Posts Tagged ‘dog photos’

Carlin in the snow along the Payette River, Idaho, December 2018 — photo by Russ Dodd

Carlin is not a natural model like Cooper was. He doesn’t settle himself in front of a camera every time someone pulls one out, like Cooper did.

But Carlin isn’t shy, either. If a camera appears, he doesn’t hide.

He pretty much ignores the camera. And that means that there are quite a few pictures of Carlin, looking like his effortlessly handsome self.

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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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Tooey is gone to the Spa for Hot Girls. Trice is gone to a conference in Atlanta. What are the two left-behind boys to do?

Why, get their portrait done, of course!

Russ and Cooperphoto by Paul Thacker

Russ and Cooper
photo by Paul Thacker

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It is raining the proverbial cats and dogs today, so what a better way to spend a morning than inside, sharing your work with your spaniels.

Cooper knows the drill. He’s loved doing this for more than 5 years. As soon as lights are set, he strikes the pose and looks directly at the camera.

Ms. Tooey, the princess, does not want to be left out of anything that Cooper does, so she got up onto the bench and posed simply to prove a point.
The Princess

Side note from Patrice: Russ does people and dog portraits, and many other genres of photography, photo illustration, and image manipulation. Take a look on his website, Working Theory Studios.

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Trice is up in Seattle one more weekend to see the Tooey x Cork puppies as they head off to their new homes. Tooey was left back in Portland with just the boys – Me and the Coop.

They are not about to let me out of their sight, even if it is just a trip down the driveway to the trash cans. There was the off chance that I might have slipped out to go hunting without them. Not a chance.

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Weekend before last, Russ did a bunch of portrait photography. Our living room transformed into a studio — furniture pushed out of the way, and the space crowded with lights, diffusers, reflectors, backdrops, computers, cables, lenses, and cameras.

Cooper, Tooey, and I had been out. We were home earlier than expected, but that turned out great. Russ’s last subject of the day was just about ready to drive away (in his Mini Cooper!), and all the equipment was set up, so why not take a picture of the dogs?

Here’s one Russ did of Tooey, the beauty queen in charge. If she had her way, she’d be the cover girl on a magazine entitled Royalty.

Tooey, modeling for Russ

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The last time I wrote about Cooper’s grooming, I was very much enjoying his new short field cut. It was March, and I was looking forward to months of less debris and less grooming time. Not to mention improving Coop’s ability to see.

Well, now we’re getting ready for Cooper’s (probably) last conformation show in about 3 weeks. So we’ve been growing his coat out, with the idea of sculpting it back into dog-show condition.

It’s not sculpted yet though. Take a look:

For the show, we’ll probably clip his muzzle to get rid of the muttonchops. And we’ll shape the topknot. The ears, though, are the interesting issue. The ear fur seems to have grown a lot slower than the topknot fur, so it’s unlikely that they’ll be grown out to their full length to the show.

Which is OK. Part of me is sorely tempted to give him a modified field cut. He’s a hunting dog, after all, and I’d like people to see him in all his hunting-dog style. But I don’t know just yet.

And fortunately, I don’t have to decide right now.

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Good breeders make sure their dogs are healthy before breeding. With Irish Water Spaniels, breeders typically get the dog tested for healthy thyroid levels, hips, elbows, and eyes, usually done after the dog is 2 years old.

I am not a breeder, but Colleen, Tooey’s co-owner is. Tooey is 2-1/2 years old, and it’s 4 months after she last went into heat — perfect timing for hip x-rays. (Apparently, a bitch in season has relaxed hip joints to get her ready for the birth of puppies, making an x-ray at that time of less value for evaluating the soundness of the hip joints.) And she hasn’t had any vaccines since last year, making it a good time to test her thyroid levels.

So last weekend I loaded Tooey up and took her to the vet for her thyroid tests and hip and elbows x-rays. We decided to take her to the Steamboat Animal Hospital in Olympia, Washington — the same place we took Cooper for his x-rays.

