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Archive for the ‘dog art and photos’ Category

The center of the universe last Sunday was a local Idaho state park. Carlin and his retriever training buddies use it regularly to train, alongside the walkers, trackers, disc golfers, horse riders, drone fliers, hay mowers, metal detectors, and other folks.

It’s a busy place, but on this weekend morning, Russ was able to capture a panorama of the field that made it look empty. Except for Carlin, who like all of us, is in the center of his own universe.

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Tooey has long reigned supreme at the center of the universe, and finally now we have documented proof.

photo illustration by Russ Dodd

Of course, Russ did help reality along a bit with some creative photography and photoshop wizardry, but we won’t tell.

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What is not to like about a blog put together by someone who is passionate about:

  • Hunting dogs
  • Hunting dog photography
  • Teaching photography

And someone who is an expert in their passion and is very competent at explaining and sharing their knowledge, photos, and insights.

(I know, another great dog blog besides The Cooper Project)

Craig Koshyk is a Canadian photographer, educator, author, and probably the world’s foremost expert on pointing dogs. In addition to authoring an amazing reference book on Pointing Dogs, Craig also maintains a blog on the topic that is eye candy for those who can’t get enough about gun dogs.

Craig Koshyk with one of his remarkable Weimaraners

Craig Koshyk with one of his Weimaraners

Check out this remarkable blog: Pointing Dog Blog

Craig has hunted and photographed over more breeds of dogs than I even knew existed (before I read his book). Every page reveals information about the real world hunting abilities of dozens of breeds. Warning: if you have dog hoarding tendencies, Do Not Read this book.

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I have recently had an email dialog with Craig about the hunting style of Irish Water Spaniels. He has been researching the origins of the Pont-Audemer Spaniel, which may have some IWS in its DNA. He noticed a video of Tooey doing her hesitation flush while pursuing pheasants and was curious about that specific tendency. Hopefully, next hunting season, we can venture to Manitoba with Tooey and Carlin, and let Craig hunt over yet one more breed of dog. Tooey would love to add another Canadian Provence to her bucket list as well.

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Happy 7th Birthday, Tooey!

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Tooey at 7

Today Tooey turns 7 years old. As you can see, she is still her beautiful self, still scanning tree branches for squirrels, still living enjoying her life with a quiet zest.

It’s been a relatively quiet year for Tooey. She’s no longer competing in any obedience, hunting, or conformation activities (although we may get that last Barn Hunt leg next year and possibly I may show her in the Veterans class at the next Specialty), so the training she does is in the living room, just for fun.

Tooey spent many days in the car and motel rooms traveling this year — Montana for hunting training and hunting, southern California to accompany Carlin to his hunt test, Colorado for a visit to family and day of hunting. She’s a very good traveler. Her only request is to go swimming whenever we’re near a river or pond. That was totally doable on day trips to the Willamette River or the Pacific ocean, in the Missouri and Marias Rivers on the trip to Montana, and in the ponds in southern California. But it’s not so fine when the Colorado River is many yards down a steep bank and behind a fence.

Tooey and Trice

She’s still our best hunter, finding birds in the field with no help from us and retrieving to hand the ones we bring down. She got birds in Montana this year, adding a new state to her list (California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, plus British Columbia). And along those lines, since she’s ever the beautiful photo model, another photo of Tooey (and Cooper) was published in December, just after her last birthday. The photo accompanied an article written by Russ (and translated into German) about hunting with spaniels in North America.

First page in the article about hunting with spaniels in North America

First page in the article about hunting with spaniels in North America

For 5 minutes every morning, before I get out of bed, we cuddle, her lying on my chest licking my face, me trying to breathe and stroking her head. She loves her daily walks and trips to the park, which for her are mostly sniffing and critter-finding expeditions — I mean, why rush? Mostly her day is spent keeping Carlin in line and playing with him when she feels like it (which is not that often now that he’s bigger and stronger).

It’s also been a tough year for Tooey. She lost Cooper, a constant source of adoration and the friend who loved her more than anything (except possibly the opportunity to retrieve). She was sad about that for many weeks. And she had surgery to removed a mammary gland for a biopsy of what we were afraid was cancer. (It wasn’t.)

But even so, life is good, and we’re looking forward to many more happy years with Tooey.

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What a pleasure to discover that the AKC used a photo of Cooper, taken by Russ, to illustrate an article re-published on the AKC website on June 25, 2015. (The original article was published without photos in the July 2014 AKC Gazette.)

They used a cropped version of the photo in the header of the web page, and the full photo farther down in the article. If the link doesn’t work, you can click the image to visit a PDF of the article.

