Thursday, July 30, 2009

Photos and Attacks

After being invited along to take photos of the dogs and owners, I spent this weekend at the CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle where our training group was holding another canine display event. If I've done things correctly, you should be able to see some of the resulting photos in the corner of this post. If not, you can view them (along with others) at my new gallery. You can now purchase my works from there too.

Ellie was unable to attend as, with it being a game fair, there was a lot of gunshots. That is a sound that she just can't cope with.

It really was a great weekend. The weather held out for us, there were plenty of people to watch the events, and just loads of dog-related stands to visit and displays to watch. From my perspective, it was a dog photographer's paradise. My dog photography seems to be more and more in demand and that is obviously something that I am delighted about.

I really love the challenge of photographing dogs. It's not like portraits or weddings where you can, to some extent, take your time, arrange the subject, set up the shots and set the ideal lighting. At dog shows, you have to wrestle against thousands of people walking in front of you, dogs moving from position, changing weather, and a whole raft of other challenges. Getting that one shot of the dog or of the dog and owner sharing time together makes it all worthwhile. I can't imagine another avenue of photography that I would or could enjoy more. That people are impressed enough to want to spend their hard-earned money on my photographs is just the icing on my cake.

On Sunday, Ellie was attacked, quite savagely, by a terrier. We were walking to the park as we do most days. We turned a corner and there was a terrier bowed in the middle of the road, off leash, and with its owners walking behind it. Instantly, the owner looked at me and said "Sorry", as the dog launched itself right into Ellie and began to attack. The only thing I could do is use my feet to try and keep it off her. I just refuse to pick a dog up and cuddle it during a fight as that can only serve to (a) get my hands bitten, and (b) encourage Ellie to be scared. As we all know, that is something she does perfectly well without my assistance.

I continued to use my feet to push the terrier away and break them apart. All the while, the owner was trying to get hold of his dog but kept getting bitten, making me glad that I didn't use my hands to break them apart. All tolled, the attack lasted for about three to four minutes. Aside from receiving a few choice words from me, I also managed to kick the stupid owner. It wasn't on purpose, but I had my foot under his dog ready to launch it off again. The dog moved as the owner knelt down to try and get hold of it once more. Because the dog had moved, my foot landed clean in his face very firmly. I felt quite glad about that after the event. What really angered me was the response I heard the woman owner say as we walked off. "That's because that dog was on a lead." Oh yes, how stupid of me! Your dog is out of control because my dog was on a leash. Excuses, excuses...

Once we got onto the field, Ellie was clearly very different, very distracted, and very nervous, particularly when she saw a white bag blowing across the field. All I could do is try and carry on as usual. This continued for the next few days and it has taken her a few days not to jump into alert mode each time we turn that same corner. Apparently, Ellie was fine at training with other dogs last night and this morning she seemed more like her usual self (though she now stops if she sees other dogs in the distance). I am sure I can get her back to her old self in time. It certainly could have been much much worse. There was no physical damage to Ellie.

In other news, I am currently finishing off a new website that I have designed and developed for a UK dog trainer, and then I will be starting to build a new website primarily for UK dog lovers and dog owners, which I shall be running with a friend. Watch this space for more news on that...

Ellie's training is going well, and I'm currently reading The Dog Rules by Kyra Sundance. Watch this space again for my review when I finish it. Usually, I read a book in just three hours or so. I'm so busy at the moment that I have to keep reading a few pages before I go to sleep at night.