Seattle dog photographer or family photographer? In my mind, fur babies are family too.
I met Kristin after her husband bought the session for her as a gift. She was the kind of mama you meet and instantly you think, “I want you to be my friend!” What struck me about Kristin is she radiates. She said, “I know that I could not be happier in my life” and she radiates with this knowing. Her energy is positive and upbeat, she is incredibly smart, and instantly likable. Plus, she is a rockstar vet! Wow. We had so much fun.
Take a look at her family.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, your husband and how you met. Why you decided to get a dog together? Why did you decide on Arrow?
I am a veterinarian specializing and surgery and physical rehabilitation for dogs. I grew up in Panama with a menagerie of pets including a sloth, otter, monkey, snakes, and a black Lab named Cinder. I attended under grad, vet school, grad school and surgical residency at the University of Florida. In 2010 I moved to Seattle to escape the heat and humidity I had known, but not loved, my entire life. Aaron and I met about 6 months after I moved to Seattle. We met as many others do in this town, on-line (OK-Cupid). We both knew we had found our match on our first date. Aaron also knew by our first date that I was a package deal with 3 dogs: Bella, Bailey and Beans. Aaron is the most wonderful man I’ve ever known for so many reasons, including his instant acceptance and love of my dogs. We got married on San Juan Island about 3 years after our first date (we have now been married 4 years).
We lost Bella (yellow Lab) and Bailey (Lab x Pit mix) 6 and 3 years ago, respectively. This left Beans (a Frenchie) as an only child for a couple of years.We wanted a second dog, but Beans has a big personality. Some may consider her “dog aggressive.”
I rescued her and brought her home the day she was born. Bella and Bailey and I raised her and we did not do an awesome job teaching her how to meet new dogs. So, while Aaron and I wanted Beans to have a sibling, we knew that it was going to have to be a special dog, one that would allow Beans to teach him the rules.
As a life-long Labrador lover, it was clear to me that we needed to adopt a Lab puppy as their personalities are predictable and to me, unbeatable. We found Arrow through colleagues of mine at work, he was a “show-dog reject” because only one of his testicles had descended. This was a perfect puppy for a veterinarian to adopt. We won the puppy lottery with Arrow.
2. What is your secret to happiness?
If I knew the absolute secret to happiness I would write a book. I don’t think I have the answer for everyone, but I know that I could not be happier in my life. There are a number of things that make our relationship good and happy. We are both workaholics, and we have similar-ish careers, so we fully understand each other’s drive, motivation, challenges and goals.
While we work a lot, we also love to travel and make the most of any free time or vacation we have. I think this is called playing hard. We do that. And then we love coming home, especially when the dogs have not traveled with us. We work long hours, but we almost always have dinner (usually out) together. This is a sacred time when we admittedly talk a lot of shop, but we are passionate about supporting each other’s career’s.
I think one of the most important things we do is on very regular occasion, almost daily, take time to recognize and acknowledge how good we have it. We are grateful for everything we have in our life, most importantly each other, our families (including Beans and Arrow), and our health. We don’t take anything for granted.
3. Tell me what the experience was like to work with me, and anything special that you came away with or learned? Anything that I did that made this a special experience? Or anything that was different working with me?
Jennifer Loomis is absolutely the BEST! My husband purchased a family photo session with Jennifer for my birthday. It was such a thoughtful gift, especially because our family includes “furbabies,” we do not have (human) children. I did not know what to expect going into this photo session; I had seen Jennifer’s extraordinary work capturing pregnancy and children, but would she think we were being ridiculous with our dogs? Jennifer’s embrace of our family could not have been more welcoming! First, she knew exactly how to make us feel relaxed in her studio with wine, cheese and great music. And there were toys for the dogs! She was so excited to meet Beans (10 y Frenchie) and Arrow (2 y Lab) and she allowed them full roam of her studio.
I soon learned that Jennifer has a furbaby of her own and he typically hangs out in her studio. The photo shoot was so much fun. I am not generally a fan of having my picture taken, but Jen made it very easy. She was also so honest—a couple of times she would stop and say “wait, you are not going to like your bangs right now,” and boy was she right.
The photo shoot flew by, it was such a fun afternoon for all of us. But the real treat was seeing the images that she captured. Did I mention that Arrow is a Black Lab? Black dogs are extremely hard to photograph. Not only did she capture his (in my humble opinion) perfect face on a white background, but she managed to shoot a perfect picture of him and Beans on a black background. Amazing talent!
Aaron and I had a very difficult time picking out the best pictures from the selection of great images. We ultimately settled on 3 that captured our family perfectly. Jen framed the images and they are now hanging as true art in our living room. Nobody could ever be disappointed with the quality and uniqueness of the images Jennifer captures. But what really sets her apart for me is how fun she is to work with. Jen knows that every family is different, every mother is unique, and every “child” is special. I hope that everyone reading this has the opportunity to get know Jen and welcome her into your family.
5. Please feel free to include anything else you like that is interesting about you or your animal training philosophy.
I am not an animal trainer, although dolphin trainer was a back-up plan for vet school. Most of what I know about dog training has come from raising my dogs, and making mistakes along the way. As a rehabilitation veterinarian, I have also picked up techniques for making veterinary visits fun and not fearful and getting my patients to do things I want them to do. What I know about dog training is that it’s about consistency. I think this is the same as for human children. You set rules, teach the rules and then you as the parent must stick to the rules. In no situation should physical force be used to teach the rules. This philosophy has thankfully fallen out of favor in dog training.
Positive reinforcement and operant conditioning techniques are advocated by the dog (and zoo animal) trainers that I have worked with and those that I would recommend. What this boils down to is: Never, under any circumstance, hit your dog. If you are looking for dog training advice, I recommend a solid Google search followed by interviewing a few trainers in your area. If they recommend crate training, clicker training, teaching dogs to heal rather than constraining their movement with a harness, and using positive reinforcement techniques, then this sounds like someone I would recommend.
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