pet stories
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Stories

A space to share the photoshoots of Pet Stories in both words and pictures

A walk Around Golden Acre Park and the Canal With Co-editor of Nrth Lass, Jess, and her Little Gal Pal, Cassie

 
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Every once in a while, I’ll have a shoot that is just effortlessly easy. It’s like the dog I’m photographing knows exactly what to do - how to pose, where to sit and how to get those puppy dog eyes on point.

That’s what it was like when photographing 9 year old sassy Cassie - a Maltese, Bichon and Shitzu cross (or in Jess’ words, dolly mixture) who knew exactly how to work the camera. She had two shoots; one at her favourite place Golden Acre Park and the other down at Rodley Canal just as the sun was setting. I followed Cassie together with her owner Jess, the co-editor of one of my favourite magazines Nrth Lass, and got some girl-power shots for the pair to cherish forever.

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We start our shoot just strolling through Golden Acre Park, letting Cassie sniff it out and have some me time. She knows this place well and has been coming here since she was a pup. In-fact it was the first place that she was let off the lead, so it’s quite a sentimental place. I can tell right away that she knows her way around and she’s got a particular little sniffing route. With just little legs, she lags behind me and Jess. Jess calls her, but she won’t be rushed. She approaches us at her own pace, almost strutting over. It’s then that I realise how much of a character little Cassie is and her strut is actually one of Jess’ favourite traits about Cassie.

When we picked a very tiny Cassie up at seven weeks old, she strutted into the house like she owned the place. She never once acted like she missed her mum or her brother – it was like she’d been waiting for us.
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In actual fact it’s Cassie that leads us to some top photo spots. She sniffs them out and then revels in posing for the camera.

I think it’s probably the one place she feels most comfortable to explore because she’s so familiar with it. If we’re visiting a new place, she’ll be quite hesitant when she comes off the lead but at Golden Acre, she’ll happily walk around the lake, or charge across the top meadow, or sit by our feet at the café. I think it’s her happy place.
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As we reach the water, Cassie spots some of the interesting looking breeds of duck having a paddle. You can see a cheeky look in her eye, contemplating whether to dart towards them. She’s not daft, Jess tells me more about her cheeky personality.

If she doesn’t want to do something, she’ll put her paw down and refuse. One of her favourite feats is grabbing my parents’ reading glasses when they’ve left the room – she knows she’ll get a treat for giving them back so throws them at the nearest person before running off to the kitchen for a treat. She has absolutely no shame.
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After a lap around the park, our first shoot comes to a natural end and we snap what later becomes my favourite frame of the day, of the pair taking shelter from the rain in the pavilion.

She’s both unaffectionate and completely lovable at the same time: while she won’t sit on your knee or let you stroke her for any amount of time, she can’t bear to have her family be out of sight. If you’re sat with her, she has to have some part of herself resting on you, just to know you’re close.
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Over the course of both shoots, I get to hear all of the alternative names for Cassie and I also discover that they all have a reasoning behind them which I love. (My personal favourite has to be Cassandra Howell) …

Pudding, Porkypine (when she had thyroid issues, she got a little chunky!), Little Onion (honestly, I’m not sure where that came from), Munchkin, Cassandra Howell (when she’s being particularly cheeky).

For our second half of the shoot, we meet down at Rodley canal just in time for the sunset. This is actually an unfamiliar spot for Cassie but just like in the park, she explores at her own pace. And when she lags behind, distracted by all of the new canal smells, it’s a joy to see her run up the towpath catching us up. I notice that her ears bounce up and down as she trots along, it’s as if she’s just been pampered and she’s showing off her little bob cut hair do. It’s the sweetest.

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I feel like we haven’t stopped laughing since the moment we brought her home!
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I didn’t anticipate the bond that could develop and how much time I’d actually want to spend with her. For the first year, we didn’t do anything on an evening other than play and watch Cassie; she’s such a character, you can’t help but follow her every move.
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As the true diva that she is, Cassie absolutely loves being the centre of attention. More cuddles, and more close-ups as Cassie works her magic in that late Spring light. Golden hour disappears and so we make our way back along the canal to the car, and of course Cassie never breaks character. She’s a true professional.

If you would like special photos of your dog on their favourite walk, get in touch or visit the packages page for more info. Just like Jess and Cassie, you can split your shoot across multiple locations.