It started with two sweet calendar contest submission photos and equally heartstrings-pulling backstories. Where it took us was Brady’s Run Park for a late August celebration of these water-loving pit bulls raising money toward a goal of “saving one bully at a time” through the 2023 Biggies Bullies pet calendar contest.
“Duke was six-weeks-old when we got him,” recalls Melissa. “The person we got him from [had] just returned from overseas and had to move back in with his mother; once he moved in, [he] found out that he could not have any animals there so he had to find a new home for Duke or take him to a shelter.”
With help from a friend who rescues animals, Melissa and Ryan learned about this unfortunate situation and took in Duke. Melissa even sent Duke’s former family a picture of him a year later to show he was doing well because, as Melissa puts it, “I could tell how much he really did love [Duke] and that he really didn’t want to give him up.”
Sadly, Chloe’s story is not as happy as Duke’s, explained Melissa who rescued her when Chloe was around three years old.
“The people that had her left her in a dark basement behind a curtain, which is the darkest thing, for a couple of days. A friend of ours found out about this and went in and rescued her from the basement,” Melissa elaborates. “They couldn’t keep her, so we tested Chloe out with Duke, and after a couple of times [together], they got along and we took her in. She is our happy loving girl.”
Melissa warned me that their energy levels are all over the place. With Duke, now seven years old, his energy level is a little lower while five-year-old Chloe‘s is still pretty high, but I don’t think Duke wanted to be outshined by his younger sister. He made quite a splash himself in one of the many creeks that wind throughout the park. I got such a kick out of watching those big paws of his swash through the water while those playful ears bounced up and down as he explored the cool, rocky stream.
It was smiles all around these two who were nearly impossible to get out of the water. And just when you thought they were done, they beelined right back to the water for another dip. I think they spent more of their session wet than they did dry!
“My favorite things [about them] would be the love and affection they both give,” shared Melissa. “They both have a super goofy side, and Duke has the best head tilt around! He loves to cuddle, especially in bed under the covers, and he has gotten Chloe to do the same thing; my husband and I absolutely love it and feel lonely if they’re not in bed with us at times. Duke does a perfect spoon next to you and it is just so warm.”
“Chloe loves kisses, loves to be petted, and loves affection…and we love to give it to her,” Melissa adds. “If I’m ever upset about anything, they instantly know, and Duke will take all 90 pounds of himself and sit on my lap and kiss my face to cheer me up. Chloe will come next to me and put her head on my legs. There’s just so much I love about them that I feel like I could go on forever!”
With incredible rescue stories of their own, it was only fitting that they earned eleventh and twelfth place in this year’s Biggies Bullies pet calendar contest, raising a collective total between them of $942 and landing them a featured month alongside ten other winning pit bulls…and one “honorary pittie,” a Corgi named Zuko.
You can see which portraits of Duke & Chloe made it into the 2023 Biggies Bullies pet calendar with your purchase, which supports Biggies Bullies in its efforts of rescuing and re-homing pit bull-type dogs in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. Calendars start at just $20 and proceeds from all calendar sales will assist in providing education on responsible pet ownership, positive force-free training, and the importance of spaying and neutering. Click here to purchase your 2023 Biggies Bullies pet calendar.
Duke & Chloe’s session is proof that your dog does not have to sit and stay to create beautiful portraits! Think yours would love to get in on the action? Choose your adventure below to begin.
Did you enjoy this post? Great, there’s more coming your way because it’s part of a photography blog circle featuring pet photographers from all over the world! Our weekly theme is jam-packed with all the excitement and adventure of “Lights, Camera, Action!” Las Vegas dog photographer Nicole Hrustyk of Pawtraits by Nicole heads to Missouri to photograph flyball championships at Purina Farms and is the next stop in this week’s circle. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.