Posts Tagged ‘dog training’

To Hercules with Love

May 2, 2013

My good friend Hercules, the pit bull, has about 2-10 weeks to live.  Cancer is getting the best of him and his time with us running out.  Many of you know him, have met him at events or know him through the portraits of him that I have taken in the last few years. He has marched in several Luv-a-Bully marches, first with 4 legs and then with 3 legs and served as an “ambassadog” at many rescue events around Orange County.

I met Hercules in 2009 at a Luv-a-Bully march in Brea.  The march was a gathering of about 200+ pit bulls and their owners to dispel the public opinions that pit bulls were mean fighting dogs and protest BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). Dr. Paula Terifaj (now the owner of DogSpa) asked me to photograph the event and that is how I met Hercules and his family, Kylie (now 5) and mom Leslie.  I snapped some photos of Herc and Kylie at the event and a few months later Leslie contacted me, in a panic, to do portraits of Kylie with Hercules because Hercules had cancer and she did not know how long he would live. Kylie was two then and Leslie was afraid that without photos Kylie would not be able to remember Hercules when she grew up.    Since that time, the bond that Hercules shares with his girl Kylie has become a personal photographic project for me.  The images of Kylie and Hercules together have touched many people and helped to change the negative perception some people have of the pit bull breed.  The portrait work has served as a medium to communicate the true nature of pit bulls as protectors and kid-loving, furry balls of love.

I know a lot of pit bulls!!!   Of all of them, Hercules is the most loving, the most patient, and the best ambassador for the breed I’ve ever met.  His work here on earth is just about done.  I’ve captured some memories with the photography we’ve done, but it’s still so difficult for Kylie and Leslie to deal with the loss they will grieve someday very soon.    I have been trying to think of something to do to help them and then today it hit me . . . I know we are all busy people, but I would like to make a simple but heartfelt request . . . send Hercules and/or his girl Kylie (who is now 5) a card or a note before he goes.  Wish Hercules the best, send hugs, send notes of gratitude for allowing us to see what dedication and love is all about. Tell Hercules how brave he is to have fought cancer for 5 years.  Tell Kylie and Leslie how you admire that they have cared for him so well these five years while Hercules had numerous treatments to keep his cancer at bay.

I have tried to remember all of the people that Hercules has touched in his life, but I’m sure there are so many more.  Feel free to share this message with anyone you know, that might know Hercules or be interested in his story.  Tell everyone about him and spread his story far and wide.  He’s a good dog and good pit bull and he’s leaving a big ‘ole pawprint on my heart and the hearts of many.

I have also posted this on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lspetportraits

Please send cards and love to:

Hercules c/o FOCHP
26423 Scott Rd.
Menifee CA 92584

Thank you so very much for caring about the breed we love.

Lisa

P.S.   If you haven’t already read it, Roni Raczkowski wrote a wonderful article about Hercules and it was published on the Best Friends site and went viral a couple of years ago.  http://bestfriends.org/News-And-Features/News/Are-You-There,-God–It-s-Me,-Hercules/

P.S.S.  For those of you who do not know, a portrait from 2012 of Kylie and Hercules are featured as the month of July in the Unexpected Pit Bull calendar http://theunexpectedpitbull.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=50

 

 

One of the first portraits of Hercules and his girl Kylie (Summer of 2010). This image is up on display in several Orange County location, has traveled all over the internet, and has been seen by thousands of people.

Here are some shots from the session we did last summer. Some of these images are featured in the Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar 2013.

This portrait was shot on April 24th. Hercules still seemed to be feeling OK but he was a bit slower and got tired a bit quicker. He still enjoyed being with his girl and I got more than a few kisses from him.

When I was done shooting I handed Leslie the camera and asked her to take a photo of me and Herc. I am so glad I did. Thanks Leslie for everything.

