I’ve had the job of photographing the wonderful Janice of Big Dog Little Bed many times over the years. The last time I saw her, I photographed her with dogs Toby, Murphy, and George, all of whom were extremely loved by not only Janice, but the entire community who met and interacted with these pups, myself included. This time was bittersweet because these friends are no longer with us and are very much missed. Anyone who knows me has probably heard me talk about Toby because I was very much in love with him from the moment that I met him despite Janice’s warnings of, “Don’t make eye contact with him, don’t touch him.” I did make eye contact with him (eventually) and I did touch him (eventually) and we even progressed to the level of SELFIES TOGETHER (!!!) where Toby is very visibly rolling his eyes and trying to get away from me. He was one of my very favorite creatures to walk the earth and also to photograph. I also very much loved and cherished Murph, who was always friendly and loving and cooperative. He seemed wise beyond his years – like a little Yoda who chose not to speak. I had only met George once, but he was handsome and took direction well and was a very good boy.

I miss these friends. But while I had photographed Janice many times, this was my first time meeting and photographing her husband Sean (!), as well as their new dog Layla Bean (!). And I’m very pleased to announce that Layla Bean is truly a stellar addition and quite the character – and so is Sean. I immediately adored them both. Sean is the perfect match for Janice and I got along with him right away. He’s funny and creative and loves the outdoors like Janice – and he has a baseball team that Geoff just joined! Layla Bean is a very small yet very mighty dog with a lot of personality. She’s a tiny bossy tyrant with the sass meter on 100% at all times and I love her. She likes to carry around a toy pig that says “Kind of a pig deal” and I’m pretty sure she knows what it says. She enjoys bullying other dogs, hogging all of Janice and Sean’s attention, digging through her toy bin, playing fetch, and celebrating her birthday. They got her a cake. She loved it. She is a cooperative subject only because she knows I’m taking pictures of her and seems to be proud of that. She’s a diva and I’m excited to see more of her in the future because she’s adorable in every way.

So while our old friends are missed, we can take comfort in our newfound friend Layla Bean and enjoy celebrating her for many years to come. This was Layla’s first Gotcha Day celebration and I’m so happy for her that she found her perfect family.

A lot of you know that my background is actually in elementary education, so I was super excited to turn my wedding photography business into a family portrait business earlier this year. And through focusing on family photography, I’m having such a great time working with kids again! I love meeting them as they’re all totally different, but universally hilarious.

Abby and Sammy were no different, but they have the additive qualities of being such strong little kids! Abby has Down syndrome and was diagnosed with leukemia last year. She’s been going through treatment and recently got home from the hospital. Abby is so strong and brave, but above all, so happy! Her mom warned me that she might be shy around the camera, but she was not! She laughed and giggled and loved to tell me hi, and then, like a 4-going-on-14-year-old, retreated to her laptop and wanted us all to leave her alone. :D Her younger brother Sammy is supportive and loves his big sister! He also loves blowing bubbles and playing with puzzles and cars. He has a phenomenal head of hair, so part of the reason for this portrait shoot was to document his lovely hairdo before his first haircut. Both kiddos also celebrated birthdays recently, so a portrait session was a must, and I’m happy to have gotten the chance to work with these two great kids.