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Rescued Me ~ The Story of Yuki and Pepper

***disclaimer:  before images may be shared with each post, which may be sad and disturbing.  I will NOT post graphic images but by sharing the lifestyle where these animals came from, I pray that it will help bring into light all the rescues that need loving, forever homes.  They need your help.**

Now onto my first story….

I first met Yuki & Pepper’s humans many years ago through a local school and sport where our kids took classes together.  Over the last couple of years, their mom and I have been getting to know one another a little better, talking about our kids and our furbabies.  They are all such a sweet family.  Very down to earth and just super pleasant.  For a while now, I’ve been wanting to photographer her family and a couple of weeks ago, I finally had the chance.  I was SO EXCITED to meet her pitbull mixes as I adored all her photos that she posted and their personalities, I could already tell through the photos, WERE AWESOME and FUN!

Their mom met me at the door of their home (as they may have been timid coming into my studio) and all I could see was two beautiful dogs with super wiggly butts, greeting me as well!  I couldn’t get enough of them and I haven’t even walked through their door yet. 🙂  I started taking the dogs’ portraits inside, so they could get to know me a little better.  Yuki (the white one), was a little timid with my camera but she came around pretty quickly.  Then we went outside for some adorable images as well.  By the end of the session, Pepper (the darker one), happily sat on my feet while I talked to her mom and dad..and I was told by them, that was the greatest of ways to let me know they accepted and liked me.  My heart couldn’t be happier.

I may have tried to whisper into Pepper’s ears that they could sneak into my car to come home with me.  lol

And now… are questions that I ask the families and the stories of their beloved furbabies.  Learn where they came from, how far they’ve come (as you can clearly see their before photos) and just how amazing these dogs are!

ME: What are the names and ages of your furbabies?  How long have you had them?

MOM:  Yuki (the white one) is 4 and Pepper (the darker one) is 3.  We got Yuki when he was about 2 and Pepper at 6 months.  They are Pitbull/Bully mixes.

ME:  Did you keep their name that they had before they were rescued?  What made you choose their (now) name?

MOM:  We changed their names.  Yuki was given the name of Nero at the pound so he only had that name for an couple of months.  Yuki means ‘snow’ in Japanese.  Pepper’s name was given by us instead of her shelter name of Kyra because she has salt and pepper flecks on her fur.

ME:  Why is rescuing so near and dear to your heart?

MOM:  I can’t see creating more dogs when there is such an overpopulation problem and dogs of every breed, sex and age are available to people if they just look for them.  Too many beautiful healthy dogs are put down to look the other way.



ME:  What rescue (and/or shelter) did you rescue your furbaby from?

MOM:  Both were in Clayton County Animal Shelter in Georgia, a high kill shelter.  Both were pulled by New England Humane Society, and Grateful Doggies Canine Freedom Transport delivered them to us.  The woman that fostered Pepper (who’s initials are LJ)  before we had her and nursed her back to health, she’s the reason that Pepper is alive!!

ME:   How did you find your dogs?  Website?  Word of mouth?

MOM:  I found Pepper doing a search for adoptable dogs in Rhode Island.  When I saw her picture I called in, and they said she was on the transport to RI as we spoke.   After we adopted her, I connected with  Georgia rescue groups on social media, and then Yuki‘s picture came up on a list of dogs that would be put to sleep in the next couple of days and I zoomed in on him, contacted New England Humane Society to ask if they could pull him for me and they arranged for transport.

(Pepper is on the right below, before adoption)  🙁

Yuki when he was rescued

ME:  How did you know they were the one for your family?

MOM:  Honestly, I fall in love with dogs pretty much at first sight, and it would take a lot for me not to enjoy them, LOL. I love all their little quirks and what other people might view as faults, and I guess because of that they are very grateful and loving so it just kind of grows organically from there.

ME:   Describe what the adjustment period was like for your DOG(s) once they came to your home.  What was their fear?  How long did it take them to overcome the uncertainty (if any)? What was their safe space or what made them feel safe?

MOM:  Pepper was very scared and fearful for the first few days. Of everyone. She has been through so much in such a short time and seen so many transitions and we all knew that and just kept very quiet and let her have her space. In about a week she started to become playful and more trusting of us. It helped that she was still so young.

Yuki was older and it seemed like he had come from an abusive past.  He was cautious but hopeful. We also stayed very quiet, I gave him a crate that he could retreat into without anyone looking at him or bothering him. We just wanted him to know that he was now safe and we didn’t make any demands of him. Yuki and pepper did not meet for a few days as we kept them at separate parts of the house and let them sniff each other‘s toys and spaces while the other was away and we made a slow introduction. And they have become best friends and they are both extremely loving goofy and sweet dogs.

ME:  Describe what the adjustment period was like for YOU having them in your home, now part of your family.

