Tag: retriever

The Golden Gang

A friend of mine has a golden retriever.  His name is Mondego (after the character in Alexander Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo).  He also happens to be the smallest fully-grown male golden I’ve ever met, tipping the scales at something like 40 pounds.

But that’s beside the point.

This dog is a member of an extended family that also loves goldens.  Parents and siblings included, there are 6 golden retrievers… and I got to photograph them.

Oh, and there’s a cockatoo as well.

Here are a few of my favorites.

– Jon

A Project of Furry Proportions

Hooray!  I’ve been waiting quite a while to share this one with you guys, but I had to iron out the finer details first.

Way back in the spring, I began doing video work for The Michigan Animal Rescue League.  The promo spot caught the attention of one of their TheUrbanDogD56aR07aP01ZLsponsors, The Urban Dog, an all-natural dog food and supply store out of Rochester Michigan.

After a fairly lengthy amount of planning and conceptualizing, we settled on an advertising project that would include a promo video, a series of ad posters, and a collection of interviews about the store.

Then the fun started.

Probably a good 80% of the dog owners I know graciously allowed me access to their furry family members.  After a couple months of video, photography, editing, audio selecting, and post processing – the project is locked, loaded, and ready for you, the loving audience.

Also, be sure to swing by TheUrbanDogStore.com to see what they’re all about.  I learned a lot on this project I wish I had known years ago about maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle for your dog.

And I’d also like to mention how massively thankful I am to everyone who helped my out and let me borrow your dogs for the afternoon.

Check it!

Jon

A Legacy For The Ages.

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This Tuesday my golden retriever, Murphy Riley Kopacz, passed away.  He is 11 & 3/4 years old.

It’s sad.  The events of the last 3 weeks cycle through my head on a loop and it hurts.  But that’s where it stops.  Everything else is happy and, frankly, hilarious.  I just have to think about who he is and not about what happened.

He pooped on a shrew at the park in February.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen.  He hunkered down just as the little guy popped out of its hole to see what was going on… imagine what went through that shrew’s mind.  Hilarious.

We ran out of dog food one morning when he was about 5.  So we gave him a can of SPAM.  You ever see a dog try to eat a cube of SPAM?  It’s terrific.  Every time they try to take a bite it slides across the floor.

I was about 22 when I was hanging out with him on the beach.  A couple of rather attractive young ladies walked past and exclaimed how “OMG absolutely adoooooorable he was and if they could PLEEEEEASE pet him.”  Knowing precisely how to use my dog’s charm for my own gain I of course said that they could…. then he brought them half of a rotting dead catfish.  That one was probably funnier to him than it was to me.

Here are a few of the things he was by my side for:

  • The end of high school
  • 2 cataclysmic exes
  • The best relationship anyone could ever have (her name is Ashley and he ran to HER when he was in trouble).
  •            – Fun fact: Ashley was terrified of dogs until she met my 100 pound, teeth filled, carnivorous beast.  Now she loves dogs.  Yeah – Murphy did that.
  • 2 degrees
  • The entirety of the development of my career.
  • weight loss
  • weight gain
  • He was also the inspiration for me to undertake the longest-running project of my career.

He’s my hero.

If you knew him, you already knew how awesome he was.  For those who didn’t, here’s a look at Murphy

– Jon

Im-paws-ibly Awesome People

While a small handful knew some details, the campaign went live this weekend, so I can officially unleash (as it were) the project.

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A few weeks ago, I was hired by Pedigree, these guys –>  https://www.pedigree.com/ 

For a bit, now, they have held a national competition where a number of rescue shelters receive free dog food for a year.  The event is divided up regionally and during this round, Metro-Detroit was one of the picks.

As for my part, I was tasked with documenting the goings-on at the rescue shelters in Flint, Pontiac, and Dearborn.

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Those you who know me know I am an animal lover and have a very hard time dealing with, knowing about, or being exposed to the many ways people mistreat animals.  That said, I understand the feeling a lot of people have when they visit a shelter.  It seems depressing and hard for the animals – and it is.  It is especially hard when a dog or a cat is used to having a home and is suddenly thrust into what probably seems to be a jail.

I could keep explaining the negative side, but you’re on Facebook, you see the news, and you watch the commercials.  So, I won’t drive my point home any further.  What I WILL do is tell you about the other side of the story.  I want you to know about the people that make these shelters work – the staff and volunteers.

The definition of volunteer tells you a bit about a person right from the start.  They aren’t being paid, they aren’t receiving time off work.  These folks are giving up their time to help with a situation a lot of people don’t want to even hear about.  More than that, they LOVE these animals.  When a dog has been at a shelter for five years, you might look at it and think it has nothing left and it will never be happy again.  Then that one person – THAT DOG’S volunteer – walks in and it’s like he’s a brand new dog. Tail wagging, ears up.  It’s his favorite person in the world and they’re there just to see him.

The “staff.”  I don’t like that word.  It implies that this is simply a job.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s their job, but it’s also their life.  At each of the shelters I photographed, I found out the staff members regularly foster dogs at their homes, teaching positive behavior and building emotional bonds, knowing that they will have to give up the friendship so that the dogs can have  happy lives.  Trust me when I say this is a LOT more than a job for these people.

While this project is all well and good, I’m using it as a platform for something much bigger.  Confirmation on a few planned events should come down the line early this week – so stay tuned for the updates.  Plus, a few videos are on their way soon.

In the meantime, check out some of the shots from the three shelters.

To vote for the region to win free dog food, swing by the Facebook page, here.

This campaign may change the lives of a number of dogs, but there are tens of thousands out there that could desperately use your help.  Shelters are constantly in need of things like food, cleaning supplies, newspaper, and bedding.  Those last two are things you probably have sitting in the corner of your basement waiting to get thrown away.

Please look up your local shelter and drop off a thing or two.  It may only take a second of your time or a bit of spare change, but it can make all the difference in the world to a pet that need s home.

If you would like to see the full gallery of images from the different shelters, click here.  All the pictures are for sale and half of all proceeds are donated to the shelter where the picture was taken.

Thanks guys

– Jon

 

The Retriever Cometh

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You may have been on the internet recently.  Heck, you may be on the internet RIGHT NOW.   So in all likelihood, an internet aficionado like yourself may have noticed 1 or a few hundred thousand trends rocketing their way around cyberspace.

Ignoring “Grumpy Cat” (whose name is Tartar Sauce), Gangam Style, and Reality TV, you’ve likely noticed there is a – close to overdone – trend rocking Youtube.  I am, of course, reffering to Electronic/Dubstep-soundtracked montages of things like action sports, skate boarding, or people hurting themselves.

Well, try as you might, you’ll never leave ME out of the loop!

Unfortunately I am not mind-bogglingly athletic.  I am neither surprisingly, moderately, or remotely athletic.  This isn’t to say I weigh in at a svelte 750, but more that if I attempted an inverted kick-flip followed by a dark-house nose-grind, I’d likely find myself in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the half-pipe, soaking in the snickering humiliation of 2 dozen overly-developed tweenagers.

But back to the point…

I don’t have an affluence of athletic ability.  I DO, however, have a golden retriever.

His name is Murphy and he is possibly the coolest person you’ll ever meet.

SHUT UP!

He is TOO a person…

Enjoy.

– Jon