Gift Certificates & Studio Credit Available On-Line Now!

Want a gift certificate for that special someone? Is that special someone you? Would you like a studio credit toward product from a past session? 

Good news! We now have Gift Certificates Available here on the website! 

Gift Certificate and Studio Credit

Simply choose your amount and you will be directed towards a page to enter a personalized note.

From there I will email you the custom gift certificate you can email or print.

Thank you!

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Tony and His Driver Jill

Jill carried Tony into the CSU destress event for HABIC this winter and immediately drew a crowd. Orange, calm and regal Tony the therapy kitty had arrived. With such an usual occupation I knew I had to interview Jill about the fabulous life of Tony. He’s the most confident and laid back cat I’ve ever met and Jill says her only roll is to be his driver.

Find out more about HABIC here and enjoy this tale.

Listen here on Anchor.fmOn Apple here. Or on your favorite podcast app.

 

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Therese Monkeys Around

Therese Kopiwoda shares a hysterical childhood tale of an unusual family pet in the Tales with Tails Podcast. Therese and I met on-line in her livestream group #PetLoversTribe a few years ago. While that group is now dissolved we all still stay in contact and are great friends (like Tricia in Cheesy Riedi episode). Therese even designed this website! Be sure to check out her biz if you are a pet business.

Through the Social Media Hound Therese teaches pet businesses livestreaming and more.  

Listen on Anchor.fm hereOn Apple here. Or your favorite podcast app.

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Jess & Lupe

Jess gushes about their very special chihuahua, Lupe, in this Tales with Tails Podcast episode.

Jess and Mat have fostered 46 pups over the years but Lupe is the only pup to join the fam permanently. Jess relates the tale of Lupe’s journey to their home, how Lupe helps all the fosters and what Lupe means to them.

I met Jess several years ago through my photography volunteering. Jess has helped me photograph adoptable pups, teach me how the local rescue and foster programs work, and has become a great friend. Their heart for animals and the well being of all life is felt in everything they say and do. 

Thank you so much Jess for telling us all your Tales with Tails. 

Listen on the Anchor.fm app here. In the Apple iTunes page here. Or your favorite podcasting app.

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Cheesy Riedi

Season 2 of the Tales with Tails podcast kicks off with my first interview! Tricia Clement’s shares her tale of baby Riedi being very cheesy. 

Monique and Tricia in Atlanta GeorgiaI met Tricia way back in the #PetLoversTribe and PetScopeTV days. We livestreamed with other pet lovers every day telling our pet stories and becoming friends. In January I met up with Tricia while at the Professional Photographers of America conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Her pups are enjoying chasing squirrels at their new home and are her constant work companions in her home office. If you are a pet business needing social media management and consulting she can help! 

Tricia is a social media manager and consultant specializing in pet businesses and video at her company MuttButs.com

Podcast episode on Anchor.fm/taleswithtails here. On Apple here. And on your favorite podcasting app.

 

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Tales with Tails Origin Story

Tales with Tails podcast episode 10 wraps up season one! But what is the origin story of the “Tales with Tails” idea?

January of 2018 I lamented to my mentor Cheryl that I felt like my business was missing something. All seemed to be rolling along smoothly with the studio. Everyone loved my photos of pet and people, I had great engagement on social media and was well known in my community.

I knew I could do more and be more if only I could grasp the deeper message of my business.

Cheryl suggested a weekend intensive here in Colorado. Of course I jumped at the chance. Coffee by the lake in the morning, craft beer in the evening reveling in our accomplishments of the day, and a nice neat vision and plan laid out in 72 hours.

Keep dreaming Monique! What really transpired included tears, temper tantrums and completely giving up. 

In the 11th hour we sat slumped with our craft cider somberly staring out the window of Scrumpy’s in Old Town. Had we both failed?

Cheryl had persisted all day, plying me with questions, being empathetic, pushing me to keep trying and even told me funny stories of her kitties. 

We watched as a truck and small horse trailer maneuvered the busy College Avenue. My mind drifted to crazy horse rides as a child.

Being May 16th I commented how Friday would be the anniversary of the Mt St Helens eruption. We had goats as a child in 1980 who caused quite a ruckus trying to warn us of impending disaster. 

