I had no idea it would be the beginning of a wonderful photography relationship when I brought my camera into the animal rescue, Harley’s Haven. Each baby mutt was cuter than the last. As I snapped picture after picture I was acutely aware of the fact that each one had been saved from a very brief existence in a pound a few hundred miles away. I watched one after another find their forever homes.
The two Veterinarians behind Harley’s Haven, Jen and Beth, requested that I photograph them with their dogs and in their new practice, Pennridge Animal Hospital (PAH). They wanted to convey their personable approach to animal care. So, we worked together to assemble a session to illustrate their message of meeting the pet where it’s at. This often means getting down on their level, sitting on the floor with them and interacting a more casual, comfortable manner.
A few mutts photos later I was contacted by Beth’s mother Who requested that I collaborate with her for a surprise photo session that would feature Beth’s son and their three rescue dogs, Harley (the origin of Harley’s Haven), Fiona and Sawyer. I was elated to participate in yet another meaningful project for them and overjoyed to hear that Beth was moved to tears upon the reception of her Christmas images.
After photographing the rescue, the doctors and their dogs and then the family, I thought all the bases were covered. Yet, sure enough, when Beth and Jen shared with me that they provide unique service of home visitation to their furry clients, I knew I needed to capture this.
Featured above are some images of what a home visit looks like. At a local farm, the pouring rain loudly resounding off of the tin roof made me believe it could possibly be raining cats and dogs. We were all forced to nearly yell in order to be heard over the racket.
I was in the barn, but Beth had already been in the house draining the infected ears of one of the farmers house pet. The business laptop was cradled under her clutched rain coat as she dashed across the grass to the barn and was greeted by four enthusiastic Maremmas (a rare bread of Italian guard dogs) and Cynthia, their loving owner. Stella, Milly, Donna and Lilly were all due for a check-up, various standard tests and a couple vaccinations.
Beth immediately set herself down on the floor. In between petting and kisses she monitored their heart beat and gave them a physical evaluation. When it came time for injections, despite the rain and the needles, the dogs displayed a calmness and ease that can only be found when they are in the comfort of their own environment. Cynthia sang the praises of the home visit as she offered familiar treats and the dogs freely roamed the barn. However, it was plain to see that the alternative – carting four large dogs, two of which were rambunctious puppies, to an office; was less than ideal for both Cynthia and the dogs.
In the end, all dogs were happy and well. They continued on with their evening of sniffing and sleeping and eating with little disruption and the general sanity was preserved. However the benefits of home visits don’t just extend themselves to to the limitations of minor convenience. Rather, it opens the doors wide for animal lovers that find it a challenge or even impossible to transport their beloved pet and themselves to a vet office. The community of elderly and those with disabilities stand to gain the most of this service. It’s good to know these services exist to make it possible to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle for both the pet and the owner When it’s so abundantly clear how beneficial it is to the animal lover’s spirit, resiliency and overall health to have pets.