Thursday, March 6, 2014



Whats his/hers name and breed?
A) Duke, He is English Mastiff

Kiss me

Why did you decide to adopt him?
A) Well we lost our two labs to cancer that we had adopted after 8 years, and began looking. When a friend of mine posted Duke’s picture on FB looking for help with his medical expenses I couldn’t resist his face. So I pledged money to his bills and asked to come meet him after he was all healed up. When we met Duke, we just knew and he just knew. There was an instant connection with him and my daughter. After a couple more visits with Duke I couldn’t imagine someone else owning him, so he is ours!

What were or are his special needs? 
A) All big dogs have special needs, but his previous injuries do not hinder him from playing. Duke is missing one toes on his left front foot and some muscle mass on his right back leg. He eats a special diet due to food allergies and takes in a lot of calories at 200lbs. He has a special bed made for him due to his size that gives him cushion from the ground as well.

I might be large but I love to play catch
Thank you for my special bed I love it!!!
Did it take him long to adjust or be active? 
A) Since we were visiting Duke beforehand there really wasn’t adjustment period. 

Snuggle time :)

How as the adoption changed/effected your life? 
A) Duke is the most obedient, loving, and charming dog we have ever owned. With his addition to our family simply made it complete. We hope to adopt another one in the future that fits our family like Duke so he can have a friend.

Our family is now complete. Thank you Valhalla!!!!!
How did Valhalla make the decision to adoption easier?
A) Valhalla made it easier due to having his records available during the surrender, and knowing one of the fosters mom made the transition easier and you can tell they truly care about their dogs. 

We have always found dogs through recuses because we believe they need a second chance. It's been the best decision we have ever made. 

The Dogs Of Valhalla Rescue

As a Seattle Portrait Photographer I am always looking to add a little personal meaning into my photos. 

Thus the idea of my new series "The Dogs Of Valhalla" was born.  It all started when my beloved 12yr old Labrador Maverick passed away August 6th a day after my 41st birthday, he was a truly amazing dog and my girlfriend Renea quickly fell in love with him. She experienced the amazing bond between human and dog for the first time as she never had a dog growing up. 

We miss you Maverick 
A few months passed and we started discussing the idea of getting another dog. I thought it would be awesome to be part of her first puppy experience. Renea started looking around on the internet which quickly sparked my interest. Our first experience with a so called "shelter/rescue" turned out bad and we weren't sure that was the route to go to find a dog. But shortly after that Renea came across Poe which we now called Cooper we instantly fell in love! How could you not with that cute little puppy face and his black & white markings? He is a border collie mix that was being adopted out by Valhalla Rescue

Cooper on his home visit/inspection  

Valhalla made the experience so amazing I would recommend them to anyone. They actually came to our house for a home inspection to make sure we were the right fit for the dog.  The adoption came complete with his first rounds of shoots, a microchip and his neutering operation. Based on the interaction we had with Valhalla and their volunteers we could tell they cared more about the dogs then anything else. So in my gratitude for matching Renea and I with the most amazing dog ever we are here to help tell their story.

When did you officially start Valhalla?
A) Valhalla Rescue was named in 1999 and became a 501c3 in 2011. I originally started rescuing dogs in 1988

Why did you decide to start a rescue? 
A)I had been volunteering with other rescues and animal welfare organizations since the early 80's. I started helping with fostering and working at the spay/neuter clinics at the shelters in our area. Back then we were helping mostly Dobermans and wolf hybrids and a lot of mixed breeds. Once it got out that I was helping dogs, people would come to me for help placing their dogs.

Why did you decide to venture into the special needs area? 
A) In 1999 after getting laid off from Boeing, I was retrained as a vet tech and started working at a vet clinic. The vet I worked with had  a fund to help pay the vet costs for people who couldn't afford their companions bills, but there were times when the owners still where unable to care for their medical needs dog and often asked our vet for alternatives. That is when a light bulb went off and we started to focus on helping dogs with medical needs. 

How many dogs & families have you united to date?
A) I have been doing this for so long, I can't say for sure, but the rescue itself helps an average of 270 dogs per year so I would have to say that we have helped over 2000 dogs since the rescue started officially in 1999

If there is one reason to adopt what would it be?
A) It's hard to decide on just 1 reason. I guess I would have to say because it saves lives and the love you get back is so special for bot the animals AND the humans. People often don't realize how much an animal can bring to their lives until they have one that loves them unconditionally or one that helps them over a hard time in their life.

Is there anything else you want to say about the rescue or why people should adopt? 

A) I can talk about the rescue all day, Some day I hope to have a complete center that can provide medical, training and rehab services for the dogs and the people in our community. That is why in 2011 we acquired the Lewis County Animal Food Bank and started to supply food and medical care to the homeless and veterans in our community. If we can help people who love dogs then we can help to ensure that forever homes that love and care for their pets can continue to do so, even when times are rough. And people SHOULD adopt because sadly there is still way more pets being euthanized each year. The numbers are staggering for the companion animals that are still put to sleep in our local shelters and that die on the streets homeless and alone. Until the day that shelters no longer have to euthanize for space there is always going to be a serious need to adopt animals. Until the day we can shut down every kill room in every shelter, until the day that we stop heart sticking dogs or gassing them in archaic inhumane devises, then I will continue to advocate for adoption. When all puppy mills and breeding factories are shut down, then we have done our job to educate the world that life is precious and even though we love dogs and bred them for our pleasure, we have a responsibility to care for them as much as they care for us.

So please consider adopting if you are looking for a new addition to your family you wont regret it!!!

Thank you again Valhalla for united us with Cooper 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Seattle Portrait Photographer & Die Hard Cub Fan

Being a Cubs fans has not been an easy life, but I wouldn't change a thing. It goes a lot deeper then just wins and loses and I have some of the most meaningful memories at Wrigley Field.

Self Portrait 

As a Chicagoan you have to choose North or South Side and the is no in the Middle!!!! Go CUBS!!!!

  1. When did I become a fan? I became a Cubs fan as soon as I could walk.
  2. Why am I a fan? It has always been more then wins and losses for me. I grew up going to Wrigley Field. My childhood friend Grant Miller and I would take the bus to L train (we had a secret spot were there was a hole in the chain link fence sounding the train platform so we could ride for free) and get to the ball park 3 to 4 hours early so we can watch them warm up. We would stay an hour after the game let out to got autographs outside the players parking lot.
  3. When did I attend your first game? I was probably around 9 or 10 and back then it was safe to let you children ride the bus and train unsupervised. 
  4. Most memorable monument as a fan.  I have three. Spending my 21st birthday in the bleachers, seeing Perl Jam play there in July of 2013 and my first date with my now girlfriend Renea Falvo.

Steve Mendoza 

World Series Baby!!!!!

  1. When did you become a fan? I became a fan of the Giants when I was 9 when they were in the 89 World Series.
  2. Why are you a fan? I'm a fan because I love baseball. Lots of ups and downs with them the past 25 years but I stick with them.
  3. When did you attend your first game? I think I was about 11 or 12. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, so it was expensive for us to go.
  4. Most memorable monument as a fan.  54 hour whirlwind to drive down to SF for Game 1 of the 2012 WS then drive back. Sandoval hits three home runs, crowd hugging/high fiving and Steve Perry singing "Lights" on the jumbotron with the crowd.