I’m lucky enough to have a job I really love, but like everything else, a bit of variety helps make any job more interesting. A local dog bed company recently asked me to source & manage dogs for a photo shoot. The pictures taken on the day would be used to demonstrate products on their revamped website. This may seem like a simple task, but in reality, most of the dogs I encounter wouldn’t be suitable for such an event.
Unlike the last job I managed of this kind, where I chose the breeds being used, this time the company were more prescriptive. That is to say, they had certain breeds in mind that they felt would show off their products at their best (large, small, working, sporty, hairy, popular), and it was up to me to find those dogs. A difficult task as each breed selected needed to be free of collar & leash yet under control at all times, in a studio full of expensive equipment. They needed to lie still for prolonged periods, look comfortable & happy in front of the camera. All this while equipment was moved around, bright lights flashed and people got close to their faces.
It’s always fun to work with non-doggy people but it’s difficult to tell how closely their idea of working with dogs will actually merge with the reality of the task. It would be my job to help ensure reality came as close as possible to expectations. While all dog lovers, I’m sure the reps from the company involved still felt slightly edgy about the upcoming shoot. Would the dogs behave? Would there be any usable photos given the limited time scale & the unpredictable nature of dogs (we had 15 dogs to catch at their photogenic best, in a variety of beds, over a 6.5 hour period). I’m sure the old adage ‘Never work with children or animals’ may have crossed their mind.
The nerves of the owners came through, despite my reassurance that I had chosen them especially, because their dogs were controllable, well adjusted & reliable with their ‘down’ command. Nevertheless many of the owners arrived at their allocated time slot feeling apprehensive. Some owners had been chosen because they had multiple dogs. The dog bed company wanted two dogs on one bed in several photos. This would allow potential customers to judge the size of a bed for dogs who shared space. These owners had added worry, with double the excitement.
The line up went something like this. Barney the Springer Spaniel, looked wonderful, clean & brushed (for a change). Harry the Cavalier King Charles, certainly looked a little regal. Woody Schnauzer, all primped with a pro hair cut, strutted his stuff, turned his head where necessary & made a big impression with his coiffed beard. Pixie Beagle gets the prize for colour coordination, not to mention veteran good looks. Matching Pointers Ebb & Rowdy made a stunning pair.
Pippa, the oldest model of the day, still a natural blonde too, combined golden locks with sedate, thoughtful posing. Hungarian Visla Bruno, handsome, fit, didn’t disappoint with his charm & outdoorsy good looks. The Pint of Guinness & Joy Boy Sage were happy to show off Collie smiles & sometimes strategically placed positioning (note the in crate chin rest & the dog towel hold). Rottweilers Miah & Treacle made up our last doubles team of the day, both demonstrating wonderful cool composure. Finally, Leonberger Phoebe, stole the show. She lounged, she sprawled, she was hard to budge, but she looked amazing.
We wiped away drool a few times, clearly some dogs think this adds to the look, the photographer didn’t agree. There was one unauthorised wee, but I’m not pointing any fingers. Several incidences of unexpected movement resulted in a blurry photo or two (ok more than that). There were a couple of literally hairy moments involving enthusiasm, mass & some highly expensive bits of lighting equipment. In all though, I think the day was one worth woofing about. Here’s the evidence. Let’s hope all the new Purely Dog Beds customers agree.