MOM:  I am impatient with people, but have all the patience in the world for animals, so it came very easily for me and I didn’t feel like I’m the one that needed  the time.  I was all too happy to have them and just  wanted to ensure their happiness.

ME:  Describe what your furbaby’s temperament and personality is like.  What’s their favorite thing to do?  What is something that they do that makes you laugh?  Do they have a strange habit that just makes them unique?

MOM:  Pepper is a dignified lady, calm and quiet inside.  As soon as she is outside, it seems a flip has been switched and she romps, rolls and gets the zoomies like a little puppy.    She is not a kissy dog, but when she is overcome with joy or sentiment, she will bestow a tiny kiss upon your nose so it feels like she is granting her favor upon you.  She steals tastes from your coffee and will run away with your hat and scarves when you take them off.

Yuki is the proverbial brat. He gets jealous, and steals toys from his sister, is very vocal and in your face.  He will wrap himself around you, hug you and lick you until you can barely breathe.   When he starts to get sleepy, he grabs his soft blanket and will suck on it  like a pacifier.

ME:  If you could try to convince someone who was on the fence about rescuing, what would you say to them?  How has it changed you and your lives?

MOM:  I would tell everyone to spend a day in a kill shelter to see how these abandoned and unwanted dogs wait every day for a kind human to take them away from there and to love them. I would tell them to look at social media pages of kill shelters and see all the beautiful dogs looking at you through the cages and I would ask them to be a voice for the voiceless.  I would tell them that new puppies and purebred dogs have issues and health problems just like any dog from a shelter could. I would ask them to give them a chance.

(Photo of Yuki, Pepper and one of their humans)

***C, Thank you for sharing their story and for welcoming me into your home. ~ Teresa
**For those interested in having your rescued dog/cat photographed and their story told, please send me an email through this blog.  I cannot wait to work with you and connect with your beloved furbabies.

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Introducing: “Rescued Me ~ A Portrait Series”

Hello world!  It’s been quite some time since I last blogged.  I love, and miss, writing so one of my biggest goals this year is to continue to blog every few days with something new and inspiring.  With that being said…..welcome to my newest project that is near and dear to my heart.

When you rescue a dog (or cat), many times we tell ourselves that we rescued them.  But as time passes, we also realize…that they rescued us just as much as we did them.

Just under 2 years ago, my family and I rescued 2 dogs from 2 Hands Saving 4 Paws .  But their story will be told in the near future.  😉  I am (im)patiently waiting for one last piece of my project to be finished before I begin and I cannot wait to unveil it!

WHAT IS THIS PROJECT, YOU MAY ASK?  Well, for those who have animals that you’ve rescued (or plan on rescuing), you’ll want in on this!  I will be offering HEAVILY discounted portrait sessions for your pets in my new photography studio here in RI, in exchange for sharing their personal stories online of where they came from and their journey to your home (don’t worry, I will have a series of questions that I will ask you in addition to anything else you would like to share).  I will also ask that when you book a session, to bring something to be donated to a local rescue.  I will be reaching out to a few in our area to see what they continuously need and will have that list posted.

The first Rescued Me story will be shared within the next day or two so be sure to keep your eyes out for that post!  Just wait until you see these beauties!!

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Grand Opening!!!

Teresa Sweet of Teresa Sweet Photography and Stephanie Pilkauskas of Classic Beauty Photography are hosting a Studio Grand Opening on Saturday, February 15th from 1:00-4:00!

Please join us for some light refreshments, AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS desserts from Queen B’s Cakery, mingle and who knows, we may have some giveaways or promotions to offer there as well!

We’ve decided to join forces to create a studio that would cater to all of your photography needs. Classic Beauty Photography specializes in Boudoir & Weddings (and also offers hair and makeup for your sessions). Teresa Sweet Photography specializes in Newborns, Children and Family Portraiture.

***Please feel free to share, comment and tag anyone who may be interested as well!

Parking: There is a small lot in front of the mill (near the diner restaurant) and a bigger lot on the side of the mill.

ENTER THE DOOR TO THE LEFT OF THE DINER. Take the stairs on your left to 2nd floor. Take left down hallway and another left.


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Business Update for 2016

I cannot believe that at the end of this year, it will have been TWO years since I’ve been in my studio here at the mill!  It’s crazy how fast the time has flown, how many families and little ones that have come to me, to be able to watch them grow up in front of my lens.  I’m truly blessed to have met these new families, as well as continue to photograph my current and past families and friends.  I have a HUGE announcement to make for the upcoming 2016 year.

After the new year, I will be stopping my lease on the studio for one year. Don’t get me wrong, having the studio has been the BEST decision for my business for the last two years but I want to slow down for one year for a few reasons.

Most importantly,  my youngest son, Tyler will be starting full day Kindergarten in the fall of next year and  I don’t want to look back and regret not having the time with him and my other boys while I can.  These years are flying by and I am already regretting all the things I’ve missed because of my chaotic work schedule.  It’s so tough finding a balance.

