A tribute to MacKenzie: These posts are always the most difficult and I write this with tears in my eyes and an overwhelming heaviness in my heart. The world has lost another beautiful soul…MacKenzie, a stunning 12 year old Shepard. I received a call on Tuesday afternoon. The voice on the other end of the phone carried a sense of sadness. Jennifer, who is a veterinarian, told me she had recently diagnosed her beloved dog, MacKenzie with cancer and wanted to schedule… a photo session as MacKenzie didn’t have much time left. I made a few calls, re-arranged my schedule a bit and we met that same evening for the photo session. I met Jennifer, MacKenzie and Jennifer’s wonderful parents at the location. MacKenzie made my heart smile instantly. She was happy, her eyes sparkled and she had the gentlest of souls. She stayed close to her momma and you could tell that was her number one love! She wasn’t much for the squeaky toy, but she did like my husband’s antics. She and her human mom made for beautiful models and she was having a good day. She filled my heart with hope…hope that she would beat this disease. We took our time and let MacKenzie rest, we smiled, and we fought back tears. At the end of the session, Jennifer shared with me that MacKenzie was wearing the bandage because her blood would not clot after the IV and that she hadn’t responded to treatment. Still…my heart had hope. I heard of how Jennifer got MacKenzie as a 4 month old pup. She grew up in North Carolina and she and Jennifer had recently moved to Alaska. How she had been Jennifer’s best friend and loved to go for rides with Grandpa. The love and bond that she had with Jennifer and her human grandparents was beautiful. You could see that MacKenzie lived a life of much love! We said our goodbyes, but MacKenzie and Jennifer were heavy in my thoughts all evening. The next day, I received a text from Jennifer. MacKenzie had taken a turn for the worse that morning and had crossed rainbow bridge. My heart sank when I read the message and I cried like a baby while I edited her photos. My heart was breaking for Jennifer. Here are just a few of the photos from her “Golden Heart, Gray Muzzle” session.
I dedicate today to MacKenzie and her loving spirit. RIP sweet angel. Though our time together was short, you left paw prints on my heart that I will always cherish.
To Jennifer: Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss of beautiful MacKenzie. I hope you are able to find comfort in your heart through the memories you shared with her.
Please keep Jennifer and her parents in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Give your dogs an extra hug tonight…hold them tight!
These dogs are absolutely UH-MAZING!! And WATER SHOTS, my absolute FAVORITE!! I was the photographer for the Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association– NAHRA test here in Alaska. As a dog photographer, I love capturing the drive, focus and spirit of the hunting dogs. I, of course, made certain to capture the water test portion. And wow, these dogs do it with style! The dogs all did wonderful and I was surrounded by so many great dogs with enormous drive, dedication and love for what they do. I had a blast!!
Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association is truly an amazing organization. Their mission is to help hunters develop better hunting dogs through training and testing. They encourage family involvement in all of their retriever events. If you are looking for a organization that is dedicated to hunters and their hunting retrievers, I highly recommend you become a member of Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association.
I had the pleasure of spending another day with some amazing dogs and handlers. It is so exciting and heartwarming to see these dogs doing what they love. Their spirit, determination and passion is truly incredible! I look forward in being part of their incredible journey throughout the season. I love being a dog photographer in Alaska! The hunting dog spirit is truly alive in Alaska!
A huge shout out to Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association and Baron, at Team Wetland Retrievers for the wonderful work you do for the dogs, handlers and the gun dog sport. Despite the clouds and sprinkles, a great time was had by all! These are just a few of the photos.
Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association is a non-profit organization and a member of the The North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA). They are dedicated to hunters and their hunting retrievers. If you are interested in the gun dog sport and spending quality time with you working dog breed, I highly recommend Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association (MSGDA). Belonging to MSGDA is a great way to meet people who love hunting dogs and love to hunt; to share training techniques and tips with other members while enjoying the great Alaska outdoors; and to spend time with your favorite hunting companion. Whether you are new to retriever training or an old hand at it, MSGDA has something to offer to everyone. If you are a dog lover and support the hunting dog sport, I hope you will consider making an in-kind donation to such a worthwhile organization or become a member.
“HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY, COOPER! Vibrant and beautiful is your heart, your soul….as is our love, friendship, bond, and our journey. Thank you for the smiles, the unconditional love and for being my guardian angel. I look forward to many more sunsets with you. Now let’s go get you a big birthday doggy bone!”
Cooper is a very special dog and is a huge part of my heart and soul for so many reasons. And it was through him that The Journey Photography and logo concept was born. I wanted to convey much about, my bond with Cooper and my personal life, which I don’t often share. I’m quite certain that many of you can connect with the concept of the new logo. The concept is “the journey of paw prints on my heart”. I have had a life long journey surrounded by the blessings of many dogs…often a pack at a time. When I found myself facing health issues, it was 4 paws who came to my rescue…an amazing chocolate lab who is now my medical alert service dog. He has taught me that anything in life is possible…and it was through him that I decided to chase my dream and become a photographer, with a focus on my love for dogs. And that is how the Journey Photography was born. Dogs are truly amazing creatures…they can teach you how to love better, to become a better person, and to never.give.up.hope! And in my case, my guardian angel happens to have 4 paws.
Being a dog photographer in Alaska, has so much to offer. Beautiful landscapes, amazing sunsets…and of course, our amazing fur kids. Here are a few photos taken of Cooper to celebrate his 4th Birthday. And we even got a couple of his little brother, Archer. We are truly blessed!!
WOW, these dogs are so AMAZING!! Just another reason I love being a dog photographer in Alaska!! To watch these dogs, see their spirit, their drive and how they absolutely love what they do…it just fills my heart happiness! The hunting dog spirit is truly alive in Alaska! They are all absolutely incredible and the bond with their handlers is heartwarming! I look forward to seeing them throughout the season.
A huge shout out to Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association for all the training and opportunities they offer the bird dogs and handlers, as well as allowing me to be part of it all again this year. I’m honored to support such a great organization! Here are a few photos from a recent training session.
Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association is a member of the The North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA). They are dedicated to hunters and their hunting retrievers. Simply stated, they want to help hunters develop better hunting dogs through training and testing.
3 x beauty…3 x energy…3 x fun = Amazing! Meet the stunning Boxer trio:
Zoe’, Miss Buttons, and Jasmine. These 3 ladies each have very unique personalities, but one thing is for sure…they are all 3 high energy, fun loving and will steal your heart!! And their FurMom is an awesome lady! This family is the definition of amazing!
Thank you, Diana for spending the afternoon with me and sharing your 3 beautiful boxers! It was a perfect day!! And thank you for taking part in the S.C.A.R.F. Project! A donation will be made to Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue on your behalf.
Below are the stories about each of these amazing girls, as told by their mom, Diana:
Zoe (green scarf)
Zoe is almost 4 years old. I found Zoe on Alaska’s List in June 2012. There had been an ad for a litter of boxer puppies in Wasilla in May but wasn’t sure I wanted to have two dogs again. Jasmine was starting to get very clingy so I figured she needed a sister to play with so I found the Alaska’s List ad again and called. Leanne said that they had one female left and only because the lady who originally wanted her had never owned a boxer before and decided to back out. All of the other puppies in the litter were going to boxer experienced homes. I think someone told this lady what a handful boxers can be and I say that Zoe would have proven them right! A friend and I drove to Wasilla with Jasmine to meet Leanne and puppy. Two puppies came out of the garage and I fell in love. Jasmine got out of the car and it was love at first sight for Jasmine and Zoe. They have been bonded since day one and Jasmine is the typical big sister and Zoe can be the bratty little sister. Zoe can be leash reactive with other dogs but does well in doggie day care and she has her friends she loves to play with. Zoe is crazy and sweet and stubborn. She also thinks that she has to patrol our condo building and let everyone know that other dogs are not allowed on ‘her’ property. Typical boxer behavior is one dog sitting on the other. In our house, and at camp, Zoe uses Jasmine as her couch. Jas allows it but Zoe has tried it with other dogs and that doesn’t work too well. As you know, Zoe recently had her ACL in her right knee repaired so she hasn’t been able to go to camp, running, or swimming. She hasn’t let it effect her spunk and sweetness and cuddles as close as she can with me at night (all three dogs sleep with me). Getting Zoe was another great decision I made even though she can be a handful! I don’t think Zoe is afraid of anything and is full of love and kindness for me, Jasmine, Buttons, and the grandkids. And her tongue is too long to fit into her mouth and it’s the cutest thing to see but not so cute when she surprises you by sticking her tongue in your mouth.
