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Tips to choose the right rescued dog for your family.

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Tips to choose the right rescued dog for your family.

Last week we saw what to look for when going to a breeder to get your pure breed dog. But what should you look at when looking to adopt one?
In this week’s article I want to share with you some key things to bear in mind when visiting shelters in order to find the right dog for you and your family.


1. Research the breed

Do your homework, learn more about breeds and make a self assessment to decide if you can commit to give the dog the attention it needs.

Determine if your life can fit the exercise, grooming and size requirements of the breed. Beagles, for example are low maintenance when it comes to housing and grooming them but they require plenty of exercise and attention. On the opposite pole, the Old English Sheepdog enjoys long naps and slow walks, but the shaggy coat require daily grooming.

If you have small children in your family you should consider a children friendly dog; breeds like Boxers and Newfoundland behave like genuine babysitters and are safe around children despite their size.

Source: Google Images.  English Sheepdog.

Source: Google Images. 
English Sheepdog.


2. A puppy or an adult?

Your lifestyle and household background should be taken in account when making this decision. A puppy is time consuming, as it needs to be housetrained and socialized. But, on the bright side they are easy to integrate in the family. Older dogs are likely to have some basic training, but they also can have some bad traits and difficulties when getting socialized.

You must supervise the children interaction with the new dog, regardless of the dog’s age.

French Bulldog puppy in the beach.

French Bulldog puppy in the beach.


3. Dog’s background

When visiting the shelter, spend some time and talk with the volunteers, they can give you valuable information about the dog’s personality and preferences. Find out as much as you can about the past of the dog. Was it rescued, abandoned or abused? Depending on each circumstance, you will get an idea of how much work it will require to socialize it and earn its trust.

Velcro is a rescued dog from Stockton City of Animals. 

Velcro is a rescued dog from Stockton City of Animals. 


4. The dog’s apperance

The coat should be shiny, the skin shouldn’t have any scales or lumps. The eyes and nose should be clean of secretions and crusts. If you notice any changes, those might be signs of disease, so don’t forget to discuss the medical history with the volunteers or with your vet.

Adoptable young dog from Stockton City of Animals.

Adoptable young dog from Stockton City of Animals.


5. The sorroundings

Take a look at the place where the dog lives in and study the living conditions. Evaluate the behavior of the dog in group, how it acts and interacts with the others, and asses which is appropriate for you. In my case, I always look for the one who isn't barking when others are, and that is friendly with both humans and dogs.

If possible spend some time alone with the dog in a room or an outside paddock and observe the reactions alone.

Owner and boxer puppy interacting.

Owner and boxer puppy interacting.


As not all stories have happy endings, you should ask if it is possible to get a trial period in order to make a decision.

Some shelters, like the SPCA or Norcal Family Dog Rescue, allows you to take the dog home for a few days and see how you and your dog adapt to each other. Bear in mind that some dogs, when are in new environments, their behaviour can change for good or bad.


Bringing a new pet in your home and family is thrilling, but don’t forget that this is a long term commitment and whatever dog you choose, you need to be very honest with yourself.


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Pet Boutique in Castro, San Francisco.

BEST IN SHOW

For people looking for "that little extra special thing”.


 

What Makes Best in Show Unique?

Their focus is a boutique-client. Opposed to a chain type of store, they are very client-pet orientated. They are one of the best in customer service that I’ve come across so far.

Being a business owner myself, I know how important good customer service is in order to succeed, and as a client, I value being treated with respect and care.

Customer service is not only about being friendly and smiling all the time. It’s about guidance. Unfortunately, these MUST have premises are not always there. That’s why when I met Richard and George (co-owners of Best in Show), I knew I was in the right store for my pet.

San-Francisco-Los-Angeles-Modern-pet-photography


The staff is friendly, but what impressed me the most was their deep product knowledge. They know what they sell. They are the EXPERTS. Challenge them! Pick up a product and they will tell you everything you want to know about it. You want to know which squeaker toy can survive your pit bull’s jaw? They will tell you. You want to find a gluten and sugar free treat for your dog? They will show you a variety of them. You want to buy a leather hand-made collar? They will help you to find the right one.