Then my thoughts drifted to my neurotic golden retriever Gypsy and her antics at the river.

Suddenly I sat bolt upright and looked wildly at Cheryl. A huge grin slowly spreading across my face. Her startled eyes widened. Nearly jumping out of my chair I said “Cheryl all of the stories I tell involve animals!” After a quick moment I practically exploded “ALL OF MY TALES HAVE TAILS!” “THAT’S IT!”

Ideas, inspiration and excitement flooded me. The mood changed and we headed into our final meal together with a lighter heart.

Two days later I created the Tales with Tails Facebook group. Please join us there!

By fall of 2018 I jumped into creating the Tales with Tails podcast on Anchor.fm, Apple Podcasts and 10 other platforms.

Reach out to me to be a guest in future seasons! monique@silverpawstudio.com

Many great projects await in 2019! 

To find Cheryl and her Moxie Catalyst Coaching join the Moxie Sisterhood here, check out her webpage here or join the party on Facebook.

 

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Strangest Animal – Tales with Tails

Strangest Animal – Tales with Tails

Winter of 2016 I found myself on a walk-a-bout. On a personal journey from Colorado to Washington state for several weeks of self discovery. Much of my time I spent with my daughter in the tiny town of Port Angeles, Washington.

With the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the North and the Olympic Mountains to the south I sat in the midst of photography paradise. I wandered down to the water to spy on seals & bald eagles. And up into the mountains for snowy Lake Crescent scenes.

But my heart yearned to photograph pets. Within two weeks I had tracked down the local humane society.

Olympic Peninsula Humane Society https://www.ophumanesociety.org/ is located just on the edge of town nestled in lovely northwest trees and meadows. The OPHS has their own little forest with a groomed walking path that all the dogs know by heart. Near the dog building a rock garden and patio serve as a perfect location to pose adventuresome pups. In a separate building the cats enjoy huge suites and the bunnies have taken over the enclosed back patio.

On each of my four visits I had the honor of photographing whichever adoptable animals needed portraits. I posed a pair of pugs on a flat boulder. A regal pyrenees paused on the forest trail for her photos. An elderly cocker spaniel lounged on the patio for her session. We gathered all the Christmas decorations from the entire facility to create a holiday set for a litter of foster puppies. Kitties of all ages enjoyed rolling around on the soft fabric of my portable table top studio. (Yes on my walkabout my photography gear filled half my Subaru so I was well prepared for any photo adventure.) One bunny with a neurological condition managed to sit still for a few images (she was adopted quickly after that!) And one bunny we decided to surround with real carrots and lettuce for a fun studio set-up.

But the strangest animals I have ever photographed were also at the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society. I consider them strange because I had never personally interacted with one and honestly didn’t even know what it was when I looked at it. With the softest fur in the universe, a long bottle brush bushy tail, big round ears, shiny black eyes, teeny feet and cat like whiskers I had met a Chinchilla. Actually a pair of chinchillas.

According to Wikipedia, chinchillas are native to Chili in South America. The chinchilla is named after the Chincha people of the Andes, who once wore its dense, velvet-like fur. Unfortunately by the end of the 19th century, chinchillas had become quite rare after being hunted for their ultra-soft fur.

Somehow chinchillas became exotic pets. But I wouldn’t recommend them! They are very difficult to care for. Again per wikepedia they need dust baths, low stress, strict room temperature regulation, and teeth care among many other needs.

This pair we learned were relatively wild. The previous owners did not handle them and likely did not 100% know how to care for them.

Only one employee at OPHS knew how to handle them. As gently as possible she cradled one at time in her hands for their adoption portraits. Very fast, small, delicate and unpredictable we decided against letting them go on the studio table set. The first one we used a soft pink towel to wrap her in and concentrated on close ups portraits. The second one was a little more comfortable so she simply held him in her hands. While not the ideal poses we managed to create some extremely cute images of these strange rodents.

Volunteering at an animal shelter brings surprises and challenges. I never know before entering who I will encounter. I will definitely never forget those soft, squirmy, exotic chinchillas.

Listen to the narrated version on the Tales with Tails podcast Episode 8. Aired November 26, 2018.