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Russ had taken that shot, plus others that I personally like better, back in 2011. He had just made some portraits of Tammy’s three dogs: Mowlgi (Cooper’s litter brother), Cameo, and Gosling*, and was editing those photos.

Cooper obviously felt that his input was needed. He loved the camera, and I guess that extended to the computer from time to time.

So, in a way, Russ had actually taken Cooper to work that day. Or maybe it was Cooper who invited Russ to work with him. Either way, they made a team.

In a way, I guess, they still do — virtually — through the magic of publishing.

* The three dogs:

  • Mowgli — CH Realta’s Bear Necessesities of Yo-Yo CD RE JH JHU CGC WD
  • Cameo — Yo-Yo’s Cameo Moment CD RA CGC
  • Gosling — Yo-Yo’s Not What You Think RN

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This blog was started more than 8 years ago (2007), when Cooper entered our lives. For whatever reason, we decided to document his life from the beginning, without any idea as to where it would take us. Little did we know. For two adults, well set in our ways, this dog proved to be the pivot point of lives. Our activities, our friends, and our future all changed in the Spring of 2007 when Cooper joined our family.

I am a photographer by trade. And Patrice is a professional writer/editor. Together, we started the Cooper Project with our own aesthetics and interests. There are nearly 800 posts in this blog, and over 1600 photos so far. And there will be many more.

Here are a few of the portraits of our boy from the beginning, both in studio and the field.

7 weeks (April, 2007)

7 weeks (April, 2007)

14 weeks

14 weeks

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Young Dog with Toy Duck, Oct., 2007

March, 2008

March, 2008

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January 1, 2009

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May 17, 2009

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August 21, 2009

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May 29, 2010

A satisfied Cooper with a dry topknot

A satisfied Cooper with a dry topknot

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Cooper as trading card

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Realta Rosario Cooper on his 5th Birthday

Realta Rosario Cooper on his 5th Birthday

Ch Realta Rosario Cooper CD RN SH JHU

Ch Realta Rosario Cooper CD RN SH JHU

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January, 2014

January, 2014

July 2014

July 2014

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June 17, 2015

Cooper's final portrait

Cooper’s final portrait

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On April 6th, 2007, this little guy came to join us in Portland, Oregon.

This look into the camera was an indicator of things to come.

The mighty Coop goes eye to eye with a camera

The mighty Coop goes eye to eye with a camera

8 years later, he still knows what to do when the camera comes out.

Patrice, Cooper, & Russ

Patrice, Cooper, & Russ

Photographer’s secret: how to get your pup to stare into the lens. “Where’s your duck?”

Cooper knows where his duck is at all times

Cooper knows where his duck is at all times

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One of the delightful aspects of both working with dogs and dog people and being a photographer is that I get to share my combined interests in many ways. After an article that I wrote and photographed was published last winter in the German magazine, Der JagdSpaniel, it was read by an Italian spaniel enthusiast. Elaine just happens to be the secretary of the Italian Spaniel Club, and she was looking for some photographs of an Irish Water Spaniel.

As we all know, this is a rare breed, but they may actually be non-existent in Italy, and there is a subsequent shortage of IWS images to choose from. Elaine was hoping I could supply a photograph for their club booth at the 2015 World Dog Show in Milan (June 10-14, 2015). So I sent her a variety to choose from: images of our 3 dogs, plus a number of our friends’ dogs here in the Pacific Northwest.

Now, if I were to guess which image they would choose, my money would be on Ms. Tooey. She has graced the center spread of Gun Dog Magazine, had her portrait in Ducks Unlimited Magazine, and appeared on the title page of the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America’s book Irish Water Spaniels in Art. (Yes, I am her stage mom.) She is quite strikingly photogenic and makes the breed proud with her visage.

But no. They liked a puppy portrait of Mr. Carlin that I made when he was just 21 weeks old.

Carlin at age 5 months

Carlin at age 5 months

Well, I guess if you are going to enter the family business of being a model for Russ, debuting in Milan is a good start.

Club Italiano Spaniel booth, World Dog Show, Milan, 2015

Club Italiano Spaniel booth, World Dog Show, Milan, 2015
photo by Elaine Narduzzo

The family tradition continues . . . .

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Digging into the archives, I had an image of Cooper that was produced as a lesson for my digital illustration students that I thought I would re-post* today, President’s Day, 2015.

It was the combination of a studio portrait* I made of our top dog way back in 2011 and some digital manipulation.