Pet-boutique-Castro-SF
Pet-store-Castro-San-Francisco

 

Dogs Are the New Kids

 

Despite the fact that BiS is in the heart of the Castro, the clientele comes in all shapes and forms. As Richard mentioned when I spoke to him, “the customer who shops here is the customer who is a super passionate pet owner. They love and treat their pet as a family member”. Some of the store’s best-selling products even feature the slogan, “Dogs Are the New Kids.”

dogs-are-the-new-kids-mug

 

And I can testify to that. At BS, they are as passionate about pets as you are. This passion for animals inspired them to create their own line of products for dogs, cats, and their humans – BiS DOG - with some hilarious /funny/original slogans like “Dogs are the new kids”, “Grrr”, “Sleep with dogs”. The products range from beautiful ball caps and t-shirts, Bony Babies dog toys, and human t-shirts to very functional totes, mugs, and their exclusive Hand Pup-Pet squeaky dog toys.

They are also the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of Barkology for BiS DOG, and you can buy their products through their website. Oh! And they wholesale too!

cats-are-the-new-kids-accessories


All of their products are very unique, functional, and high quality. So I wasn’t surprised when Richard told me that people from all over the world buy from Best in Show. Tourists from both the US and abroad will stop at the store to buy a souvenir for their dog or cat. They have a large assortment of toys made especially for travelers: from the squeaker call train plush toy to the rainbow donut. I tell you, your dog will be the coolest one at the park with these San Franciscan toys.

rainbow-donut-pet-toy-squeeker
train-plush-toy-san-francisco

 

But be warned! Go there with time to spare because this is one of those stores that you’ll need time to decide what to buy as you’ll want everything!

 

If you need some help, here is a list of the Best in Show best sellers:

  1. Barkology human accessories (t-shirt, bags, caps, etc.)
  2. Squeeky hand puppets (for both dogs and cats)
  3. The pet apparel collection
Barkology Human Accessories

Barkology Human Accessories

Squeeky hand puppets for both dogs and cats.

Squeeky hand puppets for both dogs and cats.

The pet appereal collection.

The pet appereal collection.

If you are looking to buy local and MADE IN THE US products that are also unique and functional, stop looking around. Best in Show is your pet boutique. Go once, go forever.

organic-pet-toy-collection-for-dogs


You Can Find More About Best in Show Here:

Website 
Blog 
Twitter 


Besides Best in Show’s presence online, they also participate in as many events as they can, especially when it comes to fundraisers to help those pets who are more in need.


Do you want your business to be featured in my blog? Contact me to schedule your interview.

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How to choose for the right breeder

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How to choose for the right breeder

We all have our favorite breeds of dogs. The question is how to find the right breeder for your chosen breed. You want a responsible breeder who cares properly for their animals and conducts business in an ethical, human manner. You also want a breeder that will answer your questions openly and honestly.

 

Before Going to the Breeder...

Check your local shelter. One in every four dogs in animal shelters in the United States is purebred, so if you’re looking for a certain breed, chances are high that you’ll be able find the dog you’re looking for in a shelter or rescue agency at a much lower price than if you had gone to a breeder directly. You'll also feel great about helping a homeless dog find a loving home. Most dogs lose their homes because of "people" reasons, such as cost, lack of time, lifestyle changes (new baby, divorce, moving, or marriage), or allergies, and not because of the dog’s behavior or personality.

Set is a Long Hair Collie (purebred) that was rescued from a puppy mill. After tons of love and patience, he made full recovery and he is a balanced and wonderful dog. Click  here  to know more about Set.

Set is a Long Hair Collie (purebred) that was rescued from a puppy mill.
After tons of love and patience, he made full recovery and he is a balanced and wonderful dog.
Click here to know more about Set.

If you've searched the online shelter and rescue listings for your breed, but still haven't found what you’re looking for, it’s time to find an ethical breeder. You don't want to buy a puppy from a pet store because you know that most of those puppies come from mass breeding facilities—better known as puppy mills. You'll want to find a breeder who has their dogs' best interests at heart.

