Baxter’s 11th Doggie Birthday Party

Jul 2, 2019

Look at the world’s most handsome dog! Yes. He is mine. Yes. I know I’m biased. But in completely unbiased honesty…he truly is the most handsome dog in the world. This is his 11th doggie birthday party photo session!

Baxter turned 11 years old in mid-June. I’d kind of been dreading the milestone offering a fake cry whenever I mentioned to anybody that he would be turning 11. Not like it is much different than him hitting the double digits last year. But still…each doggie birthday brings a bit of excitement and sadness.

My sweet boy’s body is not as young as it used to be, but he sure seems to have a TON of energy. He has a limp that started more than a year ago that anti-inflammatories, acupuncture and other remedies haven’t helped. He is losing his hearing which does have some benefits (like when the doorbell rings and the kids are napping). Each one is a reminder that our pets don’t stay with us forever.

Despite those signs of aging, he was a total, complete nut during his birthday session. He takes prozac and trazodone (sedative) daily for his general anxiety. I gave him an additional trazodone an hour before we left the house to hopefully take a bit more of the edge off. He doesn’t often go out in public because he is 50-50 when it comes to wanting to make friends and he also doesn’t like children. So to avoid accidents, he lives the good life napping wherever he wants in the house and multiple short walks around the neighborhood.

Baxter the Mama’s Boy

Well…let me tell you about this fool. He was immediately excited when we started gathering to get in the car. He knew something was up and that mom was bringing her camera. Plus, both his big sisters and dad were coming. Surely this was no trip to the vet’s office or to the pet store.

Claire and Emerson went with me earlier to pick out a special toy for him and cookies and a pupcake. Claire thought she would be staying home all day in honor of Baxter’s birthday and that we would be inviting his friends over for a party. (Baxter doesn’t have friends and certainly does NOT want any other dogs in his house.)

Baxter in Action

So we arrived at the North Carolina Museum of Art where I had been stoked to check out this temporary installment called Oracular Rooftops by artist Heather Hart. (Typically, Baxter’s birthday shoots involve just me and him. I was hopeful with my husband as the handler, and this amazingly vibrant background, I could finally give my boy a “true” birthday photo session like all the other pets I photography.

He looks adorable and so well behaved doesn’t he? Don’t be fooled.

  1. He was on a leash. I removed it in post-production.
  2. He has trained himself to sit long enough for the camera to click three times in row and then comes to me expecting a reward.
  3. While he loves his daddy, he loves me the MOST. So if I stepped more than a foot away from him, he would immediately try to come to me or attempt to get out of his collar and make sure his mama was glued to his side.
  4. Even when we were walking around the structure to try out a few perspectives, he was obsessed with being no more than an inch from me. I was carrying my camera, the cake stand and his goodies while Brandon had his leash and an eye on the girls. Baxter refused to let Brandon hold the leash as clearly that put too much space between Baxter and me.
  5. We were also making sure our girls stayed away from Baxter’s cupcake (so he wouldn’t try to eat them) and also not be trying to climb the roof at the same time.
  6. Was it chaotic? Yes! Did the girls love watching Baxter celebrate his doggie birthday party? You bet. Did I finally get some super duper awesome bucket-list images of my favorite boy in the world to properly celebrate his birthday? OH YEAH!

“My Dog Would Never Do That”

So…you may be thinking “My dog would never sit long enough for a single photo, much less cooperate for a portrait session.” Trust me! If my dog can do it, so can yours! I’ve had many a wild dog in front of my camera. Do we get a great portrait shot each time? Yes! But I also make sure to capture your pet as they are. If they don’t want to sit, okay. The important thing is to make sure they feel safe, are having fun and we capture memories that will last a lifetime. Our pets never have as much time as we want them to have, but how lucky are we to get to love them during their time on earth?

Interested in capturing memories like these? This installation is only up through September at the Art Museum. Email me today to set up a photo playdate with your pet!