Miss Buttons (pink scarf)
Buttons, or as I call her, Miss Buttons, (age 7) was surrendered to Alaskan Animal Rescue Friends (AARF) with two other boxers (ages 6 & 4) by their owner. My co-worker would get Facebook news feeds from this rescue group and would show me all the dogs up for adoption. At one time there was a male boxer (Charlie?) in need of foster care but with working full-time and already having two young boxers, I didn’t think adding another dog would be a good idea. Sometime in April, my co-worker showed me the three boxers up for adoption at AARF. I was getting ready to retire at the end of April so I said I’d think about checking out the dogs. I did visit the three boxers at the AARF kennel and talked to Bev a little bit about the dogs. I knew that I couldn’t take all three but I also didn’t want to split them up. Bev said that the two younger ones (male and female) were bonded and Buttons was the ‘third wheel’. I brought Jasmine and Zoe to the next adoption clinic so that they could meet Buttons and see how they got along. During that meet in the fenced area I asked the volunteer if Charlie had been adopted. Unfortunately Charlie and another dog got into a fight, Charlie had surgery but didn’t survive. He thinks Charlie was so stressed out that he couldn’t pull through. That made up my mind right then and there that I was going to adopt Buttons. I brought Buttons home mid-May 2015 and have had only one second of “uh oh maybe this wasn’t a good idea”. That was on day one when I tried to coax her into a kennel for the night. After a vet check, grooming at Pet Smart, and $1100. worth of dental work (cleaning and extractions), she was feeling much better and I had no more second thoughts. I was worried that Zoe wouldn’t want Buttons to actually live with us (playing is one thing, but living here is another thing). It’s actually been Zoe who has not given up on Buttons and being a little sister, Zoe bugged Buttons into playing. Jasmine was growled at a few times by Buttons and Jas would tune her out and ignore her for days. Zoe was also growled at by Buttons but that didn’t faze Zoe at all. Zoe was going to get Buttons to play no matter how long it took. Buttons was signed up for doggie day camp but because she’s older (7) and not as crazy as the other two, Buttons is in another playroom with all sizes of dogs that are a little calmer than the large, rowdy dogs. She loves going to camp and gets so excited when we pull up on Wednesdays. She also loves, loves kids! I have four grandchildren and she shakes with excitement when she sees them. Her favorite is my 11 year old grandson Austin. Buttons has progressed so much since May. I think the stress of being given up, spending time in a loud, smelly kennel with concrete floors, and not knowing what was going on was a lot for her. But she is loved by me, Jas, and Zoe and knows she’s home for good. She loves camp, the dog park, dog food shopping, and going to the swimming pool so she can walk around with her life vest on but she won’t go in the water. She is one of the sweetest, loving, sociable dogs I’ve ever met. There are still so many things about her that I don’t know and I am always learning something about her. She fits right in and gets spoiled just like the other two. Buttons is like the dog momma the way she cleans the other two. When Zoe came home from her knee surgery, both Buttons and Jasmine stuck very close to Zoe. She’s been a wonderful addition and I’m very happy that my co-worker showed me Button’s picture.
