Halloween offered a great opporturnity to write about one of Melee’s special features: balloons. All of my dogs of course have loved balls and balloons, but the lifespan of the balloons has not been very long in the hands (paws/teeth) of a Belgian shepherd. Melee was not a exception and her first balloons broke up after few seconds. But she is a quick learner, so after breaking two balloons, she knew how to handle them. She learned, that when a balloon is in the air, she can jump and poke it and nothing but fun happens. But the moment trhe balloon touches the floor, she puts the caution-gear on. This means, she needs to search the knot of the balloon and gently grab the balloon.
This balloon thing is one of the many things that prove Melee is a lot clever than average Belgian. Everybody knows that Belgians are clever dogs that learn stuff quickly, but this tender behaviour towards toys (or towards anything) is not a common word when describing a Belgian shepherd. So it is a pity that Melee’s roommate Ginga represents this group of average group of Belgians, so the lifespan of balloons in this house is not prolonged… Even Ginga has an idea, that she should be careful with balloons, she just lacks the ability to think before acting and unfortunately she also believes, that speed and power are the keys to all success.
Melee’s games with balloons is, however, super-cute to watch, as she is so miraculously tender towards them and really pays attention to how to roll the ball to correct position so she is able to grab the knot.
For years I have planned, that every dog of mine will be photo shooted in a studio once in their lives. Even tough I take lots of photos myself, most of them tend to be blurry or otherwise low of quality. They are good photos to Facebook and other social media and of course their sentimental value is high. But as I want to have stylish pictures of my dogs on my living room wall, I need quality photos as well. Vilma almost missed her studio photo shoot, as she was photoshoot only a few days before she passed away. With Melee and Ginga I decided to act bit earlier. I contacted the same photographer that had taken photos of Vilma, and luckily he also had moved to Oulu, so scheduling the photo shoot was pretty easy.
The photoshoot took place in a rental studio at Oulunsalo and we had about an hour to take all the photos. I knew very well what kind of images I wanted, so an hour was more than enough for the session. After all, Ginga and Melee are not the most patient dogs when it comes to “stay still” -kind of situations. Ginga thought it was ok to lay on the floor, but sitting was soooooo boring. Melees problem was the whole “don’t move” -concept, she has, after all, a soul of an adventurer. Both dogs had 2×10 minutes sessions which were themed as “please look happy even tough this is boring”. It was easy to see, that they were bored in the end. As shepherd dogs, they will always do as told, but happy face cannot be forced.
This time it was easy for me to arrange this photoshoot, as the photographer was not new and I knew very precisely what kind of images I wanted. When I searched photographer for Vilma, the whole process was not so easy.
When I started searching a photographer, it was important to me, that he/she was used to photoshoot dogs. By this I mean, that photographer has an idea of what a good dog photo looks like, and how to take photos of dogs of different breeds. Nobody can force the dog to look happy in a photo, so it is good that photographer understands dogs behavior: the dog needs to be able to check the room off-leash beforehand, so it can focus on looking at the owner and pose more relaxed.
Photographing is not cheap either, especially if you have certain needs. When photo shooting Vilma I knew, that these will be the last photos of her, so I wanted to have full-sized digital copies of the images. This happened to be a wish that only a few photographers wanted to fulfill. Some photographers told that they would not share any digital copies, some told that the price for a single digital copy would be 50-60 euros! It is not hard to count that if I wanted to have 10-20 copies, it would cost a small fortune. Some suggested, that I could pay 10-20 euros and have a “Facebook”-photo, which meant a small (400x500px) image with photographers watermark. No thanks. I know photographing is not cheap for anyone as the equipment is expensive, studios are expensive etc. But these prices some requested, are just too high and will definitely drive away customers. Luckily I was able to find a photographer, that suited perfectly for all of my needs.