The Day of the Podenco

Kodak and Atlas (@kodak_and_atlas) came to the studio in London a couple of weeks ago. They’re two wonderful rescue dogs and both Podencos. With International Day of the Podenco just finished it seems a blessing to be able to show some of our photos from the session.

Atlas is around 6 years old and in his first few weeks with his new family (including Kodak). He’s had a rough life so far but you’d never know it. Kodak is a complete sweetheart and his partner is crime.

Too many Podencos endure an extremely hard life - in Spain they’re generally used as hunting dogs, underfed (which means they work harder according to the hunters) and kept in squalid conditions. Atlas’ teeth are completely worn down where he’s presumably tried to escape bars or chains. If Podencos don’t earn their keep as a good hunting dog they’re lucky if they survive. Most are killed by the hunters in shockingly brutal ways - hung low from trees to ensure a long and painful death, legs broken or mouths fixed shut so they starve to death, or thrown down deep wells where either they will be killed from the fall or starvation. They are simply not protected by Spanish laws and up to 150,000 are killed each year during the hunting season.

Podencos are often called ‘The Great Forgotten’ and an overlooked breed.

But, as I found out from the owners of these two loving Podencos, there’s now more help available to help this situation. Charities such as @hopeforpodencos, @podenco_friends, @sospodencorescue and @ibizanhoundrescue are just some of the organisations doing their bit to change the situation. Give them a visit and let’s show our support.

In the meantime, and to celebrate them in a positive light, here’s some of our portraits from our photography session:

Bullet, a mini schichi with a huge heart

Bullet the shichi (Shitzu x Chihuahua) visited the studio at the start of the week. I had to set up a full height table for this little gal - as her owner describes her she’s the size of a squirrel with the heart of a lion. She’s certainly small but very entertaining. I couldn’t ask anything better of a dog to sit and wait as long as she did - Bullet’s a pro when it comes to having her photograph taken. Here’s a couple of my favourites.

You can find Bullet over on Instagram here: @minibbulletdog

Maggie and Mishka

Maggie and Mishka came up from Brighton to my London studio during the weekend. I’d read about their story on Instagram, in particular the harrowing treatment that Maggie had been subjected to in the past. She’s an ex-street dog from Lebanon who suffered so much cruelty but who’s now in such a loving home with her owner. ‘Her ear was cut off and she was shot in the face resulting in her going blind. She was left in this state for quite a while until a lovely woman saw her story and helped her get the help she needed. She has many bullets left in her body but they don’t affect her anymore. She is a very sweet and courageous dog who despite her past still loves all people. She’s the perfect example of what to be. She lives in the moment not in the past and always sees the good in humans.’

I’d read this before I met Maggie and she really is the most loving and forgiving dog, a special soul. During our time in the studio Maggie’s sweet and outgoing nature was pretty infectious. She’s a cuddle-monster and although blind will hunt down a treat in the most hidden of places. On a personal level Maggie also reminds me of a smaller version of my own rescue dog Ludo and certainly stole my heart in a similar way. Dogs can be so resilient and forgiving and I truly believe we have a lot to learn from them. In the case of Maggie this really shines through and there’s something about her character and portraits that is so tranquil and unique - what a special time.

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It was a kind hearted woman called Roxana that gave Maggie the chance to live life happily as she does now. She saw a post about a blind street dog and felt compelled to help. Having never met Maggs, she started the rescue process and contacted so many charities asking for help. All of which said no, until she found @wild_at_heart_foundation. Roxana was able to see past Maggie’s disabilities and abuse and knew she deserved a second chance at life, and along with The Wild at Heart Foundation found Maggie her new owner and happy home. I also can’t go referring to this shoot without mentioning her lovely sidekick Mishka. She’s a stunning rescue dog and a real treat to photograph. The pair of them play like any normal couple of dogs would, full of play and affection, and you can see how they are thriving in their safe, fun and loving home. Thanks so much for stopping by all of you! Go and follow @smartypaws_ for regular updates on Maggie and Mishka - it’s always guaranteed to lighten your day.

Here’s a small selection from the day and keep an eye out for some extras on my Instagram.

Alex x