I am always intrigued by how one thing leads you down a path to another and how creativity connects things and people and events in your life . . . My daughter got the part of Dorothy in the school play. A pretty big deal to any mom and especially me :) So as soon as we got her costume, I sent out a message to my friends and fam letting them know that I needed a “Toto” to model for a photo session. Because what self respecting animal nut like me would do a portrait of Dorothy without a good Toto as a sidekick ?! One of my good friends, Cindy Scott of Dogs, Etc. has a dog named Bosley and he is always up for attention.
untitled-364-Edit-Edit
Sophia and Bosley :) He is right at home in my studio and the lap of pretty much anyone :)
Then when I looked at the site of one of my favorite local rescues, FOCHP, I saw a puppy who was practically a dead ringer for Toto! They were calling him Scrappy. I called and asked if I could borrow Scrappy for a couple days. Since Scrappy was small (about 12 lbs) and part Cairn Terrier (which was the breed of the real Toto) I thought he’d be a good fit with Sophia my daughter.
woz-155-Edit-Edit-2
Sophia and Scrappy/Toto in the shot I liked best. I made this into a poster for her.

Scrappy is now called Toto by the folks at FOCHP. Toto/Scrappy is a phenomenal dog. He is a 4-6 month old puppy and he is good with dogs, cats, kids and everyone!! Unbelievably he has been with FOCHP for a little over a week and has not been adopted yet. Anybody want a perfect little dog (red shoes not included) If you are interested in adopting him contact FOCHP.org. Since Scrappy/Toto is a rescue dog “looking to find his way home” I took some photos of him by himself so that FOCHP could use them to get him adopted.
untitled-309

And then I thought, hey, this image would make a great promotional ad for “Adoptions” and so it is. If you are a magazine or other form of media that would like to use this ad as a PSA to promote pet adoption please contact me at info@lisascarsi.com.
untitled-309-Edit-Edit-2

So what have I learned . . . sometimes it is good to start at the beginning and just follow the yellow brick road.

Pet Portrait Bloopers

September 7, 2011

A while back I started a folder I named “Bloopers” and after a few weeks I forgot all about it. If things don’t have a deadline or a pulse, sometimes they slip my mind. Plants never make it long at my house. Today I came across the folder and some of these are just so funny I had to share. Hope they make you giggle a bit and want to hug your dog, cat, kid or random stranger. I thought I’d add the pets comments . . .

fabfashion-323
“Seriously, who picked out this outfit?!!”
fabfashion-156
“Does this background color make my butt look big?”
fabfashion-276
“I may look cute but I could mess you up!”
fabfashion-862
“I just peed on her backdrop . . . shh, don’t tell.”
fabfashion-965
“Mmmm, the top of your head tastes fabulous!! What WERE you rolling in?”

Last week I packed up the studio in my van, recruited the assistance of a couple talented colleagues and headed west with stars in my eyes and a lint roller  at hand.  I did a photo session with Shorty Rossi and four of his playful pooches, Hercules, Valentino, Bebi & Dominico.  Shorty and his furry sidekicks star in the HUGE show, Pit Boss on Animal Planet.  If you haven’t seen the show you need to check it out (click for show times). It’s always interesting photographing stars. You see them on the big screen and you wonder if they are really like that in person or if it’s all just an act. I was stunned at how totally cool, warm, and down to earth everybody was. Shorty was truly charming and such a great guy. He’s got attitude and a huge heart . . . my kinda guy.  No stranger to Hollywood, he runs his own talent agency called Shortywood, but also runs his own rescue called Shorty’s Rescue and he is committed to spreading the word that pits are really misunderstood “underdogs” who deserve our love and respect. So thanks to Shorty and his team for so much talent, drool (you’ll understand when you scroll down), fur and photographic fun. Here are some of my favorite pix/picks of the litter . . . er, I mean session.

srossi-182-Edit

Shorty and his main man Hercules.

srossi-271

Hercules was goofy and adorable and always had some spit for me to sop up with a  towel.

