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Rescued Me ~ The Story of Mona

I first met Mona’s mom last year when a photographer friend of mine and I put out a model casting call for an expecting mom, as we wanted to do a pretty, snow maternity session.

I have not yet blogged about them, but recently, I’ve been a part of The Front Steps Project in Rhode Island where a bunch of us RI professional photographers, while practicing OVERLY safe social distancing, went to families homes and photographed a portrait of them in front of their homes (while us photographers stayed either in our cars or by the road, using a telephoto lens).  With them receiving a free photo, they in turn purchased a gift card to any local small business of their choice, to help the community during this crazy Covid-19 time.  Just the photographers in our group (there were about 8 or 9), with this project, we were able to help raise $25,000 from all the small businesses the families selected to support.  How AMAZING, right?!

Anyways, back to Mona.  Mona’s mom contacted me to do a Front Steps Project portrait for her kids and mentioned that sweet Mona was a rescue.  So of COURSE, we had to some photos of her in her yard for the Rescued Me series.  She was a little timid at first, happily wagging her tail but staying near her family.  I think she may have been a little leary of my camera as well.   But still practicing social distancing, she came around and I think we got some great images of her. 🙂

Here are questions that I ask the families and the stories of their beloved furbabies.  Learn where they came from, how far they’ve come and just how amazing these dogs are!  Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you….

Mona’s Story

ME:  What is your furbaby’s name and age?  How long have you had him/her?
MOM:  Mona is 5 years old and was adopted on November 1, 2014

ME:  Do you know what breed(s) your furbaby is?
MOM:  Mona is a pit bull and basset hound mix

ME:  Did you keep their name that they had before they were rescued?  What made you choose their (now) name?
MOM:  Her original name was originally Regina and we changed it to Mona. My husband thought that was a good name for her. (ME: I totally agree and it reminds me of the show Who’s The Boss?, which I ADORED watching when I was growing up)!  *look at her all pretty with a flower!*

ME:  Why is rescuing so near and dear to your heart?
MOM:  This is the third animal that my husband and I have adopted. We have adopted two cats and Mona. They told us how Mona was left on the side of the road in a Rubbermaid tote with the lid on in Louisiana. These poor animals need to be loved and feel safe.

ME:  What rescue (and/or shelter) did you rescue your furbaby from?
MOM:  We are not sure of the adoption agency. But we adopted Mona at the Super Dog Adoption Day event held at Clark Farms.

ME:  How did you find your dog(s)?  Website?  Word of mouth?
MOM:  We didn’t find Mona until we were at the event. This event hosts over 300 dogs waiting for their new homes.

ME:  How did you know he/she was the one for your family?
MOM:  We just fell in love with her. She was the only mostly white one out of a litter with mostly black coats. She just stood out to us.

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:  Mona took to us instantly and loved her new home, but she was slow with house training and also suffered from separation anxiety. We tried puppy social classes and some puppy kindergarten. Ultimately she needed some medical support to relieve her anxiety. She has overcome that at this point without any medicine. I think she knows now that we aren’t leaving her.

ME:  Describe what the adjustment period was like for YOU having them in your home, now part of your family.
MOM:  I was a few months pregnant with my oldest daughter when we adopted Mona, so we were in a time crunch to get her trained. By the time the baby came, she was a great fur-sister.

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:  Mona is very mellow. Loves napping and going for walks and playing with her Chuck-It balls. She is so lazy it makes us laugh. We will call her to go out in the morning, and she would rather just keep snoozing than go outside. (ME:  I feel ya, Mona.  Same, girl.  Same)

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:  Adopting a pet isn’t for everyone, but if you are interested, these animals need saving.  Mona gave us a new sense of responsibility before we became actual parents and she is great with both of our kids and brings such joy to our lives.

***K, Thank you for sharing their story and for welcoming me to 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 (as things get back to normal) and connect with your beloved furbabies.

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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…..here 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.

Yuki

Pepper

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.

DO NOT PARK ACROSS THE STREET. YOU WILL BE TOWED.  Hope to see you all there!

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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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Rhode Island, MASSACHUSETTS & Connecticut

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