Cooper, enjoying the view from Mt. Rushmore on President's Day

Cooper, enjoying the view from Mt. Rushmore on President’s Day

I compiled a video clip of the studio shoot and the computer work which is typical of my day job, but this is with a subject that I really like.

*Originally posted here: Cooper: Carved in Stone and Portrait Session with Cooper

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Our Irish Water Spaniel connections and friends are diverse and spread around the globe. Tooey is from England, but her puppies have moved on to all over the USA, plus Canada and Australia, with new friends in each country as a result.

From a subset of IWS aficionados, those who hunt with their pups, one I have been frequently emailing is Dagmar Lukas in Germany. As she is an avid hunter with her curly brown dogs, we have been comparing notes about hunting with IWS in our different geographies. Local culture, game laws, public and private land use, and firearms laws, all color how each country defines and regulates hunting. Our conversation prompted Dagmar to ask me to write an article for a German magazine about my particular approach to training and hunting with my dogs in North America, and specifically in the West.

This article was featured in the magazine, Der Jagdspaniel published by the Jagdspaniel Klub. Fortunately, Dagmar could do the translation from English to German and so I was able to provide my manuscript in English and the photographs. The only local term that did not have a corresponding word in German was “sagebrush”, but she figured out that it was “Steppe aus Beifußbüschen”.

And once again, I am delighted to see my two dogs in print. This is the fourth time for Tooey, most recently with the December issue of Ducks Unlimited.

First page in the article about hunting with spaniels in North America

Cooper and Tooey on the first page of the article about hunting with spaniels in North America

For those of you who want to see the entire article and all the photos, here is a link to down load the PDF that Dagmar supplied. Irish-Water-Spaniels-in-Nordamerika (note: The article is in German but the photos are universal.)

If you want to read the English version, here is a link to a PDF of the manuscript with no photos. Hunting Spaniels in North America

Dagmar maintains a great website for her group of dogs, and with stunning photographs. See her website here.

I can’t say enough about how delighted I am to have met so many amazing people through the world of dogs, especially Irish Water Spaniels, and even more so, the ones that hunt with their dogs. On the 5th page of the PDF, in the lower left hand corner is a photo of Rod Peterson hunting with Rio and Kasen. Rod and Renae Peterson, well-respected IWS folks in the US, have been great mentors. They also gave Tooey her first home in North America, before she made her way to Oregon. (Tooey is quite fond of Rod and Renae for good reasons.)

Also shown in the article are photos of duck-hunting partner Matt Johnson, Scarlett the Boykin Spaniel (Norm Koshkarian’s), Kent Koshkarian hunting with Tooey in Kansas, Patrice hunting with Cooper in Oregon, and other assorted IWS.

As soon as the planets align correctly, I hope to go hunting in Germany with Dagmar and her Lockenköppe pups. You can’t have enough good dog friends.

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While Ms. Tooey and I were on our road trip to Kansas for our 2014 pheasant quest, I received an email from the waterfowl conservation group, Ducks Unlimited. They were looking for a representative photograph of an Irish Water Spaniel to illustrate an article on waterfowl retrievers.

Normally, I would have access to thousands of images of IWS retrieving waterfowl, but I was sitting in a Motel 6 in Utah with only my laptop and limited bandwidth.

However, I had been making some images during our hunting trip, and so I forwarded a few from earlier in the week when Tooey and I were chasing roosters in Kansas. The photo editor for the Ducks Unlimited magazine replied that he could use one for the November/December issue of their magazine.

November - December issue of Ducks Unlimited

November – December issue of Ducks Unlimited

The photo appears in a little time-line history of retrievers.

Tooey, as published on page 54

Tooey, as published on page 54

It was cropped from one of the photos of Tooey scanning the horizon of western Kansas, looking for more pheasants to flush and retrieve.

Ms. Tooey, my most accomplished bird dog

Ms. Tooey, my most accomplished bird dog

Tooey has retrieved her share of ducks, and she really excels at flushing, marking, and retrieving pheasants. It pleases me again that Tooey is such a versatile and all-round Irish Water Spaniel.

 

Note from Patrice:

There are folks out there who will argue that the photo Russ sent to Ducks Unlimited is not representative of Irish Water Spaniels because Tooey’s topknot, a characteristic of the breed, is clipped short. When you look at many breeders’ websites or even the AKC website, you’ll see IWS with long, luxurious topknots and ears.

Tooey with both duck and traditional topknot

But in my experience, long topknots are just burr, bramble, and debris collectors. In fact, on several hunting trips, both Cooper and Tooey came back from a retrieve with their ears velcroed to their topknots by burrs and other sticky, brambly plants. So while they were still being shown in the conformation ring, we tied their topknots back.