srossi-166

srossi-77

srossi-125

Bebi stole my heart with her “sweet as molasses” nature.

srossi-34srossi-305-Edit

Valentino was just a pup and wasn’t exaclty diggin’ my lighting equipment, but for a seven month old puppy he did a pro job posing.

srossi-29

srossi-337-Edit

Dominco well he is just as handsome as he could possibly be and I think he knows it too.

srossi-507

When the work was done, Shorty took some time out to play with Dominico.

srossi-539After the shoot we all wanted a group shot (or at least a partial group shot).  Here I am with Shorty, David Edelstein (top left-the video master), Elizabeth Gonzalez (top-middle -my awesome assistant), Candy Clemente (right- lead dog trainer/handler for Shorty’s rescue) and Hercules, Bebi, Dominico and Valentino.

Special Thanks to Christian Duran for lending a hand on several levels, Candy Clemente who helped so graciously with getting the doggies to pose.  I owe ya a bag of cheese & meaty treats :) And to Shorty for putting up with so many flashes of light.  I might need to buy some of your sweet smelling cigars.

My Furry Valentine Photo Shoot

February 15, 2010

Who’s your favorite Valentine?  Your best friend . . . of course.  The day before Valentine’s Day I did a workshop with Cindy Scott of Dogs Etc. The good folks at Founders Veterinary were kind enough to host our “shindig” for the day.    I photographed a few furry cuties and REALLY, I could hardly edit any of the shots out.   They were all adorable!!!!  Here are my top picks from the sessions.  Doggie moms, I’ll get your full gallery  up in a couple of days with the motherload of “adorableness” (if adorableness is not a word, it is now).

sitstayfeb-122-Edit

Jake, the cutest little pup!

sitstayfeb-195

Bruno in a stunning composition.  He’s such a beauty.

sitstayfeb-220

sitstayfeb-237

Love the little paw lift on this one.

sitstayfeb-330

This is Max.  He was a pro model.  His mom has him photographed all the time.

sitstayfeb-351

My fave shot of Max.  He looked like a stuffed animal.  You just wanted to cuddle him.

sitstayfeb-399

A little walk on the wild side with Mr. Bosley.  Note the dyed red “do”.

sitstayfeb-416

Jake again with a different lens and wider aperture.  Just look at that face . . . if that doesn’t melt your heart . . . nothing will.

Sit, Stay, & Say Cheese!

January 5, 2010

Pet Portrait Workshop

You know your dog is a beauty to behold, so why not get kissable portraits just in time for Valentines Day!!!  I have teamed up with Cindy Scott, dog trainer extraordinaire, of Dogs, Etc. to offer this completely cool training and portrait workshop!!  Yep, Cindy trains you and your dog to get ready to model, and then I work with your furry supermodel to help them strike a stunning pose.  (come on, you knew your dog was born a star . . . all you just need some good headshots to get that career going) 

The training portion of the workshop will be held from 12-1pm on February 6th at Founders Veterinary, 330 N. Brea Blvd., CA.   The pet portrait mini-sessions will be scheduled in 20 minute increments on the following Saturday, February 13th.  Each workshop attendee will learn posing techniques, get some training (for owner and pet), receive 2 digital files from their very own furry photoshoot with professional pet (and person) photographer, Lisa Scarsi.  Cost $105 per dog. 

The last Pet Portrait Workshop we did at Camp Bow Wow in Anaheim and we got some extremely cute portraits for all doggies that participated.  

Maximus looking adorable against the fetching damask patterned backdrop.

Maximus looking adorable against the fetching damask patterned backdrop.

  

Bella the bella dog posing for me and her mom.

Bella, the bella dog, posing for me and her mom.

Cindy tells Max and his mom how to execute "a good stay".

 

Cindy tells Max and his mom how to execute “a good stay” at a past workshop.
sitstay-0043

Maximus worked hard at his pre-training and his portrait session turned out grrrrrreat!!