Dear Maximus.January 23, 2015

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Dear Maximus,

My face is wet tonite. Not the normal kind of wet, though. Like when you watch a super sad movie. No, not like that. I feel happy. But not the type of happy like when you’re getting handed that big fat Lotto check or something. For sure some tiny speckles are on the inside of my eyeglass lenses. So I know it’s real. And it’s about you..

From prehistoric-mini-dinosaur-monster-looking-dude, to unbelievably gorgeous exotic beast, I marveled at your every valiant healing step. From foster home to permanent home, you lived well and loved even better. Each person you met since August experienced your wisdom and presence in seriously profound ways. I tried to be a good gladiator-in-training student too. Here’s what I learned from you Sweet Maximus..

1. Know when to battle & know when to surrender. Be brave for both.

2. Be kind. Even when you’re losing.

3. Feeling vulnerable doesn’t suck so bad. There are worse things.

4. Live large. And with a purpose in mind.

5. Fight for what’s right. Ok, I knew that one already. But you really drove it home.

6. If you love the one who’s in front of you, make sure they know it by the look on your face.

7. Do your job really well. It matters to more people than you realize.

8. Inhale the good stuff. Every day. Love heals and strengthens all things.

9. Honor your angels. They chose you for a reason.

10. Teach only to students who are ready and willing to learn. It’s energy well spent.

11. Ask for help. Make it really known that you need it. Even if you have to look like a prehistoric-mini-dinosaur-monster-looking-dude.

12. Be humble.

13. A safe and peaceful home is everything.

14. Be a gracious houseguest.

15. Make the best use of your time. Come in with a bang and go out the same way.

16. Know your value. Appreciate when others know it too.

17. Let them see you shine.

18. Be scared. And do all of the above anyway.

So, about the wet on my face. Thinking it’s my soul talking. You hugged it in the coolest ways and it cries tonite in your honor and memory. Sleep well. Thank you. ’Til we meet again..

XO,

RA

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part One.

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part Two.

State of the Union Super Bowl 2015 Sorry For The Wait 2 WTF.January 21, 2015

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Before facebook et social media al.. I wasn’t sensory overloaded. Didn’t care to understand the every finite move of 1000’s of strangers. Was ok with not being able to know the news headlines & whose bootie was biggest that day every second. Tickers and scrolling and trending, oh my.

I cared that we were friends because we both really earned it. And those friends sought help from real professionals when they felt down instead of blindsidedly pouring their yuck energy over the rest of us. But we chose it. WTF is IT anyway? And who the fuck made up all the abbreviations?

24-7. All knowing and watching and filling our heads with bootieloads of information. Useful? Useless? Before it was just Big Brother watching us. Now it’s Google and Amazon and a million more because they can and we let them and everything is upgraded and upscaled like the rotary phone never needed to be and we buy the shit and feel better and smarter and prettier and faster and more successful and loved and the selfie proves it and the LIKES prove it even more and it’s so exhausting that there is no word I know of that describes the angst and resentment and despair I feel longing for those days none of this shit mattered and you almost always knew the story was true cuz you heard it firsthand and not 32,456th hand.

What’s next? We turn into computers? Fuck. Too late. Cuz I already feel like a robot. Trying to communicate with a bunch of other robot computers. Each on their personal version of an operating system. Not compatible with mine and yours. Wires crossing in the clouds. Interpersonal my ass. Mary J had no idea about the drama that was to come.

No need to pray anymore. All your most important life questions can be answered by The Google God. There’s a Top 17 Reasons..blah, blah article for whatever your heart desires, sweetheart, and you will believe it cuz it glows from the slick screen into your eyeballs and then brain cells and it’s just all so shiny and what was that really important life question that mattered so much to me 9 minutes ago, again??

Maybe I’ve just been amazed too many times. Emotionally rollercoastered by the minute. My fingertips are magic now. For most of my life they were only good for turning pages. And even then they needed a little lick to work that corner of the paper right. I can travel the world and back with them now. In no time. Crazy and amazing. But not sure my robot can care about this much stuff.

