When Allyson inquired about a session for her 14-year-old tri-colored Border collie/Saint Bernard mix, Cody, I knew it was going to be something special. After all, you know what they say about old dogs—that they are “the most constant of all friends”—and just hearing Allie talk about her incredible friend, the one she calls her “rubber band dog,” made me smile.
Allie was debating between two favorite spots of Cody’s, but ultimately opted for Sewickley Heights Borough Park where Cody enjoys walking and sniffing alongside his family.
“He’s starting to slow down, but he’s still able to enjoy his walks,” says Allie. “He has his set routes that he doesn’t really change when we go on walks, [and on the] trails, he walks a good 10 feet ahead and looks back to make sure I’m still following him.”
And Allie’s been there for him all along after Cody came to her nine years ago following the passing of her late mother.
“Cody, who was named Fritz at the time, was 12 weeks old when we met him at the shelter, and [he] lived with mom from 2008-2013. Mom liked the name Cody better, for some reason, rather than Fritz,” remembers Allie. “In 2015, Cody and I moved in with my now-husband Mike, and “Old man Fritz,” as Allie and Mike sometimes call him, loved the rural environment compared to busy Newark, New Jersey. Mike and Cody took some time to adjust, but they started bonding after a while, especially when the pandemic started.”
In his older age, Allie has noticed that Cody’s activity level is beginning to slow, adding that “He still has a little spunk in him, especially when he greets other dogs; however, he loves his routines, so he prefers to sniff along his favorite routes. We always ask Cody if he wants to greet a human, and nine times out of ten, he’s like, ‘No, let’s just keep walking…,’ to which I say to the person asking to pet him, ‘Sorry, he’s rude,’ and we all laugh.”
Since Cody can become so absorbed in walking and sniffing, Allie imagined most of his portraits were going to be candid shots. One specific one she hoped for was one where he’s walking far ahead of her and Mike and that he’ll turn his head to make sure they are following him.
“To be honest, I do love that he has a mind of his own. He’s so communicative with his different vocalizations, ranging from alerting to demanding,” shares Allie. “He’s also fluffy, which my husband especially loves. He just wishes Cody liked to cuddle; he doesn’t really like to and just tolerates it from either of us on the few occasions we do.”
Near the end of their session, I suggested a few silhouette sunset shots to capture their connection with this amazing boy. Even knowing what I was going to capture, I couldn’t have imagined the beauty and love between the three. I believe I even caught a subtle cuddle with Mike in the mix. Cody truly epitomizes the saying “mixed breed, pure love.”
From the moment Allie reached out, she and Mike had their eyes on a beautiful traditional framed print that they wanted to add to their home. During their ordering appointment, we started by first choosing the portrait for this “main event” piece followed by its frame, ultimately settling on this stunning and slightly weathered dark wood frame. It complements so well the woodsy location and natural colors of the trail and trees.
A classic white mat breaks up the weight of these tones, adds a touch of formality, and prevents it from looking too “heavy” while a non-glare glass provides an additional layer of UV protection and allows it to be viewed from any angle with little to no reflection.
From there, we narrowed down the collection of storytelling-inspired portraits finished in simple white mats that would fill Allie and Mike’s 10-print bamboo heirloom folio box. A happy moment of Cody pausing briefly in a shallow stream was an instant winner for the outside cover image while a family photo of the three of them was reserved for the inside cover image.
A complimentary 5×7 matted gift print included with their session fee and a stunning 5×7 acrylic block rounded out their final product picks.
Allie and Mike, thank you so much for sharing Cody’s story with me and for giving him a home filled with the love, patience, and understanding that all dogs deserve. He is truly a special boy and I hope these portraits continue to remind you of that for many years to follow.
Is a location with a meaningful connection to you and your pet calling your names? I’d love to assess it for feasibility and help plan your Bark & Gold Photography session with you. 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! To see more content like this and what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Mutts,” check out Angela Schneider of Big White Dog Photography in Spokane, WA, throwing the spotlight on four mutts who rocked their senior dog photo shoots. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.