An Afternoon with the Owner of Lifestory Edinburgh, Susan Doherty, and her Thinking Dog Rufus
He’s got strong beard game and a look in his eye as if he’s trying to figure you out by staring deep into your soul. I passed the initiation process and was accepted by Rufus into his stunning home. Like most Mini Schnauzers, he’s confident, inquisitive and very much in charge. I had the pleasure of photographing him at his Portobello beach home, together with Susan, the owner of Lifestory which is one of Edinburgh’s gems and best Scandi homewares shops. As you can imagine, Susan’s home, which she shares with her other half Tom (and Rufus of course), is tastefully minimal, with the odd statement treasure. This calm, bright and well-designed space is Rufus’ happy place.
We begin our shoot playing, and Rufus excitedly leads me out onto the patio. It’s a space that continues effortlessly out of the bifold doors as if the living room was spilling outside. It’s a shade of Rufus grey, and as he guards his favourite grey and orange soft toys, I realise how perfectly the three of them camouflage into their surroundings. In and out. In and out. We repeat this motion while we play. Eight year old Rufus bucks up and down at the possibility of me stealing his toys but knows full well that he won’t be defeated. Susan tells me about his routine and his very important garden guarding duties.
With all that excitement, it’s not long before Rufus is slowing down and he has a cuddle break with Susan. I’m told he’s a bit of a comfort fiend, spending 90% of his day lazing around the house, moving from the floor, to the couch, to the bed, even rearranging cushions and pillows for the ultimate napping spot.
It’s while Rufus is sitting on Susan’s knee that I notice how full of expression he is. He’s so still, with his fluffy brows accentuating a look of intrigue in his piercing eyes. It’s a cautious look but at the same time one that tells me he’s really chuffed to be having his photo taken. Susan calls him her thinking dog, and I can’t think of a more suited name for him. It seems this pair have a pretty tight bond and Rufus has a good way of communicating with his mum.
While shooting, I notice Rufus keeps motioning a very sophisticated shake a paw. Susan tells me more about this sweet little gesture.
It seems Rufus is quite food motivated and if you’ve got a treat, you’ve got a fast track to his heart. There was a particular moment when Rufus was a puppy, where his appetite got the better of him …
As we near the end of the shoot we head back outside to catch the last stream of light before the sun goes down. Unlike before, Rufus is still, sitting in his favourite spot while observing his garden.
Susan scoops Rufus up for one last cuddle. But now with the advantage of height, he spots his pigeon rival in the neighbouring trees. Again I see Rufus’ charming little personality as he remains on standby in case the pigeon dares to trespass. The sun eventually dips behind the house, turning Rufus’ grey garden, golden. The pigeon is cooing and the seagulls of Portobello beach are squarking in the distance. It’s a very calm and serene space. And from the look on Rufus’ face, i’m pretty sure he knows he’s one lucky little dog.
If you’re interested in having some forever photos of you and your little pal, and your story featured on the Pet Stories blog, get in touch or visit the packages page.
For more info on Susan’s lovely shop, visit the Lifestory website.