I’ve got into the habit of taking portraits of our two Beaglets each year around their birthdays. I like to have a record of how they’re changing through the years, and anyway it’s usually good fun. This time around though it proved to be a little more painful, and a lot more costly, than on previous occasions.
I started out with an action shot of the Biggly boy doing what he does best – grabbing socks. I turned our little gym room into a set with a washing line, socks and old-school sprung wooden pegs, and then when all the lighting was ready, let his Biggleship in to see it. I was somewhat concerned that being a contrary little Beagle he might just refuse to go after the socks while the camera was on him, but no, he got straight to it. In fact he snatched the socks with such enthusiasm that I got hit right on the forehead by one of the spring pegs!
Back when he was a very little boy, Biggles used to be possessive and growly over anything he grabbed, but with the help of a behaviorist we turned this around and the “Biggles Exchange Program” was born. Ever since then he’s been the perfect little canine entrepreneur, eagerly gathering up loose socks and other unguarded items and exchanging them for treats and tummy tickles. In times of recession (like when we got a bit better at picking up dirty clothes and popping them into the “to be washed” basket), he adapted, learning to open my underwear drawer and nicking clean socks instead. So I guess it’s understandable that a few lights and cameras wouldn’t put him off a solid business opportunity!
When we moved on to his more traditional portrait session, Biggles was equally business-like. Initially he only let me have one click of the shutter before he dived down off his comfy buffet and demanded a biscuit in payment. It took some pretty tough negotiation involving dried fish cubes and part of a chew before I finally got him to hold still for three shots between treats, but it was worth it.
And this is one of the outtakes, but he looked so cute I decided to keep it..
Beanie – who’s going to be seven(!) in less than a month – was the most surprising this time around. In previous years she behaved like a stroppy fashion model, complaining about the conditions and the amount of time the shoot was taking. Judging by the amount of wailing and woofing that occurred, I think she also had dreams of embarking on a singing career. This time around however she was almost perfectly behaved, calmly jumping up onto the buffet and holding still for as long as I wanted. I did say “almost perfectly behaved” of course; at one point while I was reviewing her shots she stuck her snout in my pocket and nicked my stash of poo bags. I recovered them, but the next day when putting said bags to use I discovered that she’d put some holes in them. Still, one very thorough hand wash later I was good to go again. Word to the wise: never shake hands with me when I’ve been walking the dogs!