When is it enuf? Too much? I want to hold a big vinyl record or a paper photo & cherish it like it was meant to be at the time it was created. Really important stuff. Not take it for granted because there are a bajillion more digital whatevers being spit out at that very same second. By every Jones and Harry and Dick. Of mostly little substance. That I’m trying to top so I will be more loved tomorrow. So I can fill that mystery space that’s empty. So WTF.?!

HFD Rescues Tiny Maltipoo Dog Trapped 48 Hours by Robyn AroutyDecember 28, 2014

HFD Rescues Tiny Maltipoo Dog Trapped 48 Hours by Robyn AroutyWas sitting at iHop this morning, waiting for my friend Teresa from Lone Star Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso Rescue who was running a little late, when she called to say she got caught on the phone trying to find a foundation or excavation team to come out to Memorial where a little 9 pound maltipoo dog was stuck under a house since Friday.

After she arrived, she said that Adele of Houston Miniature Schnauzer Rescue had got in contact with Captain Langston from the Houston Fire Department Technical Rescue & they were on their way to the house with a team. So we headed that way too..

Wow, those guys totally kicked ass! It took several dog lovers contacting each other through social media to make this all happen. It was cold & this dog is tiny. There was no heavy equipment; it was all done by hand. And did I mention that the homeowners whose sunporch was being torn up were out of town?

The home is on a hill & there was an intricate concrete & beam structure below which created a maze of sorts. They had no idea how the dog got under there or where he was exactly, but they heard his cries.

They removed parts of the deck as needed.

They used a snake with a camera on the end of it to look for Onyx.

Channel 2 News was there to capture it all.

There were plumbers there digging from the other side of the house also.

They kept bringing in containers to haul off all the dirt & leaves they dug out from under the house. Then he said the cries were getting louder.

It was like watching a live birth, I swear.. There was Onyx! And he handed him up to the rescuer above!

Mama was thrilled & they ran him directly over to Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists.

Last report is he was back home with only some eye irritation from the dirt. Great job everyone!

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Update:  Video of the rescue courtesy of Teresa below!

A Christmas Story. And May The Force Be With You!December 27, 2014

A Christmas Story. And May The Force Be With You!

robyn arouty1I had a pretty good idea of what David meant when he surrendered Madonna & Anthony Ciccone to me that day when he said, he “..didn’t want anything standing in the way of their happiness and well-being.” Wish he could see where his buddies are today..

If you’re not familiar with their story, go here.

10688251_10152759070759277_2996401228052397786_oMadonna was adopted right away & now lives in Alabama on a fab farm. With horses, chickens, donkeys, all kinds of stuff, & greyhound & great dane brothers!

It took a little longer for Anthony, but boy did we enjoy the heck out of that goofy angel guy at the studio! I have to thank a few people for donating their time & resources for Anthony. I couldn’t have done it without you: Jessica, Michelle P., Regina, Kristen, Bryan, Karen, Katie, Julia, Lisa, Kira, & Michelle M.

Then an adoption application came in from Kathleen, a Houston doctor, who wanted to meet him right away. Her 13 year old son Tres had been wanting a dog for quite a while..even created a digital presentation for his parents about why he should be allowed to have one. As rescuers we are not necessarily fans of giving pets as gifts. But since this was a well thought out adoption for a fine young man, I decided to have faith & be excited for the beautiful life I know Anthony will have with Kathleen & her loving family.

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On Christmas Eve night, I snuck him into their home while the family was at church. And he was the biggest hit!

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Here he is with his new family!

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Tres is a Star Wars fanatic. He renamed Anthony Chewbacca & they’re calling him Chewy.

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Chewy is sleeping in a crate in Tres’ room…right next to this awesome galaxy Christmas tree (minus the A&M thingee, anyway).

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Did you know that George Lucas was inspired by his own dog sitting in the passenger seat of his car when he came up with the Chewbacca character? (The dog, named Indiana, also inspired the name of the lead character in another one of Lucas’ film franchises – Indiana Jones. It is said that Chewbacca’s name is derived from собака (sobaka), the Russian word for dog. Cool, huh?)

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“I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m here to rescue you.”