Available on Anchor.fmApple Podcasts and your favorite podcast app.

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Tales with Tails – Seen Equals Saved

Tales with Tails – Seen Equals Saved

For years people have told me “I don’t know how you do it, I would want to take them all home.” Usually said with a sad expression and a sigh of defeat. Well meaning people everywhere can hardly comprehend how I can meet hundreds of homeless animals a year and not want to take them all home.

As a professional pet and people photographer I volunteer my skills each week to photograph adoptable animals at two local shelters. Animal House Rescue and Grooming and Fort Collins Cat Rescue Spay/Neuter Clinic here in Northern Colorado. I’ve also volunteered at Larimer Humane Society in Loveland, Colorado, at Furry Friends in Vancouver, Washington and Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Port Angeles, Washington.  

Hundreds of dogs and cats have modeled for me over the years. I’ve even had the pleasure of photographing chinchillas, rabbits, rats, ferrets, lizards, pigs, turtles, mice, fish, birds, guinea pigs and ducks. From the youngest puppies and kittens to seniors to special needs. Giant breed dogs to tiny mice. Well behaved to shy to rambunctious. Yes even neglected, abandoned and terminally ill.

So how am I able to look all those precious needy animals in the eye and not scoop them up and take them home? Can I turn my heart on and off? Do I ugly cry after each session? Do I have special powers of resistance?

I’ve decided on my role in their lives and my mission. I strive to take photographs that will speak to potential adopters. That will make someone’s heart skip a beat causing them to stop scrolling through pet adoption pages and introduce them to a perfect furbaby for their family. I am a connector.

I know good photographs make a difference. Recent statistics from HeartsSpeak.org found that good photographs increase adoption rates by 60%! Their recent campaign “Seen Equals Saved” urges creatives to use their skills and talents to make a difference in the lives of these animals and to ease the burden of rescue organizations throughout the country.

With the giving season upon us consider how you can give. You don’t have to adopt them all! You can volunteer photography, design skills, social media savvy, fostering, dog walking, litter box cleaning, and more. (Of course all our favorite organizations could use cash also!)

Wherever you are in the world you can make a difference. You could change the world for one animal today just by sharing a social media post, calling the shelter for a cleaning shift or donating time or money from your business. Every effort counts.

For this  holiday season and beyond let’s all #GiveWhereOurHearLives.

Listen to the narrated version on the Tales with Tails podcast Episode 7. Aired November 20, 2018.

Available on Anchor.fmApple Podcasts and your favorite podcast app.

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Doggo Decoder – Tales with Tails

**Fictional Tale**

My tale this week is inspired by the lingo used in the pet world. When I chat with people not obsessed with pet/animals they either crack up or give me a blank look. How many quirky pet words or phrases can you relate to in this fictional story?

Doggo Decoder – Tales with Tails

Max shivered against the chilly sudden downpour. Darn thunder started early today! Even with his thundershirt hugging him securely the poor doggo jumped at the loud booms in the sky. But we have to go on our walkies and keep housetraining on track. No more potty pads for Max! He sniffed all the good places and finally settled on watering the classic fire hydrant. (Pretty sure the irony of that decision was lost on him.)

Back in the warm house Max squirmed under a cursory towel dry. As any full blooded pupper would he jetted off at full speed to race zoomies around the house. Running and leaping in circles, under the table, and over the couch he managed to spread the rain drops evenly throughout the living room.

Sophie nonchalantly observed the undignified chaos from the third floor of her deluxe condo. The tiniest twitch of her tail registered her royal disgust. Have canines no dignity? Obviously the proper response to a wet coat is to stretch out completely and begin a luxurious bristle tongue bath on a clean duvet. Followed up with a spiteful stroll across the dining room table. And finished off with a kitty roca deposit one inch outside of the pristine litter box. Ah well everyone knows that felines are supreme beings so her station in the hierarchy will remain purrfectly undisputed.

One final shake-off starting at Max’s muzzle and spiraling all the way to the tip of his tail feathers causing a fine cloud of mist and Max finally paused. What’s this? A BarkBox has arrived? Glory days! Much barking and bouncing is necessary until the treasure chest is pried open. Cookies and squeakies and kibble and bandanas are showered upon Max every month. Doggos age 7x faster than hoomans so he can celebrate his birthday every month right?