Secondly, I am SO busy where I’m at the point where I cannot keep it all up by myself.  I need help.  So I’m also going to take this year to fully train my assistant, Melissa. She’s doing great with the photography aspect and I  will be showing her the business side of it, editing, marketing, designing, phone/emails, etc.

During the year, I will be keeping an eye out for spaces that are closer to home. Once the fall hits of next year, I’ll be in a better mind frame (as all boys will be in school).  If I decide to continue doing this full time, I’ll definitely open another space but MUCH closer to home if I can find the perfect space in the Smithfield area.

This business is VERY hard to succeed in but I have to say I’m very lucky and blessed to have the issue where I am TOO busy and not the other way around. So I decided it’s best to take a small step back, regroup and take the time to fully train Melissa so I can figure out exactly what I should do in the next year.

I’ll still be taking on regular clients here and there but won’t be marketing as much for new clients. So for those interested in sessions in the new, upcoming year, I will still be booking but less than my normal amount for sessions each month.  For my clients, friends and fellow photographers who constantly refer me to others, please continue to do so.  If I can fit them in, I’d be happy to photograph them.  And if I cannot take the booking, I have a small handful of trusted and very talented friends (professional photographers) that I can highly recommend.

If anyone has any concerns, you are more than welcome to contact me through my email.  As always, thank you all for your continued support, encouragement and blessings! 🙂

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As a Mom, One Day…

As a Mom, One Day…


I think everyone, at some point when they were a child, wished they were a grown up.  Because life seemed so much more fun, more freeing and you could ‘do whatever you wanted to do’ because you were BIG!  Then as you grew up, became an adult with responsibilities, you realize how easy you had it and sometimes you wish to be a child again.  To be carefree and your biggest concern was what friend to play with, who you were going to sit with at lunchtime or what fun tv show to watch or game  you were going to play coming  home from school.

Being a full time stay at home mom with a full time photography business, and a husband with a crazy work schedule, I know how stressful life can be.  Daily routines can be chaotic.  Worrying about your family life, after school activities, sports, appointments, classes, work and the list goes on and on.  It’s so hard not to get caught up in the rut of everyday life.  With most family life these days, things are ALWAYS on the go and it’s so difficult not to get stressed out.  Your stress can be something as simple as waking up late because your alarm didn’t go off and you’re rushed for the entire day, your child isn’t listening or tantrums are happening all day long or maybe your day had some serious stress and sadness.  No matter what kind of day you have, or I have, I try to find the smallest thing to be thankful for because one day, you’ll realize that it’s the small things in life that truly matter.  All the crazy things your kids do that may drive you absolutely INSANE, you’ll miss them one day.

Because one day, you’ll miss the sleepless nights of feeding your newborn, crying, soothing and rocking them to sleep.

One day you’ll miss diaper changes, even if you JUST put on a clean one.

You’ll miss how independent they want to be as they are  learning to feed themselves with their hands or a spoon and getting it everywhere except in their mouths, while you are running around trying to keep a clean house.

One day, you’ll miss the way your child cries hysterically just because you are leaving the room and they can’t see you anymore.  Even if it’s only for a second.

You’ll miss those days where you can’t even use the bathroom or take a shower, without children knocking or yelling at the door because they want or need something.

One day, you’ll miss the way the simplest thing can lead your child into a fit of giggles that seem to last forever.

You’ll miss their tiny little voices when they repeatedly call out to you “Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!” or “Daddy! Daddy!  Daddy!” for what may seem like every minute of the day and ALL. DAY. LONG and all you want to do is pray for it to stop just so you can have a minute of quiet.

One day, you’ll miss the way your child’s eyes light up at just the sight of you or at the sound of your voice.  To them, there is no greater human being than their mom or dad.  Do you see how much love and power that is to have?

You’ll miss the way your child procrastinates at bedtime because they need one more hug, kiss or even a drink of water.  Only to be stalling because they don’t want their day to end or just to feel your arms around them just one last time before they fall asleep at night.

One day, you’ll miss the way you have to tell siblings to stop talking and giggling at night because it’s bedtime but secretively you tip toe near their door just to hear their innocent or funny stories they are telling each other.

You’ll miss sneaking into their bedroom at night just to give them one last hug or kiss.  To feel their sweet breath on your cheek as they sleep and making sure they are all tucked in, safe and sound.

One day, you’ll miss the pitter patter on the floor in the middle of their night, as their feet scurry to your bedroom…waking you to help them with the bathroom or to crawl into your bed to sleep by your side.

You’ll miss the way they take up 90% of your bed, digging their chilly little toes into your body but loving the way they need to sleep on your pillow so close to you.

One day, you’ll miss waking up before sunrise because they think it’s time to play and get ready for the day.

