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On With The Show!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Mason with Jenny
Authored by the client, Julie Lane.

It was a perfect day for a photo session. The trees were at their height of autumn loveliness, clothed in red, yellow, and orange. The air was the perfect balance of crispness and warmness. It was Kechi park, nestled in the suburban community of Kechi, a beautiful park with a fishing lake, bridge, playground, and woods, butted up next to a housing development.

Enter clients Julie, Mason, and Jennifer. Mason, the pet, was a three year old 125 pound lab/great dane mix, with a love of water and an enthusiasm for woods. Mason believes that every dog should live up to his breed—in his case, as a retriever, he had an obligation to chase rabbits on land, and ducks on the water. Every time. Without fail.


Mason was bathed and coifed, with a brand new red collar and lead. Twelve year old Jennifer was bathed and coifed, with an outfit to match the dog. Julie was uncoifed, and about to become more so.  There were fisherpeople and kids present on the scene, to make distracting noises. And of course, there were ducks. And as we will find out later, at least one rabbit.

Julie and Jenny held on to Mason's brand new collar and attempted to corral his enthusiasm for the ducks. Mason was supposed to be exercised for the photography session, and Julie and Jennifer attempted to oblige. Mason dragged the two girls around the lake, just once, until their arms about dropped off. Then the girls entered a more secluded wooded area to get a rest.

Enter Heidi, talented and organized pet photographer, and her wagonload of photo gear. Heidi's assistant was traveling, so she was by herself on a day that should have been easy. Three or four shots were taken near the wooded area. Then, the whole entourage attempted to move to a spot where the light and backdrop were different. Jenny loosely held the lead. Heidi held her camera. And Julie trailed behind.

Enter the rabbit.  Mason broke free and raced into the woods. Heidi attempted to grab him as he raced past her, and got a minor hand injury for her efforts. Heidi stayed behind with the equipment and Julie's personal belongings, and Julie and Jenny tore into the woods after Mason.


Jenny and Julie traced the contours of the river bed, leaping over brush and fallen tree trunks, dodging brush, poison oak, and possible snakes, slipping and sliding down the muddy creek bed. At one point, both of Julie's shoes stuck in the bed, and started to sink, while her body, barefoot, propelled forward. She got one shoe back on, and had to dig the other out of the muck, after briefly considering abandoning the shoe to its murky grave. A slimy, algae-laden substance filled the shoe. She tipped it upside down to empty it, then put it back on and scrambled up the bank and into the adjacent meadow.

Reenter the rabbit, followed by Mason. There was a failed attempt to tackle Mason. The rabbit, Mason, and Julie went back into the woods. Losing the rabbit and Mason, Julie attempted to locate Jennifer, who had followed the trail past the woods end into a farm pasture. After touching base, Julie turned back and traveled towards the park via the meadow.

Heidi was worried about the safety of the dog, Jenny, and Julie. Would the photo session be a bust?

Enter Mason.  Julie caught him. Breathing sighs of relief and swelling with pride, Julie soon received yet another lesson in humility.

Exit Mason.  He was out of his collar, and the race was back on, into the adjoining housing development. Many of the houses didn't have fences. Julie followed Mason into the development and searched seventeen back yards and more than a few open garages. Eluding suspicion for breaking and entering, she followed the sounds of barking dogs, entering further and further into the subdivision.

Enter Jennifer in Julie's vicinity.  Julie handed off the collar and they split up.

Enter Jennifer with Mason on his lead.  He was panting and exhausted, passively letting Jenny walk him back to the park. Jennifer was the heroine.

Jenny kisses her dog, Mason

Heidi had packed up the equipment and gone looking for everyone else in her vehicle. Julie called her and she came back to the park after being reassured that Mason and Jennifer were safely back. Everybody regrouped after the 45 minute dog chase. Julie briefly entertained the idea of running the dog, and herself, through the adjacent car wash.

The photo session was back on track. A few more shots were attempted on the bridge. Mason steadfastly refused to cooperate. Heidi reminded Julie and Jennifer not to let go of the lead, and to keep it wrapped around their wrists. We decided to move to a different spot.

Reenter the ducks.  Julie was holding the lead, but was no match for Mason's ancient duck-hunting sensibility. Mason soon dove into the lake after them.


As Mason swam back to shore for a towel dry, Julie considered taking up drinking. And not beer. Something with far more alcohol content. Heidi adapted to the unfolding drama with a cool head and a calm presence. A pet photographer that can handle this could likely handle anything! And Jennifer was lit up with happiness to be reunited with her dog. Her attitude made the rest of the day possible.

By now, the sun had started to set, and the light softened. Mason was still somewhat uncooperative, but tired from his pursuit of rabbits and ducks, so he could be managed. Then Heidi made magic happen, in the fading light. The resulting shots surpass all the hopes and dreams we shared.


A look back after the curtain closed.  Despite the exhaustion, it could all be fixed with a hot bath and a prevailing sense of the humor of life.  All was well that ended well.


Julie exhibits the muddy mess from chasing Mason through the woods.
Julie exhibiting the after effects from chasing Mason through the wooded, muddy area

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(c) 2013 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Heidi Marcinik.

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