Besides that, who knows where Max lived the first five years of his life? Scooped up off the streets by a friendly animal control officer a year ago his previous life is a mystery. Heck we don’t even know his breed without a Wisdom Panel DNA test. (It doesn’t matter anyway since he’s fluffy so his breed is “Floof” in our minds.)

As part of the animal rescue foster network in town I agreed to care for Max until he found a home. All set up with yummy food, full veterinary exam, and a giant soft bed I loaded Max in my Subaru and brought him to my house temporarily. He earned the “Pawsome Pooch” award in obedience class. He kept a respectful relationship with Sophie. And he eventually got the hang of housetraining.

But after a few weeks I realized I had failed. Foster Failed. Yup, Max wasn’t going anywhere. He had worked his magic and found his furever home as my precious furbaby.

That evening while watching the storm subside we all snuggled on the couch under a paw print blankie. Sophie kneaded biscuits on my right leg with her little pink beans. Max flopped his fuzzy chin on my left leg and snored peacefully. I glanced at the plaque on my wall and contemplated it’s message again “Who Rescued Who?”

****Doggie models are Leo & Martha who live with Kathryn Eccleston. Kathryn is the mom of Ali who founded Animal House Rescue & Grooming. If you live in Colorado consider adopting from Animal House.

Listen to the narrated version on the Tales with Tails podcast Episode 6. Aired November 13, 2018.

Available on Anchor.fmApple Podcasts and your favorite podcast app.

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Wildlife Vacation List – Tales with Tails

Wildlife Vacation List – Tales with Tails

Ever watch the movie The Big Year? Owen Wilson & Jack Black & Steve Martin are on a year long world wide competition to see all the birds on their list https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1053810/ and win an award.

They may seem obsessed and over the top but I found out that Life Lists are very real and serious for bird enthusiasts. According to http://www.backyardnature.net/birdlist.htm Life Lists are “a list of all the bird species they’ve identified with absolute certainty during their whole lifetime of serious birding.” Many Birders craft their entire annual vacations around spying a rare bird for their list.

Yeah really.

As I marvel at the dedication and depth of serious bird watchers I reflected on my own vacation habits. Shockingly I realized that I make a list of critters I’ve seen on every one of my trips! Casually, without forethought or intention I write a list. Maybe in the notes of my phone, in a journal or in a social media recap. And I’ve done it for decades! How have I just noticed this pattern? Who am I? Am I a closet naturalist? Is there a silent scientist lurking behind my camera?

With some reflection I decided that the explanation is quite simple. It’s thrilling. I get a rush when I see an animal in the wild by chance or design. I love to tell the tales of the critters I encounter to eager listeners. Like a “Wish You Were Here” postcard I share photos and stories to transport my friends and family to that moment with me.

Sometimes I have happened upon wildlife by chance. The school of dolphins in Hawaii, bear shockingly close to the trail in Alaska, the brazen wet racoon in Washington. Other times I have specifically sought out the critters. Burrowing owl families in Colorado, Orca pods in the San Juans, and tiny tail dropping lizards in Arizona.

But I can’t tell you all those tales today! You will have to watch the podcast and blog feed for all those tasty treats.

For now I am encouraging you to keep a list of the animals you encounter. You might be as shocked as I when you think back to your travels. Is your favorite story the time you rounded the bend in the trail to be face to face with a moose? Or the time you couldn’t believe your eyes at the number of tadpoles at your favorite fishing hole? Or the time you nearly bumped into a rattler on a bike ride?

Note all your sightings from your neighborhood to far off lands. Fox in your backyard? A bald eagle over the lake? Hummingbirds in the mountains? Or more exotic locals like puffins in Iceland? Blue Footed Booby in the Galapagos Islands? Giraffes in Namibia?

After a while you will have amassed a treasure trove of stories to captivate the room at any function. I have a feeling if you are tuning in to this story that you are like me. And all of your especially fond Tales have Tails.

Listen to the narrated version on the Tales with Tails podcast Episode 5. Aired November 6, 2018.

Available on Anchor.fmApple Podcasts and your favorite podcast app.

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