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Just when you think you’ve seen it all.November 10, 2014

Just when you think you’ve seen it all.

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They didn’t know how or why..

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But there they were…abandoned in a neighbor’s yard.

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I shook my head. Called a good rescue friend. And took out the camera.

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She recently had puppies…& now she was nursing two small kittens.

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Caring for them as if they were her own.

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Protecting them and teaching them.

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Compassionate and loving. And doing all the motherly things.

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And happy to have the job.

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The (thus far) unnamed Mama Yorkie & kitties have been graciously taken in by Buster’s Friends Rescue. If you would like to help with their care, you can click on the yellow donate button here:  http://bustersfriends.org/. Thank you.

RA

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part Two.August 18, 2014

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez, commander of the Armies of the Warehouse District, General of the Houston Legions, loyal servant to all who feed me. Ooh, I meant, Need Me! Father to many murdered sons. And I will have my peace. In this life or the next!robyn arouty

 

OK. The truth is I’m just Maximus. But you can call me Max. I have seen The Gladiator movie 8 times on Netflix & so now I randomly break into Maximus-The-Gladiator-Speak. LOL. Here is Part One of my story if you are not familiar._MG_9685

 

I was a novice gladiator here. Still a common person. I thought the Gods had a sense of humor that I was still alive.10426927_10204408120188799_2239912083530538604_n

 

The day Kim drove up I was really tired. Tired of feeling sorry for myself. I barked, “Dear Gods! Allow me to go home!”_MG_9710

 

Robyn documented our Kira and the cavalry meeting very carefully._MG_9670

 

This is my foster brother Freddy. Kim bought his freedom too. (Did you catch that reference?) He stayed in his crate in my arena the entire time. He learned a lot too.

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I have seen much of the rest of the world. It is cruel and brutal and dark. I was looking for the light. I found it with Kim. Kira shined it even brighter._MG_9665

 

I’m not looking back. What’s done is done. And I have a lot of work to do here. This much I know is true. What we do in life echoes into eternity. And my life is about to change.

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Houston is a colosseum of people in pain. Doing painful things to animals. It is hard to talk about. The suffering will continue for as long as we fail to solve our own problems. The guys who arrange dogs to fight are no different than the businessmen who organized gladiator fighting for money in Roman times. They were called lanistaes. The term also meant “butcher.” Interesting. You know dirt cleans off much easier than blood. But I digress…_MG_9688

 

Kira speaks with animals. Not for them. She helps us reconnect our emotions and our hearts and souls. The soul has all the answers. She has many keys._MG_9713

 

1.2 Million of my brothers & sisters are out there in the swelter. Tens of thousands are bloodied with needles. Thousands more will never leave these places. I refuse to believe they fought and died for nothing.

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I know no fear now. Kira is an amazon. A female gladiator of sorts; conquering the walls that separate so many important things. She believes that causes and effects are related. For example, a recent “effect” in my life was that my back legs stopped working. The “cause” was my inability to accept my new life in a family environment. I’ve always had to provide for myself. Knew not of love and affection. The change was a shock to my core. But now I quite like it. And I can walk!

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We should know when we’re conquered. Our battle is within ourselves. I thought myself so elite. So busy trying to hide my unappealing parts, yet that is precisely what the world saw of me. Surrender now. Selfishness is not becoming. The chariot to our authentic lives await._MG_9676

 

Strength and honor. Authenticity and heart. End to spirits of War. Isn’t that what we all pray for? I fought the good fight. My armour on the soil. Retreated. Withdrew my weapons. Home is my reward._MG_9662

 

I think I was afraid all my life. Broken from the pack today thanks to Kira. My grip has shifted and I can march on with the swords of my soul blazing._MG_9712

 

I know now that I have talent for survival. All for the glory of the empire! My brothers and sisters. Animal and human gladiators alike. Hear our new battle cry! VICTORY!

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My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part One.August 14, 2014

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part One.

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I battled the streets of Downtown Houston for the last couple of years. I am part golden retriever, part akita, part german shepherd, part sharpei, part rottweiler and part gladiator. Quite the large empire some might say.