You’ll miss the piggy back rides after a long, busy day (even though you are so tired as well) because you know their tiny little bodies are even more tired but they also want to feel safe with you.

One day, you’ll miss the temper tantrums or how they whine over the smallest things but to them, it’s the most important thing in the world at that exact moment.

You’ll miss having them fall asleep in the car or on the couch, only to be carried to their beds at night.

One day, you’ll miss answering all their “Why?” questions because they are curious about how everything works and one day, they will realize they will just have to go with the flow, “just because that’s how life is.”  One will never learn about things without wondering why.

You’ll miss the piles of clothes all over the floor, with their dirty clothes thrown in with the clean clothes and the clean clothes tossed back into the dirty laundry.  Same goes for the dirty clothes that are shoved under the bed or in the corner for days, weeks and who knows, maybe even months. 😉

One day, you’ll miss the piles of toys, blocks and even legos that will be the death of you if you step on them.  Seeing them all over the place means they had a day filled with fun, imagination and exploration to grow and become even more inquisitive of how things work and why.

You’ll miss the way the kids fight like cats and dogs but knowing they miss each other if they are apart.

One day, you’ll even miss how they talk back, because they are trying to find their place in the world and figure out who they are and where they stand in this great, big world.

You’ll miss how they constantly have to be reminded to do something, even if you told them 50 times earlier that day.

One day, you’ll miss the way you child kisses or hugs you in a certain “pattern” each and every night (for our 2nd child, he kisses each cheek, then my forehead, chin, nose & lips and then reverses it. 🙂

You’ll miss the frustration over homework because they are a perfectionist and want to learn everything the first time.

One day, you’ll miss their inability to agree on ONE specific thing.  They disagree with each other just to be difficult and be different.  OR you’ll miss the way they have to agree on everything, just because one of them looks up to the other and wants to be just like them.

You’ll miss the look of admiration they give you when you do the smallest thing for them.  They think you are the coolest parent EVER.

One day, you’ll miss the way they act like angels for everyone else but when you bring them home, they are little monsters.

You’ll miss the day where they draw you pictures or make something at school for you or for each other because when they get older, you know all they will ask you for is expensive toys and money.

One day, you’ll miss the way your child tells you “I love you superhero much” (as this is even better than to the moon & back for them) because as they get older, they tend to tell you less.

You’ll miss the way they give you the “Royal Treatment”, as that is better than any day at the spa as they spoil you in only ways they can (tucking you in with blankets, bringing you snacks, massaging your hands, shoulders, putting makeup on you, brushing your hair, etc).

One day, you’ll miss the way they spill half a bottle of milk or juice because they want to show you how big they are and that they can do it all by themselves.

You’ll miss how they want to “help” you clean, cook or whatever with you but you get frustrated because it may slow you down in the process when you just want to get it done quickly.

One day, you miss the way they have to sing the alphabet in order to say the entire thing correctly.

You’ll miss how they sing nursery rhymes but not quite getting all the right words or verses correct and you try so hard to not correct them as they try to figure it out themselves.

One day, you’ll miss how they hold hands with you or each other no matter where they are or who may be watching.

You’ll miss how small they look when they sit on the couch in their footie pajamas or sitting in your bed, snuggled up watching tv.

One day, you’ll miss watching the same episode of their favorite tv show or movie, regardless of how annoying it may be.

You’ll miss the way they want to have sleepovers in the same room, or build a fort even if you don’t have time or if you are too tired to do it.

One day, you’ll miss how your littlest one always wants to take an hour long bath when you know you could be done quickly and get other things done instead.

You’ll miss how they hang onto your leg, dragging themselves on the floor, just to keep you from leaving the house without them.

One day, you’ll miss the sleepless nights when they are sick or have nightmares and your arms are the safest and most comforting place in the world for them.

You’ll miss how it takes 20 extra minutes RIGHT as you are walking out the door, because they need to find a stuffed animal they remembered they got like 5 years ago and that exact second, was their favorite one and they must have it!

One day, you’ll miss all the messy fingerprints and nose prints on the windows and glass doors as it shows you their curiosity of the world that is going by.

You’ll miss how a hug or a kiss can cure absolutely everything when you’re a child.

One day, you’ll miss the MILLIONS of stuffed animals that seem to be taking over their beds and yet, they still have the need and want for more.

Stop for a moment.  Each of these moments listed above and even others that I haven’t listed mean you are so lucky to have experienced them. All the little things that may drive you crazy, try to take a deep breath and treasure these small moments because those are the things that matter most in your child’s life.  I know that I don’t want to look back when I am older and my children are grown and wish I had enjoyed the little things.  Those things that I will miss, I’m making sure that ONE DAY is TODAY.

In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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Rhode Island, MASSACHUSETTS & Connecticut

Maternity• newborn• family