A Dog Photography Session at Sewickley Heights Borough Park with Senior Border Collie/Saint Bernard Cody

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.”

Related: If Tomorrow Never Comes: Why Now is The Time for Professional Pet Portraits

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.”

a border collie/St. Bernard mutt sniffs and explores the trails at Sewickley Heights Borough Park during his dog photography session with Bark & Gold Photography

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.”

Related: 3 Reasons to Book a Photography Session for Your Senior Dog

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.”

a senior border collie/Saint Bernard mutt enjoys a photography session at sunset at Sewickley Heights Borough Park with his owners

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.

traditional framed print featuring dark weathered wood and a couple walking in the woods with their senior mutt

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.

bamboo heirloom folio box with matted prints of a couple with their senior border collie/Saint Bernard mix during a Rainbow Session photographed at Sewickely Heights Borough Park

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.

12 thoughts on “A Dog Photography Session at Sewickley Heights Borough Park with Senior Border Collie/Saint Bernard Cody

  1. Tracy Allard says:

    What a cutie, I’ve never seen a St. Bernie / BC mix, it’s a handsome one! I’m very envious of your silhouette hill, everything’s too flat around me to be able to capture those. The print products are beautiful, I’m sure the clients were thrilled with how everything came out and will cherish the memories of this session with you for a lifetime.

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Thanks, this is one of a handful of spots I can do these in…and it’s a very shallow “hill.” I lay flat just down the road from where they stand on a little path and shoot slightly up. From that angle, it blocks so many of the trees surrounding the field as the park is heavily wooded. I have just one other spot I’ve found that works well, but sometimes the park lets that field grow over with thick grass and so it’s only usable a portion of the year.

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      He was the first of his kind that I had ever met and he did not disappoint in his handsome looks and loving personality.

  2. Holly says:

    Thanks for sharing this Jessica! I love that you included their printed products. It’s like the full story. Cody is beautiful and your images captured exactly what his parents wanted. Beautiful!

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Thanks! I think it’s so important to see what actually comes from a session—and it’s never just files!

  3. Darlene says:

    What a stunning mix! Beautiful silhouettes and love that you shared the final products. Lovely story and I know this family must be over the moon!!! Great job!

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Thanks, Darlene. They were super happy with everything, from the experience to the products. They love Cody so much and it was my pleasure to create such beautiful pieces for their home.

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