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On June 30th while on her way to work, instead of shielding her vision like so many mercilessly did before her, Kim stopped her chariot. She cried. And I surrendered.

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I was doing well until my back legs ceased to move. Tests show no definitive medical cause for this, although they are beginning to improve now.

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If you would like to see more of my story, please visit my facebook page.

Here is a video of what I looked like on Day One at Kim’s house.

Kira of Intuitive Pet Care came to our house last night. It was an intense meeting of the minds. I listened intently to everything she had to say. She helped me feel safe. Her wisdom will help me go far and become a more civilized gladiator. But more importantly, it will help those I love. Afterall, that is why I am here.

Here is what Kira told Kim, my foster mama:

“Max finds it very hard to accept help or affection. He doesn’t really know how and it really isn’t who he is since he is used to holding up everyone else around him. He knows how to carry the weight and be a leader. He doesnt mind much of anything. He is very subtle in his ways. He likes to do things without making a big deal about it. He’d rather not have all eyes on him.

You need a strong male supportive energy that is available to you to help you feel less alone sometimes and to hold space for you and help counteract all the worrying you do. He is so NOT a worrier and he knows that everything is ok and works to be the ground under your feet that affirms that for you.

He’s working with your husband and helping him feel more confident and strong in himself to find more balance in his life. He loves the family and the 3 boys who really inspire him to let loose and have fun and just be free of responsibility.

He was so used to surviving that he didnt have time to let loose or have fun. He was always doing something to provide and sustain. He never knew what touch was so it was hard for him to integrate at first because thats a lot of energy to accomodate and process. It was really intense because he had nothing else to compare it to, so coupled with the love of a human it was like magic. We’ve made a believer out of him.

He balances the energy with his presence and brings more calm stable energy to the house to counteract the built up tension and need for playful expression and need for affection and relaxation.

The built up tension comes out in the trio (Kim’s other 3 dogs) through excessive licking, playing, and expressive movements. Max is all about going with the flow and learning how to accept love which is also something he is working on your husband with and why he can sort of relate to his energy in a different way.

The loss of his back legs was essentially representing a rebirth that he didnt know how to accept or deal with at first, but is slowly gaining momentum and accepting his new life in a family environment.

His inner personality that was used to being on the streets is being reformed into a personality that knows what love looks and feels like so his physical body needs to to adjust and relax into all the changes.

Max is the most humble gladiator you’ll ever meet.”

Take a look at this video to see what happened just minutes after Kira’s visit. I have never felt so peaceful and free:

“Together We Made One.” By Shadow AdamsAugust 8, 2014

“Together We Made One.” By Shadow Adams

Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that I’m up here with Dukey. And I promise we are OK. Robyn had actually agreed to help me tell my story a while back. It’s a happy one too. But first I need to tell you about my Mama. Her name is Regina.

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She was taught to love animals. Or maybe she was just born that way. See?

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I appeared in her life about 6 years ago. My former Daddy needed to find me a new place to live because my other Mama went to Heaven and he worked a swing shift and couldn’t properly care for me. This picture was from our first night together.

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I became her Shadow. And she was mine. We vowed to protect each other. Soul sisters forever.

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We first met Robyn a few years ago when we had pictures done with our cat Grace. Then Mama & Robyn became good friends. They enjoy working together to help animals who need it.

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Not long after that a dog showed up in the backyard at our house. We let him stay & named him Kermit. It fits. He is goofy, but he’s my best friend.

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Then a little over 1 1/2 years ago I got sick with Degenerative Myelopathy. The short version is that it’s an incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord common in german shepherds & some other breeds.

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But I wasn’t in pain at all. Still kept playing. And they gave me a cool wheelchair.

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Mama researched everything she could on the disease. She cooked me delicious meals every day that were good for my health.

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Then one day Mama saw this silly picture. She had no intentions of getting us a puppy. But she thought this puppy looked like the perfect combination of me & Kermit. I agree. And I’m so glad she brought me a baby. We named her Lotte.

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Kermit needs a best friend on earth when I’m gone. And she caught up to him pretty fast.

