Back around the first of the year, I did a portrait session for a canine senior citizen named Buzz. I’ve adored Buzz since he was a pup, so I was very honored that his owner asked me to photograph him now that he is getting on in years. While photographing senior pets can be a challenge, I am always up for a challenge.
The smiling face above is how I always think of Buzz. The difficulty was to capture that look in a classic portrait. You see, Buzz is hard of hearing, as are many senior pets. We couldn’t use squeaky toys or funny noises to get his attention. That left us with treats. Buzz is an English Springer Spaniel. If you know anything at all about spaniels, you know they are true chow hounds. Buzz is no exception. The owner would use treats to get him into position and then back away. Of course, Buzz decided to follow the treats rather than stay where he was left. Age does have its privileges, and Buzz is like most retired obedience-trained dogs who waste NO time in figuring out when the rules no longer apply to them. The three of us humans in the studio were laughing out loud at Buzz’s antics by the end of the portrait session. With a lot of treats, a lot of patience, and a quick shutter finger, I was able to capture Buzz’s personality for posterity.
I love spaniels for many reasons. They have beautiful coats that are so silky to the touch. They are wonderful companions. What I love the most, though, are those soulful eyes as seen in the classic portrait above. The eyes on a spaniel can melt your heart, and Buzz’s were no exception. Many thanks to his owner, Alex, for allowing me the opportunity to capture that timeless expression.