My latest portrait session was with Sera, a 3 year old bundle of joy who was adopted from Austin Pets Alive! Sera was at APA for far too long - over 500 days. Thankfully, that wasn't anywhere near the end of her story. Thanks to the efforts of the committed staff and volunteers at APA, and most of all, the initiative and open-mindedness of this wonderful family, Sera found a loving and supportive home.
I didn't know Sera when she was at APA, but I learned a lot about the things that she has been working on in her new home, and during our portrait session her progress was very evident. For instance, Jenny, one of Sera's people, reports that Sera's "threshold" - or the distance she can be from other dogs while on leash without getting overly excited or barking - has improved dramatically and that she is calmer when left alone at home than she was at first.
I was really struck by Jenny's level of knowledge about Sera and about the behavioral patterns that Sera has demonstrated in the past. Jenny felt a connection to Sera immediately when they first met, and this bond has really grown over the course of their relationship. Having a permanent bond with a caring human is such a wonderful thing for a dog, but that's not the only way in which Sera is lucky. Jenny's knowledge of Sera empowers Sera to live a rich and full life in many ways. Sure - Sera does not like most dogs. But she is wonderful with people, she is doing well in her training, and she brings immeasurable joy to the lives of her people.
People like Jenny are one of the big reasons that shelter's like APA work. Dogs are complex. Every dog has one area or another where they could use some work. Instead of paying attention exclusively to one detail about a dog - in this case that Sera doesn't like to hang out with other dogs - Jenny took notice of the bigger picture. There is a lot to love about Sera. And there is a growing community of people who recognize that "a lot to love" outweighs "a little bit that needs work."
Scroll down to see some of the portraits we made during the session. All of the quotes featured below are from Sera's person Jenny.