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Pretty soon it was time to say goodbye. The disease had really taken over my body. So Mama invited over all her family & friends one by one to spend some time with me. Last weekend my grandparents came into town with our Mamie. They brought my other best friend Lola who Mama rescued & her parents couldn’t live without. Just pretend you’re watching a movie. I hope you feel all the good stuff I did that day.

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The next day we went to see Lisa at Rummy’s Beach Club. She let me enjoy one last swim. I gave it my all for 45 minutes. Again, watch the movie. And don’t miss my rainbow.

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Be Well My Friends. Love, Shadow

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What Incredible Pet Parents Look Like.August 7, 2014

What Incredible Pet Parents Look Like.

I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting some of the coolest people over the last 5 years.

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And they all have stories.

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Meet Paula & Munchkie.

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They first came in for portraits in 2011. And we had a blast.

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Paula & Shawn own a real estate company. Their portraits were used to create fun greeting cards & ads that showed up in the most unexpected places.

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One thing was clear. They loved animals. Especially Munchkie.

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The next year we had fun creating images for holiday & birthday cards to send to their clients.

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What we see as perfectly normal i.e. photos with our pets, I’m learning is quite extraordinary to many people.

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Then I got to meet the rest of the family.

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But the star of the show. Again.

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Their dogs are their world.

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Their children with 4 legs.

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Adopted all of them. They know lives need saving & they do their part.

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Magical happy living.

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She came into their lives for very specific reasons.

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Her mission was complete. Soon after this photoshoot.

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Rest In Peace Munchkie.

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Love Stories. The Human/Animal Bond.July 29, 2014

I’m not a street photographer. Or a pet photographer. Or… I’m a photographer. Please don’t box me in because I never know when something beautiful will happen & I happen to have my camera. Or I plan something beautiful that doesn’t fit into that category you want to put me in, i.e. Teddi O’Bear.

robyn arouty pettalk aug On June 4th, I posted this photo on facebook with the following:

I walked out of the corner store near the studio & got stopped right in my tracks…

Christopher aka Yetty: “Hey, cool tatts ya got there.”

Me: “Thanks. I love your puppies!”

Christopher aka Yetty: “I found 7 down the way in a ditch the other day. Could only grab 3. Gave one away.”

Me: “I’ve got some collars & dog food in my car. Also my camera, since I just came from a photoshoot. You sure are a sight to behold, honey! Do you mind if I take your picture?”

Christopher aka Yetty: “Wow. I would love a collar for brown one if you have it. I don’t have a problem getting them food. And, sure, yeah, take our picture!”

My life got pretty magical after that. But let me back up a second…

The day after meeting Yetty, I went back to the corner store & drove around the area to try to find him. Wanted to tell him how many people loved his photo & thank him, but to no avail. I spoke to the owner of the store who reported that Yetty & his girlfriend had been coming in every other morning for breakfast tacos pretty consistently over the past couple of months. I left my card & continued to check back in. He never returned. So, it was likely he continued on his way to Mexico which was the story he had told both of us. “Just passing through town…”

Then Michael Berry, a popular radio personality of the conservative persuasion, saw the photo & freaked out & was calling for me on air to get in touch. My phone was crazy that morning. Magical. (BTW, Who knew I had so many friends listening to talk radio?? Ha!)

Michelle Mantor, the publisher of Houston PetTalk Magazine saw the photo the same day. We have worked together for years, but it’s been a while since our last project. She saw the cover & story immediately & was as smitten with Yetty as I was. Major props to her. She gave me a chance in 2010 even though my style was less than traditional…fast forward 4 years & she puts Yetty’s photo on the cover. Gotta love that woman. Magical.

So we got to work. Decided to feature some of my client portraits with their pets & tell their “love stories.” Michelle picked her favorites & each client wrote a 500ish word essay. So, the deadline to go to print happened at the same time that Dukey’s blog post went viral. She adjusted the timing a bit for me & we made it in time. Thank you xanax. They are magnificent, OMG. And what a wonderful time to share Yetty & friends & all they represent with you.. Magical.

Enjoy.

XO,
RA

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