(Photo/Klearchos Kapoutsis via Flickr)  This is the most "normal" picture I could find while looking for references. The cruelty of the images were too much to post them in this article. If you want to see the truth behind the puppy mills, just search for "puppy mills" in Google Images.  Viewer discretion is advised.    

(Photo/Klearchos Kapoutsis via Flickr)
This is the most "normal" picture I could find while looking for references. The cruelty of the images were too much to post them in this article. If you want to see the truth behind the puppy mills, just search for "puppy mills" in Google Images. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

Choosing a Responsible Breeder

Everyone always tells you to buy a puppy from a "reputable breeder". That’s sound advice, but how do you find one? How do you tell a reputable breeder from an unethical or irresponsible one?

 

I've collected a listing of questions that you should ask a breeder to help you determine if they are going to be a good source for your puppy. Remember, too, that the breeder is evaluating you, as well, and will undoubtedly ask you some questions. But we’ll talk about this in another post.

 

You can find responsible breeders by asking for referrals from your veterinarian or trusted friends, by contacting local breed clubs, or visiting professional dog shows. Remember, a responsible breeder will never sell their dogs through a pet store or in any other way that does not allow her to meet with and thoroughly interview you to ensure that the puppy is a good match for your family and that you will provide a responsible, lifelong home.

 

 

Talk to the Breeder (The Most Important Step)

Often, you can get a quick impression by taking a look at the breeder's home or place of business, or by chatting with the breeder. If by some chance, the breeder seems cagey or does not want to give you a tour of the place, you should probably steer clear. Someone with nothing to hide will gladly talk to you or show you around. A breeder who interviews you to make sure you can provide a good home is another good sign of a qualified breeder.

 

They should be well educated about the breed they work with, and be honest about the pros and cons of the breed. A responsible breeder will be a member of a national and possibly regional breed club affiliated with (in the United States) the American Kennel Club (AKC) or United Kennel Club (UKC); and the breeder's dogs will be AKC and/or UKC registered; and the litter registered as well, with the the puppies eligible for (if AKC) Full or Limited Registration as well.

 

9 Questions to Ask Your Breeder

1. How long have you bred this species? Have you ever bred others? (You want someone who has experience in your chosen or similar breed. You also want a specialist for your breed, not someone who breeds many different species.)

 

2. What are the most common genetic health issues with this breed? How does your breeding practice seek to minimize those issues? (Look for honest answers about the issues and someone who is taking real measures to ensure genetic variety within the breed. Do a little research first so that you know what the issues are yourself.)

 

3. Are the parent animals available for me to meet? (Most breeders should not own both parent animals. To ensure variety, they will most likely own the female but not the male. If they do not let you see the female, that may be an indication that their dogs are not healthy or well kept.)

 

4. Can you tell me about the parent animals? (Every animal has good and bad points, so look for a balanced answer from your breeder and pay special attention to the parent animals’ disposition toward people or other animals to ensure that your new puppy will not have an overly aggressive personality. Also note if the parent dogs have been in dog shows or certified as Companion Dogs.)

 

5. What is this puppy’s pedigree? (You’re looking for a knowledgeable breeder who can trace the animal’s lineage to at least four generations. Look for honesty when it comes to interbreeding.)

 

6. Are you raising the puppies here? Have they been socialized? (Ideally, your prospective puppy will have been raised in the household so that they will be used to people and being in a home rather than a kennel where they will have limited human interaction.)

 

7. How many litters do you have per year? (If they are breeding any one female more than once a year, this is too often to ensure the healthiest littler possible. If they have too many litters per year, this is a good indication that they are not properly planning for good breeding.)

 

8. What guarantees do you offer for this puppy? (They should guarantee against debilitating genetic conditions, ensure good health at the point of sale, and be willing to take returned animals. Part of being an ethical breeder is making sure that the puppies have a good home and that it stays that way.)

 

9. When can I take the puppy home with me? (Puppies can normally leave their mother when they are 2-3 months old. Avoid someone who offers them earlier as this demonstrates irresponsibility to the animal’s health and natural development.)

