Pet Tips 'n' Tales©

Crazy Moose Among Us

Courtesy Photo©
It started off innocently enough. Trish and Dan Olsen volunteered to pose for a "family" pet photo with their canine companions, but soon learned of the difficulties involved in such an endeavor. They started the 1-1/2-hour puppy-piddling, mayhem-filled photo shoot with six dogs, but ended with only two, Moose and Charlie (pictured above), after a cat walked by. Nevertheless, they gained a few helpful hints towards future "family" photo sessions.


This humorous tale features two Moose stories and a moose video that vary in height, length and species.

When I asked retired Fire Chief Dan Olsen and his wife, Trish, to email me a "family" photo with their dogs, they said, " problem."  They soon learned that taking a photograph with pets is "about as easy as herding cats," laughs Dan.

They chose a scenic spot and then realized, "When we looked into the camera we saw tree branches growing out of our heads, and an old, hideously-painted car," said Dan.  So they created a more "professional-looking" background by using a sheet strung up with duct tape "garters".

Their dogs, Moose (mini-dachshund/beagle), Charlie (Chihuahua) and Savannah (Labrador) were brushed and ready. Then, they decided to include their three "granddogs" in the "family" portrait. The dogs, all spayed/neutered, get along well. The plan was to have Dan and Trish pose holding the small dogs with the larger dogs sitting statuesquely at their feet.
"Trish and I began lining up the dogs.  Have you tried to get one dog, let alone six, to do as you ask? They don't line up very well," explains Dan.

Easily-excited Moose "tinkled" all over the place. Out comes a bucket to clean things up, followed by a curious cat. Dan tripped over the cat and all mayhem broke loose.

"All we wanted was a simple photograph," laughs Trish.

They sit down again, gather dogs, then realize that all the dogs have their "hineys" facing the camera as they gaze adoringly at Dan and Trish. Not exactly the "Norman Rockwell" look they were going for.

By now, the sun has moved and is casting shadows, so out comes another sheet and more duct tape which provides a soft light to illuminate the not-so-calm scene.

Two of the granddogs had had enough of waiting around for a treat and left the porch. The third one decided that the excitement was over and wandered off. Then, while two grandcats began to walk along the porch railing to investigate all the activity, Savannah decided to "investigate" them.

One-and-a-half hours later, while smiling for the 111th time, holding Moose and Charlie, Dan's and Trish's patient granddaughter, Nikki, finally snaps the purrfect "family" photo. It is a day they will long remember!

Years ago, Sherry and Dr. Geoff Simmons adopted Moose, a mammoth eight-week-old, light tan puppy, who was larger than a full grown Dachshund.

"We had no idea that he would grow and grow and grow! He eventually weighed 180 pounds! More than me," exclaims Dr. Geoff. "We were told that Moose was a Husky-Malamute mix, a nomadic runner, but he resembled something more like a giant mutant deer."

At a "light" 100 pounds, Moose attended doggy discipline school.  However, the exercising with him strained Dr. Geoff's neck and Sherry's back so they reluctantly had to relegate Moose to the status of obedience school drop-out.

Although a friendly dog, Moose's size was a challenge and having him around brought tension and unexpected emergencies to their lives. "His long, powerful tail could clear a table set for eight in one swift motion!" said Sherry.

Whenever Moose was left outside unattended, he found a way to escape and would tour the neighboring countryside. "No matter what my husband tried, Moose found a way out or over, our backyard's six-foot-high deer fence," said Sherry.

Throughout all of his wanderings, Moose proudly returned home with a sundry of items," said Dr. Geoff. "Moose's new found treasures included all our neighbors' newspapers, bags from every fast food joint around, cans and bottles, a car's muffler and a very decayed cat carcass that smelled awful. I promptly buried the cat carcass."

The next day, Moose excitedly dug up the carcass, and with his tail wagging joyfully, brought it back to Dr. Geoff.  (Sure, they laugh about it now, but it wasn't funny at the time!)

Moose was a true lover but a handful, so they located a new home for Moose. When Moose's new owner-- a young man--arrived, it was love at first sight.  Everyone was happy, including Moose. The Simmons provided a $50 stipend for "relocation" food and supplies and waved farewell to Moose.

Unfortunately, the next day, the new owner returned Moose and the check. It seems that Moose had eaten an entire garden hose. The boy was so rattled he forgot to deduct the price of the hose from the $50. Moose lived several more years with the Simmons...keeping them on their toes the entire time.


Santa Bob's and Angel Scribe's pet photographic tips:
"I pose as Santa with pets for fund raisers," said Bob of Rude Ranch Animal Rescue. "For successful pet photos, play with or walk your pet prior to the photo session. A rowdy fur-ball makes for blurry pictures, whereas a tired pet won't fuss and move around as much."

- If your pet is modeling a costume, dress it in the costume a few times prior to the photo session.

- Although your pet has beautiful fur/markings, it's best to focus on the face; the eyes are the window to the soul.

- Position your pet's face as close to yours as possible. For photos with large dogs, sit beside them on a bench, chair or on the ground.

- Avoid wearing dark clothes if your pet is dark-colored, or light clothes if your pet is light-colored. Rather, wear a contrasting, solid color so it silhouettes your pet against you. 

- Avoid wearing white clothes, as white "confuses" the flash.

- If possible, have someone stand BESIDE the camera to call your pet(s), "rattle" their favorite food, squeeze a squeak a toy, or "rattle" a shiny object 1 inch ABOVE the camera as it makes your pet(s) look as if they are looking into the camera.

- Stand sideways, turn your shoulder towards the camera which will make it look like you used the magical slim film! More of your pet shows up this way too.

- Smile, look directly into the camera and THINK of something you LOVE so that your face takes on a  soft, kind, and warm look highlighting a shared moment of Love!

- Snap the picture at the pet's eye level, not above them.

- Take multiple shots.

- Patience makes "purrfect"!

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