Jasmine (purple scarf)
I found Jasmine in February 2012 on Anchorage Craig’s List. I had just lost my male boxer, Rocky, in November 2011 a day after he turned 14. And just a year before that I lost my old Boston Terrier. I was visiting my parents for week in February 2012 in Arizona and looking online for a boxer puppy to bring back to Anchorage. My house was just too quiet without a dog so I was checking rescue sites, Craig’s List, and shelters. Three days before I was due to head back to Anchorage I checked Anchorage CL is the “Sale” section (not in the ‘Pets’ section) and there was a 5-month old brindle boxer. I figured I would call when I got back home and did that on my first day home. Josh had purchased this puppy from a breeder in Michigan and had her shipped up for a Christmas present for his two young daughters. Unfortunately Josh’s ex-wife was moving out of state and did not want to take the dog. Josh worked on the North Slope and couldn’t keep her. He did say that he had quite few calls but they just weren’t the right home. I told him that “I was the right home”. We met up on Saturday at my house so he could meet the turtles and iguana and his daughters could meet me. Jasmine has been with me for four years (this month) and she has been the greatest dog! She is even tempered, good natured, playful but can get fierce if someone or something she perceives as a threat to me or Zoe and Buttons. She loves my grandchildren, going to doggie day care, running at Connors Bog, and is learning to swim at K-9 Aquatics. She’s afraid of ladders, vacuums, or any type of furniture that gets moved. She will tear up my mail and newspapers if she gets a chance. She seems to think the mail is out to get her. We call her Jasmine, Jazzy Jas, Chunky Jas, Chunky Butt, and Sister Jas. She’s the best sister to Zoe and Buttons. She brought back laughter and fun into my house after taking care of Rocky (he had degenerative myelopathy and was unable to use his back legs). I also knew that Rocky would have loved Jasmine (and of course Zoe and Buttons).
Welcome to the Journey Photography. My name is Cris and I am a dog photographer based in Alaska. My goal as a photographer is to capture the very essence of the dog’s spirit and personality, as well as the special bond between them and their family. I specialize in actions shots, portraits, lifestyle and themed sessions (PAWternity, birthday, announcements and more).
I have had a lifelong journey surrounded by dogs and my love for them runs deep. If you’ve found your way here then I already know we share a love for dogs. So get comfy, kick up your feet, snuggle with your furry friend and take a look around. Check out my photo galleries featuring some of the amazing dogs I have photographed and see my photography style. Scroll down to see recent blogs and read a few stories of some super awesome dogs. You are sure to smile along the way.
From paws up action shots to sentimental portraits, as well as fun and creative themed session, the on location basic package offers it all and is sure to capture the unique spirit of your dog. I also offer a special package for the faithful senior dogs in your life, “Golden Heart, Grey Muzzle” and a special puppy package with the “Grow With Me” sessions. Check out my pricing and services section for details.
If you are interested in professional portraits or wall art of your beloved fur family, let’s talk about the amazing images we can create together of the four paw love in your life. Photographs that you will treasure for a life time. Contact me for details or for special requests.
Paw prints upon your heart…embrace the journey! Thank you for stopping by! ~ Cris
Be sure to follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheJourneyPhotographybyCris
Serving Alaska areas of Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River and Anchorage.
WOW, this guy!!! Help me welcome Sir Lancelot, also known as Lance, to the S.C.A.R.F Project club. What a great personality…and.so.many.faces…a few of these need captions! He loves to ride in the truck and gets much attention. He LOVES to run and chase his toys…and of course, a plop in the stream after playtime. This 168lb gentle giant and his mom were a blast to photograph and spend the day with.
Cortney and Lance, thank you both for supporting the S.C.A.R.F Project and making it a wonderful day! A donation will be made to Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue on your behalf. Thank you both, again!