Since I posted Cooper’s hip x-rays earlier on the blog, I thought I’d post one of Tooey’s elbow x-rays in this post.

canine elbow x-ray

The event ultimately went well, but parts were scary. First they took the blood to test her thyroid levels with. That went fine.

Then it was time for x-rays. To keep the dog perfectly still when the x-rays are taken, many vets (but not all, I discovered later) give a bit of mild anesthesia. That’s to prevent the dog from moving when the images are taken. Movement would blur the image, and the person reading the x-rays wouldn’t be able to tell if there is anything wrong with the joint or not. And the amount of anesthesia is determined by the dog’s weight. In Tooey’s case, unknown to everyone, she needs less anesthesia than most dogs of her weight.

But no one knew that, so I became very worried when they walked Tooey out to me. She could walk, albeit drunkenly, but when she stopped walking, her back legs collapsed underneath her. I told them to take her back immediately and find out what was wrong. No way was I going to take her the 2 hours home to Portland before I knew she was OK.

And about an hour later (a very l-o-n-g hour later), she was fine, just a little sleepy. She stayed that way for the whole day, but the next morning, she was rip-roaring around the house, chasing Cooper and jumping over the couch.

Three days later, I received the results of the thyroid tests — perfectly normal. She’s already had and passed her eye exam. And then today, I received a copy of the x-rays. Now we’re just waiting for the radiologists at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals to read and rate her hips and elbows. Let’s hope for Excellent or Good ratings. With that, and with her general health being good, she’ll be ready for breeding and puppies.

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Cooper as Art Director

Cooper is not a dog who wants to be left out of the action. Yesterday afternoon, I set up to photograph portraits of dogs that belong to some friends of ours. Always eager to participate, Cooper immediately ran to the center of the seamless studio background and struck up a pose. That allowed me to check focus, lighting, and exposure. Not only is he a great hunting dog, he is quite the photo assistant as well.

Today’s work involved editing yesterday’s photo shoot on the computer. Cooper couldn’t stand being left out of the action this time either. So he took up his normal office position of sitting on the side chair. But rather than dropping a ball in my work space as he has before (see the bottom photo of this post), he just moved right in. To put this in scale, Cooper weighs in at 65 pounds.

But heck, he knows what he likes. The photo of the cute female Irish Water Spaniel must have gotten his attention.

65 pound desk accessory

And Cooper’s first pick from yesterday’s photo shoot:

Mowgli, Cameo, and Gosling

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It has been a dry couple of months for Cooper, with only land training since duck season closed at the end of January. Finally, temperatures are getting above 50 (it was in the 20s just 10 days ago), so it is suitable for water training.

Today, Cooper was looking photogenic in the sun and pretty proud of himself with a duck. So I made yet another photo of my boy.

Water training is really important, even when the dog has a solid retrieve on land. Dogs don’t generalize well, so just because he knows how to do something in one environment, doesn’t mean he’ll know to do the same thing in another environment.

For water retrieves, the dog has to be willing to jump into the water (even when cold or slimy), retrieve the duck, and swim back to the handler with it. Cooper has had water work before, so the basic concept is not completely new to him.

Tooey’s a different story. She loves the water and loves to swim, but she hasn’t had the discipline of having to go out into the water, retrieve, and come back consistently.

So in just a couple of days she’s going off to California (where it’s sunny and warm) with Butch to do some daily water work. All this in preparation for her first hunt test in just under a month.

We will miss seeing our girl every weekend, but it’ll be good experience for her.

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To celebrate Cooper and his littermates 4th birthday on February 14, I asked the owners of Cooper’s littermates to send me a recent head and shoulders shot of their pup. I am very lucky — I now have pictures of all 10 pups that were in that litter.

