographer, Inc, and HawaiiPetPhotos.com, has searched for Pet Friendly Parks without guidance. Now, a local realtor has developed a map of Pet Friendly Parks and Beaches.
Still, the pet parenting for dogs differs from pet parenting for cats. When Mango came to us, we had at least been photographing dogs and we knew the challenges of finding pet friendly venues. Now, when Maunawili’s unofficial Dog Park is not mowed (and may never be again), we have to find another pet friendly venue for Mango’s outing.
Recently, I received an e-mail from Neal Kido, Prudential Locations. He asked me to take a look at a feature on their Prudential site. I get a lot of solicitations, but Neal has been following me… I took a look. What the Prudential folks have produced is an article about Pet Friendly Neighborhoods and more importantly a map of “Oahu Dog Parks and Dog Friendly Beaches.” Much like the maps of the Oahu beaches that are available throughout the island, this is at least a start to point Oahu’s frustrated pet parents to pet friendly venues.
So, we need to take this product and build on it. I noticed that Hawaii Kai Dog Park, Mililani Dog Park, and Diamond Head Bark Park were not included. Also, several of our best trails are pet friendly. NOT CRITICIZING, I am applauding. Kudos to the folks at Prudential for recognizing a need and taking steps to answer the need. Keep adding to this map, PLEASE!
While the Humane Society marked the 21st Anniversary of the Hawaii Pet Walk, Mango participated in her first. An auspicious and somewhat serendipitous event, Mango enjoyed herself and managed her overwhelming enthusiasm in the process. Once again, hundreds of local pets and pet parents gathered in Magic Island to take advantage of the once a year amnesty in Ala Moana Park. As stated in previous blogs, the event is truly one of our favorites. The camaraderie among the pet parents is the key.
Conversations about what doggy shampoos gave another pet’s soft coat or a quick apology when a dog goes right when the pet parent was looking left or compliments for the cute pink outfit and lei that bedazzle a cute dog… the latter case being our Mango. More than a few read the shameless advertising I had stenciled on Mango’s puppy “T:” “I’m a top model Deb McGuire Pet Photography.” Shameless.
A Pet Walk succeeds if the people and pets enjoy themselves, and in so doing continue to support the charity that drives the event. The Hawaiian Humane Society takes great pride in making their Pet Walk super. The sponsors, the vendors, the volunteers, and the employees of the Hawaiian Humane Society take great care and make every effort to provide the ultimate pet experience to the pets and their pet parents.
Mango’s day was actually part of a Mango Weekend. Mango romped in the Hawaii Kai Dog Park on Saturday. Then, Mango followed us around as we did chores in and around the house. Tim and Mango closed out the late afternoon and early evening with a 3-mile run. This was to ensure that our canine fur ball was ready for the close encounter with several hundred new friends. Mango did awesome. We arrived before 6:30 and we were there for the entire event plus clean-up. We left around eleven. Tim and Mango walked the long course and probably an extra quarter mile as they were taking photos. To quote Tim: “Mango is tuckered.” She is sleeping in our courtyard.
Huge kudos to all those who purchased copies of my book, “Hawaii’s Pets: Photos of Our Animal ‘Ohana.” WE SOLD A BUNCH! Remember, a portion of the sale of each book goes to our Hawaiian Humane Society. Mutual Publishing (our publisher) deserves huge kudos for not only this charity but also for being a sponsor of this year’s Pet Walk.
The Usual Suspects
These events bring out a crowd of pet professionals that we have gotten to know through these events. It is always great to see them and to get their names out to the folks who follow our blog. Mary Long of Hawaii Pet Magazine brought her husband Toby, their son Robbie, and the Fall 2011 edition of “Hawaii Pet Magazine.” If you did not pick up a copy, be sure to do so. Ron Darby of the “Pet Hui” and Heather Manuel of “Tails of Hawaii” stopped by our booth. Mango and Tim stopped by Erin Gerwig’s Dogwalker Etc. booth for introductions. Mike McKenna of McKenna’s Windward Ford was stationed a couple booths away. Our new Ford Ranger from McKenna lost it’s Pet Show virginity today, as it carried the bulk of our exhibit to Magic Island.
I want to send out a shout to Chuck Little, an outstanding amateur photographer, sometime booth babe for yours truly, and full-time supporter and friend. Chuck came to help and brought his trusty Canon. He has hung a few of his shots on Facebook.
Deb McGuire Pet Photographer Alumni and Friends
From the beginning I have explained that Deb McGuire Pet Photographer, Inc. and HawaiiPetPhotos.com is about the pets. So, the best part of these Hawaii Pet Events is seeing old friends. So many of the pets I have photographed brought their pet parents to the Hawaii Pet Walk. Remy brought Tawnya (Tawnya watched Mango for a few minutes… Huge HELP!!). Remy is expecting!!! Sassy brought Eileen. Hokulani brought Norman and Deb. Richard accompanied his threesome, Watson, Cosmo and Pinny. Emma brought Gwen. Theresa accompanied Shamrock and Hoss. Mighty Mo brought John. Ernie and Kathy accompanied Shadow, Buddy, and Maika. Coco and Panini brought Erin. Gidget and Pogo who we have yet to photograph were there. Bugsy brought Dr. David.
Waimanalo Puppy Mill
We have to give a big hats off to Eileen. She has adopted one of the Puppy Mill Rescues. In fact, we met a few of them, today. 153 dogs were rescued. Some of those were pregnant. The result was 232 furry friends in need of homes. Because the number of dogs exceeded the capacity of our Hawaiian Humane Society, many were fostered out, and many of those foster parents elected to keep their new pets. Eileen says that the experience has changed her perspective. “I am telling my friends that they should never buy pets from a store. There are so many wonderful pets who need homes.”