At the time of writing this post, 13-week-old Xap holds the title of the tiniest dog I’ve photographed as well as the one who’s traveled farthest for a session: from Florida!
“We’re hoping it’s a fun way to breathe some good energy and life into a house that’s been sad for a bit too long,” began her mom Caroline’s inquiry. “We don’t yet know Xap—we are picking her up on March 18—but I had baby pictures of my Pax done 13 years ago, and I know I want to have baby pictures of Xap so I have the memories forever.”
With a tight travel timeline for her visit to Pittsburgh, we scheduled a session date along with a few tentative rain dates because…well, you know how spring in Pittsburgh goes! Knowing how much these portraits mean to her and hearing more about her why, I was determined to get them done during Caroline’s return to her hometown.
“We lost our 13-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Pax, while we were on vacation in San Diego [in] January 2022. That same day, Xap was born,” shares Caroline. “My fiancé Katie spotted her online from a breeder [knowing] we wanted a rainbow baby who shared Pax’s crossing-over day.”
Looking for a fun name that kept Pax close to them, the couple, had the idea to reverse the letters in Pax’s name and came up with Xap, pronounced ”zap,” which is much like a sound superheroes make. With the belief that this less-than-two-pounds puppy will be stepping into the role of saving them from the grief they continue to deal with following Pax’s passing, a superhero name was undeniably fitting.
Caroline and Katie picked up Xap from New Orleans before bringing her back to the Pittsburgh area to meet their extended family—and for her first professional portrait session!
“We don’t know much about her, aside from her birth date, so you’re going to get to watch her become part of our family as we get to know her ourselves,” Caroline says. “We love that she has a white little chin and big ears; Pax had the big ears and had a big white diamond on her belly. Xap seems to have similar markings and a similar body structure. She, like Pax, is the runt of the litter, the only girl of four boys, and apparently has a lot of fun energy.”
When asked what kind of images would make their hearts soar, Caroline knew right away, sharing her hope for ”high-energy, silly photos.”
“I don’t care so much if she sits and poses, but I’d love photos of her running, jumping, playing, chasing toys…tongue out, fur wagging. The more energy and playful the better,” emphasized Caroline.
Xap pranced and played along Pittsburgh’s North Shore where spring’s cherry blossoms had started to bloom before heading over toward Heinz Field. Because their family is massive Steelers fans, Caroline asked if it would be possible to capture some Steelers-themed portraits outside the stadium down by the water.
A black and gold feather boa, iconic Terrible Towel, and regulation-sized football accentuated Xap’s petite stature. Positioning her along the stairs leading up to one of the stadium’s entrances highlighted just how itty bitty she truly is, despite her larger-than-life personality…and served as the best spot for an end-of-session nap.
Are you preparing to welcome home a new puppy? I’d love to help you celebrate this special moment! 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, “Product Feature,” let’s head down under and check out Canberra Dog Photographer Ina Jalil or Ina J Photography who shares a preview of her autumn sessions in Canberra this year. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.