Here are the ones I have, in alphabetical order:

Cooper, photo by Patrice Dodd


Darcy, photo by Louise Bailey



Mowgli, photo by Becca Graham


Tiki, photo by Steve Riseman

Tosca, photo © Pepi Barrington

Ziggy Stardust

Here are some things I know (and if anyone has any corrections, please let me know):

  • Two of the pups, Cosmo and Phoebe, are new to me. What a thrill to see them at last.
  • Four of them, Cooper, Gunner, Tiki, and Ziggy Stardust, have American hunting titles. Tiki is the first Irish Water Spaniel to earn a HRCH hunting title from the Hunting Retriever Club. I think Darcy and Tosca may have English and/or European hunting titles. Mowgli has had hunt test training, too.
  • Five of them have working certificates: Cooper, Gunner, Tiki, and Ziggy have AKC WCs and Tosca has won three working tests in England.
  • Three of them, Cooper, Darcy, and Tosca, actually hunt. Tosca regularly works picking up birds on shoots. And Mowgli’s been on a hunting trip, too.
  • Three of them, Cooper, Maggie, and Mowgli, have show championships. And Tiki has been in the show ring also.
  • Two of them, Cooper and Mowgli, have obedience titles: Mowgli in Obedience and Rally, Cooper in Rally. Maggie has shown in Rally also.
  • Two of them, Darcy and Tosca, live in England. Gunner lives in Canada. The rest live in the US.
  • Two of them, Mowgli and Phoebe, have a “leprechaun’s kiss” (i.e. the cowlick on the muzzle).
  • The picture of Ziggy was actually taken on his 3rd birthday, but I loved the hat!
  • All of them are beautiful.
  • All of them are beloved companions.

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If you have followed this blog for a while, you probably have seen quite a few examples of Cooper’s willingness to accommodate my photographic whims by sitting and posing for the camera or canvas. Once more he has lent his visage for this illustration.

One of my day jobs is teaching at the Art Institute of Portland. When I develop my lesson plans and projects for my students, I often dip into my archives of personal and commercial images as source material to explore ideas for future assignments.

For next week’s Digital Image Illustration class, we’re going to practice photo-composing disparate elements from two or more photos, so I needed to build an example to show my class of photo students.

One of the shots from a recent photo shoot with Cooper provided one element. A photo of Mt. Rushmore provided the other.

So I am actually getting paid to make cute pictures of my pet dog. How good is that!

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This week, Cooper has been getting ready for his 3rd appearance at the Rose City Classic dog show here in Portland, Oregon. He is one win away from his AKC Championship, providing that his final win is a major competition.

So several times this week, he has been going from field training in the driving rain and mud, to the dog wash and grooming station. In order to document his clean coat and show cut, I took him into the studio for a portrait session. Afterward, of course, we stopped off for another training session on the way home and one more bath before he hits the ring tomorrow.

He is such a good dog to work with as a model, I thought that I would set up a small video camera and just record a typical photo shoot with the Coop.

Here is a sample of one of the photos that Cooper and I made together (we are a team).

If he wins a major this weekend, then this coat will get trimmed way down so he can just be a hunting dog. If this actually happens, Patrice will be making a significant blog post, as it has been over 3 years of going to dog shows, gradually accumulating enough points for this final milestone.

And if he doesn’t pull it off this weekend, then the coat stays and we look for some more dog shows — majors only. Stay tuned.

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Cooper and Russ

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Wendy Tisdall, of Coastalight Flatcoated Retrievers, has graciously let me use several great pictures that she took of Cooper at last weekend’s WC/WCX. These are four that she took during the water series of Cooper’s WC work.

I love how Wendy captured Cooper’s determined expression and the movement of the water. If anyone had any doubt about what Cooper loves best, all they have to do is look at his face in these pictures, and the way he completely immerses himself in the water and in his work.

photo by Wendy Tisdall

photo by Wendy Tisdall

photo by Wendy Tisdall

photo by Wendy Tisdall

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