Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Little Belly Love

I don't even know where to begin... I love these 4 people so much, I can't even describe it.

I first met Mel and JT some 14 years ago, when we all started vet school together. During those four years at school, somewhere between biochemistry class and anatomy lab, Mel and JT fell in love and got married. A little over two years ago, they had their first son, Gage. He is the perfect combination of his parents - smart as a whip and cute as hell. He is so awesome, in fact, that I have arranged his marriage to my youngest daughter. Gary and I are still trying to figure out the dowry... we are thinking a few cows may be in order.

In just a few days, Gage's little brudder will make his debut. His arrival is eagerly anticipated by so many... grandmas and grandpa, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. And most of all, by Mel, JT and Gage. They stopped by a few weeks ago for some belly photos, to remember this wonderful period in their lives. Their last days together as 3, the last time they will have peace, quiet and sleep for the next several months.

Just as cute as they were when they first met

When pregnant with Gage, Mel and JT had maternity shots done. One of their favorites was a close up of Mel and JT's hands on her belly... I tried my best to give them another favorite.

I love this photo for several reasons. Of course, there is the obvious... mom and daddy's hands on Mel's uber cute belly. Then there is JT's watch, which I was initially going to crop out (I wanted to focus on just their hands and Mel's belly). But then I realized that the watch tells the day and the time that this photo was taken... perfect! No need to write it on the back of the photo. Another thing that I love, and this is from the geeky veterinarian in me, is that these hands have saved countless lives as both Mel and JT are veterinary surgeons. To see these hands and fingers at work is truly amazing. I would be jealous if it weren't so totally in awe of what they do.

Seriously Mel, your belly is uh-dor-uh-ble!!!
And yes JT, you and your belly-kissing-self are pretty adorable, too.
P.S. There is no way on this green earth that Gary would have ever kissed
my pregnant belly.

Of course, we had to have plenty of photos with big brudder Gage.

Me loooooooves this one!

A quick thumb-sucking break...

...then on to more belly kissing!

Throughout the session, I would catch Mel looking at her son and she would say "I love him so much". Like right here, when she was watching Gage pick some flowers:

Which of course he gave to mommy. Swoon!

Gage loves a little daddy time, too:

But family time is the BEST!

Photographer Tara Whitney calls these photos "the in between". I have tried to write my own explanation of this photographic phenomenon, but I can't come up with anything better than what Tara has already said: "I love how the heads and limbs are fused together - like souls intertwined. It is is visual proof of the connection that is there but you can never actually see with your own eyes. No matter how much you want to, no matter how strongly you feel it there".
The connection between the members of this family is undeniable.

Although the littlest member of this family is not actually here yet, the connection to him is apparent.

More family fun time!

And a few precious moments.

Gageroo, solo:

Where's Gage?

I am so excited to be photographing the arrival of the newest member of this wonderfully amazing family. He is due in 9 days... but that could mean any time. And as soon as baby brudder hits the ground, I'll be showing you his very first photos.

Enjoy your last your few days together as a family of three. Soon, your world will be turned upside down... and it will be amazing.

Much love to you, my dear friends.

P.S. Happy Birthday Mel!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Millie - Forever Home

Oh Millie, if only you knew what you have started...

I began following the Sacramento Animal Care and Regulation Facebook page after one of my vet school classmates, Meera Heller, "liked" the page. At that time, a dog named Millie was the star of the page - she had been in the shelter for nearly four months and there was a big push to find her a Forever Home. Millie had two big strikes against her: 1) she was a pit bull and 2) she was a black brindle pit bull (the hardest to place). But Millie had a lot of good things going for her, like her sweet personality and her bright and cheery attitude. Despite being in the shelter for months, she was still a happy dog. Many of the staff and volunteers had fallen in love with her and were hoping she would find the perfect home.

She did. A wonderful woman by the name of Stefani had been watching Millie's story on FB and she could no longer stand by and do nothing. So Stefani made a beeline for the shelter where she met Millie and fell in love, just like everyone else. The only difference was that Stefani adopted Millie and took her home. To her Forever Home.

My first ever trip to the shelter was on this day. I had made an appointment to come down and have a tour so that I could start photographing the animals. I too had been following Millie's story and was hoping to meet her. When I walked into the reception area, this is what I saw:

Millie, surrounded by people giving her lots of love. She had just been adopted and the paperwork was being finalized. And when it was announced over the loudspeaker that Millie had been adopted, I got goosebumps. In watching Stefani and Millie together, I knew that everything was going to be alright.

Six months later, I had the opportunity to visit Millie and Stefanie at their home. I would have to say that life is pretty good for the both of them. Would you like to see?

Millie loves the tennis ball. In fact, she is obsessed

Millie loves the water. Fortunately for her, she has a big pool to play in.

and a mommy who will push her tennis ball over when it gets too far away

Thanks mom!

She also loves this blue dryer ball.

nom nom nom nom nom

And this here is Millie on her favorite pillow. Yes, Millie is a pillow dog.

Can't a girl eat in peace?

I was actually waiting for Millie to do a few of her silly tricks. Stefani tells me that Millie will throw kibble up in the air and catch them in her mouth. I wasn't fortunate enough to see this, but I did get to see Millie fling her dish with her foot.

Apparently Millie will stick her foot in her dish and fling it. One time Millie sent the bowl flying down the hallway, knocking over everything in it's path. Silly girl!

She doesn't like being away from momma too long...

...because that means she is missing out on kisses

Millie and Stefani, you girls are just incredible. There is a bond between the two of you that is indescribable, but is apparent to anyone who sees the two of you together. Thank you Stefani for giving this girl a chance. For adopting her from the shelter after so many had passed her by. I know that Millie thanks you every day.

And I thank you both for being my ambassadors to the shelter. For showing me that good things come to those who wait. And for proving that you can find true love in the most unlikely of places.