 

You’ll also want the breeder to let you play with and interact with the puppy to see if you like its personality.

Good luck on finding the right animal for you and your family!

 

Download the "How to Identify a Responsible Dog Breeder" [PDF] checklist from the Humane Society and take it with you as you visit different breeders. 

Read “What a Dog Breeder Won’t Tell You” for more information.


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Tips to choose the right pet photographer

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Tips to choose the right pet photographer

 

Becoming a pet owner is a more life-changing event than many people realize when they set out to choose a new addition to their family. Within a short space of time, a new dog or cat takes up a space in your heart that you didn’t know was empty. They are forever a part of your family and not just an animal.

Your pet becomes an integral part of your life; he is there for all of life’s monotonous daily moments. He greets you when you wake up, when you get in from work, and cuddles on your lap before bedtime. He’s also there for life’s milestones; birthday’s, family bbq’s, the birth of children. He is a constant presence, always offering unconditional love and affection.

Celebrating Maui's 7th birthday.

Celebrating Maui's 7th birthday.

Time passes quickly, and before you know it, your pet has transformed from puppy or kitty to a fully mature dog or cat. He changes as if before your eyes; blink and you could miss it! In the world of smartphones and modern technology, you take frequent snaps of your beloved pet until your phone memory is full to capacity in an attempt to capture him at every phase in his life. Unfortunately, these low resolution images don’t print well, and your pet can not be proudly displayed in frames in your home, as he deserves.

How many photos of your dog or cat do you have in your smart phone? 

How many photos of your dog or cat do you have in your smart phone? 

The solution to this problem is to hire a professional pet photographer. The pet photography business is gaining lots of attention, so choosing the right one is becoming extremely challenging. A conventional photographer, who photographs anything to everything, may not comprehend the art of taking the best pet portraits.

 

How to choose the right photographer for your beloved pet?

First, you need to look for a specialist. There are many styles of pet photography, such as documentary, traditional, photojournalistic, fine arts, abstract, and studio. The vast amount of options can make the choice seem daunting, but we have some easy to follow guidelines that will make choosing your pet photographer foolproof.

 

1. Generalist vs Specialist

While not all amateur photographers are created equal, the best way to ensure you receive quality work is to hire a seasoned professional with a solid background.

This is the first step toward success choosing the right photographer for you. Generalists are the ones who shoot a bit of everything: newborns, pets, weddings, landscape, etc. Pets do require an experienced photographer to have their pictures taken. The photographer must understand animals and be able to engage them to get the best out of them. Check the photographer’s experience and background and ensure he or she is a professional and has a career that backs up what he or she does with a gallery representation, awards, magazines, and blog features. Every pet is a unique character and being able to be patient with pets is not enough. You need to ensure that the candidate has experience working with animals, and ideally, can provide some references from previous customers.

 

2. Choose the Photography Style: Studio vs Outdoor/Indoor

Studio photography requires that your pet be taken to an unknown environment, which could cause nervousness. Studio photography can be very stressful for the pets. They not only have to stay quiet in the same spot for long periods of time, but the whole setup can be overwhelming when you consider all of the lights and bright flashes.

Photo courtesy of Keith Stenhouse.

Photo courtesy of Keith Stenhouse.

Outdoor photography, also known as “on location” photography, has great benefits. In the case of a dog, outdoors means exercise and having a great time. Having an incredible pet photographer will make no difference if your pet is stressed or unhappy, so considering how the location will affect them is key. In the case of senior dogs, puppies, or cats, indoor is a good alternative to outdoors. As long as the pet feels comfortable, the pictures will turn out great.

 

To know more about Studio photography vs Outdoor photography, read this post.

 

3. Choose the Photographer’s Style

Although many pet photographers use digital cameras, there are still some more traditional ones using film. Do you prefer film or digital? Do you want black and white or color? Each one comes with pros and cons, and depends on your personal preference. It’s important to spend some time checking the photographer’s portfolio to see if his/her style is what you are looking for.

