Jo's name blinked on my ringing phone and my heart sunk. I had only met her a week earlier, in the middle of another shoot in Carlton Gardens. I knew that the health of her gorgeous cocker spaniel, Barney, was going downhill. Were we too late for his photoshoot? It's my very worst nightmare, and the reason I will move mountains to schedule old souls in early.
But no! Jo was calling with good news, the relief in her voice gushing through my phone. It turned out that Barney's recent exhaustion was due to a thyroid issue. Easily treatable and a few weeks later, when we had our photoshoot, you would never guess that the bouncy boy waggling his bum all around Carlton Gardens was eleven years old.
They met nine years ago. She noticed Barney out of the corner of her eye, sitting at the back of his pen. She was at the RSPCA shelter hoping to adopt a staffy, but there was just something about the sweet, young cocker spaniel. He was incredibly shy, having been seized from his previous owner for neglect. Sitting on the cool concrete of his pen, Jo waited.
After what seemed like forever, he slowly edged forward. His big brown eyes watching Jo cautiously, Barney gently sniffed. A few minutes passed, and he let her stroke his head. Jo held her breath. Then Barney sat down beside her, rested his head on her shoulder and sighed.
It was love.
It took Barney a while to learn to trust people again. Nowadays, you would never guess that he had ever been unsure. When I met him at the park (just outside Melbourne's CBD) for his Soul Session (pet photography for our seniors), he was bursting with love and affection. He spun around in circles, jumping for treats and showing off for his Mum and Dad (who were still high on the shock of discovering that their boy was well).
"He is so loving and devoted. He totally has his own personality - he's very funny and has a stubborn streak when he doesn't want to do something. Just like his Mum!" ~ Joanna
One of Joanna's favourite memories with Barney is walking through Carlton Gardens every day, so there really wasn't any other choice when it came to deciding on a photo location. Carlton Gardens features flowerbeds, ornamental lakes, fountains and plenty of beautiful walking routes. It's one of my favourite parks near Melbourne (although there are no off-lead areas, which is a shame). It makes for a fantastic location for a pet photographer, with the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum and city skyline all in one beautiful spot!
"Barney: Cheeky, loving, funny, sausage-lover, bed-hogger."
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