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Now we just clip them short.

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Tooey was hot. She’s going through a false pregnancy, it’s hot this summer in Portland, and she wanted the show coat off. IWSCOPS Specialty (coming up in late August) be damned. Get the coat off, please, and get it off now.

But you’re so beautiful with your long show coat, I thought.

Get the coat off now, she panted. I’m hot.

Okay, okay. I’ll clip you down, but first we have to have a portait, captured specially by Russ.

So this past Friday night, Russ captured this photo of the girl. It was tough because it was hot and humid, even in the cool of the evening, and especially even more hot under the studio lights. So for many of the shots, she was panting, her tongue was lolling out, dripping saliva. Just looking at her made us all hot.

But finally, we got a good one of our beautiful girl, her last time in a long show coat.

Tooey, 5-1/2 years

Tooey, 5-1/2 years

Then, of course, Cooper, our camera hound, had to get into the action. He’s pretty easy to take pictures of — he loves the camera and will sit for quite a while during a shoot. Lights, cameras, all part of the action.

Cooper, 7-1/2 years

Cooper, 7-1/2 years

This whole time, Carlin had been hanging out, wondering about all this stuff that suddenly appeared in the living room — lights, reflectors, cables going everywhere, sandbags — all kinds of new things. So we thought we should give him the opportunity to practice sit-stay in a new location with a whole bunch of new distractions.

It took longer to get his portrait because, unlike Cooper and Tooey, he doesn’t have this camera thing down, his sit-stay is shaky, and he doesn’t appear to enjoy being photographed just for it’s own sake like Cooper does. But finally, we got this of happy Carlin Baby.

Carlin, 21 weeks

Carlin, 21 weeks

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Cooper is dog with tenacious drive mixed with the perpetual motion of a compulsive retriever. But he will always sit calmly in front of my camera and pose with the sparkling demeanor of a show dog at Westminster. It is one of his many charming virtues.

So once again I asked the boy to step in front of the lights for a few shots. But before he jumped up on the table, he snagged his photo buddy, a.k.a. “Rubber Duck”. The duck has been his companion since August of 2007 when he was awarded it as a participant in a Bird Dog Match as a 6-month-old adolescent. (This specific duck is actually the second generation duck, thanks to Ms Tooey.)

Cooper and dear duck friend

Cooper and dear duck friend

Now Ms Tooey doesn’t like to left out of anything. It doesn’t matter if Cooper has to go to the vet, she wants to go first. It is her nature as HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge). And so when Cooper stepped down, Tooey jumped up to stare into lens as well. If Cooper gets this much attention, she wants more.

Ms Tooey

Ms Tooey

The reason for the photo event was quite benign. I was testing a new camera and wanted have some familiar subjects to compare to photos taken with other equipment I use. As both pups had just finished getting a bath and some grooming for the recent dog here in Portland, this shoot was the convergence of having the studio set up and two clean dogs.

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If one is in need of fun, and the day is sunny and warm, and you live near the west coast, and it’s a Monday off work, and you have a Favorite Photographer and a couple of Water-loving Spaniels who love to go along, where better to go play than the beach?

Just make sure you have a camera and toy to take along!

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Now that Tooey’s puppies are in their new homes and she is getting back into her daily routine of being a superb companion animal, I thought that I would share a few images of Tooey from this last week.

Autumn weather came right on schedule to the Pacific Northwest. Not only does that mean rain, wind, sun, cooler temperatures, but it also means that bird hunting season is around the corner.

Basking in the cool showers in her back yard as only an IWS can enjoy.

Basking in the cool showers in her back yard as only an IWS can enjoy.

I have several hunting-related art projects underway that require having the right props to work from. Ms. Tooey is both helpful and critical of my endeavors.

Tooey confirms that this is indeed a rooster pheasant flying through the dining room

Tooey confirms that this is indeed a rooster pheasant flying through the dining room

Before I made delivery on a couple of retro-style metal signs with dog portraits (Boykins in this case), Tooey confirmed that these met her standards. I have ascertained that her look implies that my next series must include and Irish Water Spaniel.

"Say, that looks just like Scarlett" - Tooey has a good eye detail

“Say, that looks just like Scarlett” – Tooey has a good eye detail

Tooey has another weekend of AKC Obedience trial scheduled in a couple of weeks, and that coincides with the opening of the upland bird hunting season in Oregon. So as soon as she leaves the ring (with or without a title) we will be heading to the field for pheasants, chukar, and maybe quail.

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