 

4. Know The Process

If possible, schedule a pre-session consultation with your top two photographers. Discuss your project, what you are looking for, how the session works, and your expectations, and use the time to clarify any questions you may have. The consultation will help you get to know each other and you’ll get a better feeling of which pet photographer will be right for you.

 

5. The Investment

Figure out your budget and compare what each photographer includes in the price, but don’t let this be the deciding factor. Price is often a synonym for quality, not only in terms of products but also in customer service. Do you want a shoot-n-burn photographer or somebody who can prepare a tailored session for you and your pet? Do you want to buy a few 8x10 prints or do you want gallery-quality art pieces? You will pay once, but a few years from now, you won’t remember how much it cost you, only how wonderful and unique your pet was.

Framed Fine Art photo of a Greyhound. Perfect to decorate your home or office.

Framed Fine Art photo of a Greyhound. Perfect to decorate your home or office.

Although choosing the right pet photographer can be a time consuming process, it is vital that you invest some time searching for local dog or cat photographers that will be able to capture your pet’s personality in the best way possible.

 

If you are looking for a pet photographer in San Francisco or in the Bay Area, I'd love to work with you. Contact me now to schedule your free session consultation and let's get your project started!


Frame Your Pet’s Mission:

To provide customized services in a professional and personal manner to create timeless high-end pet photography artwork exceeding client satisfaction and expectations.

 

 

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Set & Vincent, the Rescued Long Hair Collies

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Set & Vincent, the Rescued Long Hair Collies

Although I'm now based in San Francisco, my hometown is Barcelona. I don't only have my family and friends there, but also lovely clients who are willing to wait 6 months for me to go home to photograph their pets.

This Christmas I had several sessions booked and now that I'm back and settled, I want to share them with you.


Let me introduce you to Set & Vincent. Set (which means Seven in Catalan), is the 2nd long hair collie this family has had. A few years ago, their first collie passed away at the age of 14 years old. So, when the time arrived, they didn't doubt their decision to get the same breed. They rescued Set from a puppy mill in Girona. After a few months of lots of patience and unconditional love, Set knew that he was home.

Met Set, the elegant long hair collie from Barcelona.

Met Set, the elegant long hair collie from Barcelona.

A few years later, Vincent joined the family. He is of the same breed and he was also rescued from another puppy mill. 

This is Vincent, posing for me!

This is Vincent, posing for me!

Vincent's mom chose the location. It's been many years since I left my lovely Catalonia so I'm a bit outdated when it comes to new locations for photo shots. Luckily, she found the perfect one.

Although the day was moody and looked like it was about to rain, the weather turned perfect. The light was gentle, the weather wasn't harsh, and the dogs had a wonderful time running and chasing each other.

After a while, it was time to relax, and for me to become invisible to them so that I could capture the perfect moment.

Set and Vincent laying with their mom in front of a waterfall.

Set and Vincent laying with their mom in front of a waterfall.

Vincent striking another pose. I love this one.

Vincent striking another pose. I love this one.

Of course, being outdoors, the dogs couldn't help themselves and had to go back to have some more fun!

A happy dog!

A happy dog!

I think Vincent knew the deal. One photo, one treat! He was all over the place!

I think Vincent knew the deal. One photo, one treat! He was all over the place!

There we go! Vincent again. But I have to admit it... He is a very handsome collie! 

There we go! Vincent again. But I have to admit it... He is a very handsome collie! 

In the meantime, Set was just doing his thing. 

Set playing with a stick. He doesn't need too much to enjoy himself!

Set playing with a stick. He doesn't need too much to enjoy himself!

Love, love, love.

Love, love, love.

Although Set was rescued and I know he is a lucky dog, her mom feels very lucky to have him in her life. You can tell the love is there.

long-hair-collie-photos-in-forest_01.jpg

One hour later, it was time to head home.

It was a very nice session and we all had a great time in the forest. 

long-hair-collie-photos-adoption.jpg

Thank you, Montse, Vincent, and Set for letting me be part of such an amazing day.

 

Related post: "Adopting vs Buying, what should you do?"


Click here to book your own session like this!


