Guest Blogger – Ross Norwood from Canine Commitment of NE – Dog Rescue

Dear KSP Followers,

It is my pleasure to have Ross Norwood as a guest blogger today.

Ross began her non-profit in December, 2010. There are two locations that are licensed shelter facilities in the state of NH. In Manchester, Melissa houses pups in her home while awaiting adoption. In New Boston, the pups have their own building on Ross’ property. Between the two locations, and a wonderful group of volunteers that help us care for the dogs, advertise the dogs, and process applications, Canine Commitment is saving hundreds of lives each year – and they continue to grow each year!

Ross grew up primarily in Texas, and attended the University of Texas in Austin where she graduated with an honors interdisciplinary liberal arts degree. Professionally, she spent her career in marketing and PR in both Austin, Texas, and Boston, Massachusetts. She became a stay-at-home mother in March of 2003 with the birth of her first daughter, Jamison. Annelise followed in November of 2006. In 2008 Ross and her family adopted a dog through Canine Commitment in Maine, where she met the director and told her “if you ever need someone to pick up a dog or anything, you should give me a call.” The rest is history. Ross and her family eventually moved from their home in Bedford, NH, to a home in New Boston on 22 acres, where the rescue pups could have their own building. Ross raises her two daughters with her husband, Scott Setzler, while managing the day-to-day activities of Canine Commitment. As a full-on ADD sufferer, Ross’ favorite saying is: Rescue is a lot of things, but it is never, ever boring. She has not been bored one day since starting this rescue journey. It provides the highest highs and lowest lows, but she knows she could never go back to not being a part, no matter how small, of a solution to our country’s overpopulation and killing. In the future, Ross hopes to work on educational programs to help teach children that animals deserve our respect and kindness. Perhaps, if we start with kids, we can all achieve a day where there will be no more dogs killed in our country for lack of a home.

I personally have had the privileged to work with both Ross and Melissa. When I tell you these ladies work hard it is an understatement. These ladies care for sick, injured, scared and abused animals all day every day. There’s is not a 9-5 job!  As much as Ross compliments me, she and Melissa are the ones doing the real work. I hope you enjoy Ross’ post and please consider adopting from or donating to Canine Commitment.

http://caninecommit.org/

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If you are lucky enough to know Kimberly Sarah Photography and you follow them on social media, you likely have seen Kim’s gorgeous photos of Canine Commitment’s dogs.

It was our lucky day, truly, when Kim reached out to us and offered her amazing talents to help us showcase our pups and help find their homes. Kim asked me to share a little bit about Canine Commitment, and I’m happy to do that!

Canine Commitment is an all-breed dog rescue based in New Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire. We have been around as Canine Commitment of New England since 2010, and since then thousands of dogs – and even a few hundred kittens – have come through our doors. “We” is two of us who are licensed as shelters out of our personal homes. We are set-up a bit differently than most rescues in that we work hands-on with each and every dog that comes through our rescue, and also work with the potential adopters. We utilize a handful of foster homes when needed, but primarily keep the dogs with us so that we know them well, can answer questions, and have them ready to meet potential adopters.

But “we” is also dozens of dedicated volunteers and a few employees who care for the dogs daily, assist with medical records and adoption packets, and keep two crazy rescuers sane! Over the years, the rescue has grown in wonderful ways and brought so many amazing dogs and fantastic people to us. We are so grateful that the thing we hear the most from applicants is that they know several people who have adopted from us, or even that they have adopted from us in the past and want to work with us again! It is incredible to us that we find great homes for not only the cute fluffy puppies, but also the senior dogs with medical issues, and the three legged pups and the deaf pups … all because so many people in our area open their homes and hearts to rescue dogs.

New England is unique from many parts of our country in that we do not have overflowing shelters and puppies in boxes for sale at every flea market. That, and much, much more, is what our rescue partners in the south are dealing with each and every day. Through our wonderful partnerships with Tupelo-Lee Humane Society, Southern Magnolia Boxer Rescue, and several independent rescuers, we are able to help move dogs into New England that otherwise would have no hope of finding a loving home. Whether you are looking for a puppy to grow up with your family, or a calm, older dog who didn’t get the best start in life, or a fun-loving, ready-for-adventure goofball, you can find what you are looking for through rescues like Canine Commitment and many other wonderful, dedicated groups across New England. And if you are really, really lucky … it might be one who has a glamour shot done by Kimberly Sarah Photography!

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A Piece of My Heart – Sessions One, Two and Three

This past week I have had the honor of completing three Piece of My Heart (POMH) sessions. I must tell you these are the most difficult sessions for me and it may not be the reason one might think.

What goes into a typical session?

I often get inquires from folks wanting more information about my “regular” sessions or for my Four Legged Newborn sessions.  These inquires lead ultimately to a phone call, booking a time for the studio.  It is after this call that I can start my creative process – setting my brain to work on how to make each shoot unique while capturing my style and the customer’s desires.   I truly love this process.  And I love hearing from such proud pet parents! I get excited for each and every pup walking through my door!

All of those things happen for the POMH sessions as well. However, there is more to it, I hear about how much this ill or senior dog is loved, how this dog became such a part of their lives. I hear about the illness that is wreaking havoc over their beloved pet’s body. I hear about all the things they used to do and cannot enjoy any longer. I hear about the choices they have to make for their dogs. I hear about the stories of when they first met – true love stories.  All of this is very heartbreaking, as many of you reading this, I too have lost my best friend and am staring down the barrel of another: my Winston is 10.

But again, in the above sentences those are not reasons I have difficulty with these sessions. I am more than okay with talking to folks about their ailing dogs. Do I cry? Yes. Do I feel for them? Of course I do.I would not be in this business if I didn’t have a wide open heart for dogs and people. They hurt; I hurt.

The reason for my difficulty is making the session “good enough”. I want these sessions to be enjoyable and memorable. I want my customers feel that this experience is long lasting.  And above all I want these images to hang on their walls and not heavy in their hearts. I want people to look at these photos and smile even just for one second as they grieve their loss.  I want theses photos to help in the sorrow that they are feeling. I want people to feel close to their dog. Living or past, dogs fill our hearts with love. That is what I want my photos to do. That’s a tall order.

I choose not to show the images I create in our Piece of My Heart sessions.  These images are private – a moment between the lens and the dog.  These moments, captured forever in these images, represent the memories between the owner and their loved pet.  Those moments are private and in the deepest way personal.  If the owner chooses to share an image publicly, I may, with their permission do so too.  But I won’t post images, however poignant or vital, that might objectify these amazing four-legged members of my customer’s family.

The images I create in these sessions capture the silliness, tenderness, and love of the relationship between two living creatures sharing a journey together. May peace be at their side.

 

If you’d like more information on these sessions, please feel free to email or call me and ask any questions you’d like.

Kim@KimberlySarahPhotography.com

781-504-9404