Yup, my dogs pretty much run my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. I currently have three adorable Havanese: Jolie (12) who is also known as Miss Sassy Pants, Carmen (8) who is affectionately called "FC" for Freakishly Cute, and Noelle (7) who is my shadow and heart dog and literally is with me every second of the day.
I'm *grandma* to three additional dogs: Lilo, a former cruelty case pittie who is ball crazy and loves to swim in our pool; Stitch, a rottie-mix (also rescued) who talks and acts just like my two Rotties used to do; and Choco Taco, Noelle's brother, Jolie's son, and a retired AKC champion who has a lotta sass - probably because he's the only boy in the pack.
And, of course, there are professional portraits of everyone because, well, I LOVE them!
I've Written a Few Things about Dogs, Too
I don't just photograph dogs! I've had hundreds of articles on pretty much all aspects of dogs published as far back as 1990, and I've written 28 books. Several of these books have been training books, and almost all of them were dogcentric. My most recent title was awarded the top training book in the United States in 2018.
I like to think that maybe some of this training knowledge helps when my clients bring their puppers into the studio. I like to keep sessions as stress free and fun as possible for both the dog and owner.
I Trained the Top Hound and Whippet in Obedience...when I was 13
True story. And I used hot dogs to train my little Whippet (her name was Trinket and she was the love of my life) when no one else was using treats. We used them in the show ring, so I thought why not in the obedience ring. (I was a junior handler, too and showed my little Whippet in the breed ring.) Except using treats or any reward really was apparently a big no no and my 13-year-old self got yelled at by the training instructor. Fortunately, my mom stood up for me and the obedience school allowed me to use treats -- but only at home.
It sounds so crazy now, right? But the year was 1976 and using treats to shape behaviors was unheard of in the mainstream obedience schools. I was a trendsetter and didn't even know it.
I've Never Met a Dog I Didn't Like
Seriously, this is so true. I grew up with Whippets. After college I helped rescue and place retired Greyhounds. (And was owned by a couple of those, too...) A rescued Labbie in the middle. And then I experienced what it was like to live with Rottweilers and two of the most amazing dogs that have stolen my heart ever.
And now, my sweet Havanese and heart dog, my Noelle.
I'm Sorta New to Florida
Yup, I just moved here! I'm a Navy veteran -- former PAO -- and my husband is a retired Navy Supply Corps Officer (28 years, if you're counting... ) My son, who is in Naval Aviation, lives in JAX and had been trying to get me down here for years. No small feat when your mums has a successful studio (actually TWO studios -- I photograph people through Joan H Walker Portrait Artist studio -- www.joanhwalker.com).
But.... he did it! I mean, what is NOT to love about the First Coast??? I am so excited to be here and cannot wait to meet everyone.
I Would Love to Meet You and Your Dog!
The greatest part of what I do is meeting people and their pets and hearing their stories. I never tire of learning how you met your dog, seeing the tricks you've taught them, or laughing at the silly things they've done NOW. All of these things and more are why your dog is really the BEST dog in the world. (And I know it's true. Really, I do.) And I love finding out what you already know about your pupper.
If you want to read about my photography awards, you can see them all HERE. Or, if you'd like to see some recent articles in the newpaper about us, click HERE.
But if you'd like me to meet your doggo and have some fun, you can click HERE to get the ball rolling, or feel free to contact me anytime. (Well, preferably not in the middle of the night but you know... )
Oh! Oh! Oh! If you'd like to read about the studio's #BlackDogsInTutus project, click HERE. And if you know a rescue or shelter that could participate (It's Free!), please forward the link and form to them!
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