Session selected as my favorite one of 2014! See the rest here.

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How Good Dog or Equine Photography Can Help Boost Your Pet Business

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How Good Dog or Equine Photography Can Help Boost Your Pet Business

Introduction
 

The pet industry is booming lately as pet ownership is increasing among Americans and people are treating their pets more like children, offering them the best care possible. The pet care industry continued to prosper throughout the recession when many other businesses went bankrupt.

Despite its profitability, there is a lot of competition out there, so how can you make your pet business stand out from the rest? The secret is top quality pet photography. Whether you run a dog walking service, a pooper-scooper service or a dog day care, whether you are a dog trainer, a pet sitter, a pet toy designer or a pet treat manufacturer, the marketing principle is the same: good photos sell.

This map shows how many dog breeders there are in the United States  (these are only the business that has signed up to be shown in Google Local)

This map shows how many dog breeders there are in the United States (these are only the business that has signed up to be shown in Google Local)

A Needle in the Hay

So many pet businesses pay attention to the quality of the services and products they sell, but they struggle to expand their clientele as they get lost among the masses of similar enterprises that exist. Upon taking a closer look at their marketing strategies, you will probably notice that they all have poor or average photos of animals on their website.

An image creates a first impression of your company, so if you don’t spend the time to post attractive photos on your website, people will have a hard time trusting that you made an effort with anything else. Professional pet photography is a small investment that can really make a difference in your pet business’ future earnings.

This is a good example of elegant equine photography used in brochures. Thanks to FullofLife for the photo to illustrate this topic.

This is a good example of elegant equine photography used in brochures.
Thanks to FullofLife for the photo to illustrate this topic.

Free Publicity on the Internet

A lot of advertising is now done online, through social media platforms and company websites. Certain companies attract their customers solely by posting photos on Instagram, which proves that a picture really is worth a thousand words. Great pet photography can truly be the key to distinguishing your pet business. A great photo will attract more people to your website, giving you more publicity and higher chances of selling your products or services. Superior pet photography can also help your website look more serious and professional, proving that you are well experienced in your field.

Snoopy the cat has more than 200,000 followers in his Instagram profile.  Don't underestimate the power of Instagram or other social media platforms like Tumblr.  Instagram has 90 million users that post 40 million photos per day and tap 8,500 likes per second  (source: Instagram).  Tumblr has around 113.5 million posts a day!

Snoopy the cat has more than 200,000 followers in his Instagram profile.

Don't underestimate the power of Instagram or other social media platforms like Tumblr. 
Instagram has 90 million users that post 40 million photos per day and tap 8,500 likes per second (source: Instagram).
Tumblr has around 113.5 million posts a day!

Supply and Demand

Along with increasing pet ownership, there is a growing demand for pet photography. Recent trends show that people online are searching for tons of pet pictures, because they all love to look at photos of cute pets. Even people who have very little in common can connect because of their love for animals.

If you post a few excellent photographs of cute animals on your website, you are sure to develop a widespread following of viewers who want to see more. They will keep returning to your site to see the cute photos, thus increasing your chances of conversion.

Great photographs are not only valuable online or on social media platforms, they can also be used for your offline marketing materials, such as newsletters, brochures, packaging, catalogs, posters, etc. As you know, these advertising and informational materials that you distribute to your potential clients are incredibly important to the success of your business. They need to be tailored by a professional photographer who understands what your goals are. Whether online or off, I can help you create a portfolio of great images that reflect the true spirit of your pet business.

Photo by Frame Your Pet. This photo is part of a commissioned work for CAVA Horse training center, Spain. 

Photo by Frame Your Pet. This photo is part of a commissioned work for CAVA Horse training center, Spain. 

You will surely notice a return on your investment in no time as more and more people are attracted by your stunning images. The more appealing your photos are, the longer people will stay on your website, or read your printed materials, thus increasing the likelihood that they will feel positively about your business and engage your services.


If you are in the pet business and you are thinking of hiring a specialist contact me today for superior pet photography and watch your pet business grow!

 

Related posts: Tips to choose the right pet photographer.


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