Below is Lance’s story as told by his mom, Cortney, and she has included a photo of him when she brought him home as a pup:
“I’d been debating for a couple of months adopting a dog in the summer of 2012. A co-worker started emailing me pictures from the pound and then came a picture from an Alaska Classified’s posting of 5 little St. Bermastiff puppies lined up on an outdoor swing set. It was too hard to pass up, and after a concert at the Alaska State Fair I met the breeder in Wasilla and picked up this 18-lb adorable puppy I had chosen a few weeks earlier. I really didn’t take the vet seriously when they told me he would grow at 5 lbs/week, but he did. I think he’s finally reached his adult weight at 169 lbs. Sir Lancelot “Lance” has been by my side the last 3 ½ years. We have hiked the Winner Creek Trail, strolled up to Byron Glacier numerous times, hiked to Thunderbird Falls, played at numerous dog parks in Anchorage, swam at AK K9 Aquatics, played in Seward and have many more adventures when he’s not chasing tennis balls or one of his 30 or so toys. I don’t know how I got so lucky that day in August. He’s such a sweet and loveable dog and keeps the toes warm at night.”
Beautiful Miss Ruby…our newest S.C.A.R.F. Project superstar. From the instant I met Ruby, I could see the energetic sparkle in her eyes, her big heart and gentle soul. I had a blast photographing the amazing Miss Ruby and her beautiful mom, Shannon. These two are the perfect duo; fun loving, with a special kindness and heartfelt beauty. We not only did posed photos, but candid of running and playing in the leaves. They are a dream…they seriously should be models!! Such a perfect day!
Thank you, Shannon for participating in the S.C.A.R.F. Project. A donation will be made on your behalf to Alaska Dog and Puppy rescue, as well as your additional donation to the cause. And thank you and Ruby for such an amazing day!!
Here is Ruby’s story as told by her Mom, Shannon:
“In December of 2013, I came across an ad on Craigslist that had 3 puppies needing a home. I immediately knew the one with the blue eye and the freckles on her nose was the one for me. She was the cutest little puppy I had ever seen. I drove out to Wasilla that same night, picked her up, and immediately fell in love.
Ruby will be 2 years old at the end of October and she has brought me so much happiness. She cuddles up to me under the covers every night when we go to sleep, LOVES her squeaky toys, and her favorite treats are carrots and bananas. I look forward to creating many more memories with my baby Ruby.”
Oh, Henry…what an amazing guy you are! Henry has such a sparkle in his eyes, just beaming with love and devotion. And you could see the puppy return when he played in the water. I was drawn to Henry from the time I heard his story and knew he was a special dog. I had such a great time meeting and photographing Henry and his owner. These two have such a heartwarming bond. A donation will be made to Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue in honor of Henry. And a huge thank you to Tamara for the additional donation to ADPR. Thank you for participating in the S.C.A.R.F Project fundraiser.
Here is Henry’s story as told by his owner, Tamara.
”I found Henry at the Matsu animal shelter back in June of 2003, they had almost given up hope in finding him a home because he had a grapefruit size hernia in his belly. They had found him and his brother in a ditch abandoned. His brother had died. They think they had gotten hit by a car .
Well I fell in love immediately.
I booked his surgery for two weeks out and was able to adopt him in July. I was told to try to have him rest and not to let him run, however when he came home he was so playful and just bounced everywhere he went. Well 13 days went by and his hernia disappeared. His surgery was set for first thing in the morning but when they called to confirm I told them it went away. They said there was No way it would just ” go away” on its own. I took him in first thing as planned and the vet and all the techs were amazed by him. It had indeed just “went away”.
Henry has not left my side since. He’s been such a great dog, he’s never done a bad thing twice. He is the kind of dog that knows what you’re going to do almost before you do, you grab the broom and he goes to bed, you go for the vacuum and he moves off the carpet. You open the lid to the trash can and he lowers his head as to not look in. He has to be in the bathroom with me when I shower but the instant I open the shower curtain he refuses to look at me while naked. ( not sure if I should be offended by that one)
Now even though he’s only 12 he is an old dog, his hernia showed back up and it’s inoperable due to his age. His back legs are weak and he’s losing weight, these are the last photos of Henry. He has been the love of my life, my best friend, my protector. I only hope everyone gets to have a great dog like him.” ~Tamara Mill