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Canine Accreditation

2018 is a year for personal goals. I have been busy with some projects and rebranding to Savvy Cat Photography so it slipped through the cracks to announce my Canine Accreditation through PPOC (Professional Photographers of Canada). It is quite a milestone to reach as it has been in the making for quite some time.  I would get sidetracked or too scared to submit my work thinking I was not good enough.

What I have learned along the way of this journey is I am definitely good enough and then some. What is the definition of good enough? That depends on so many variables. It was my own mind that was halting any growth with my photography. I have been able to break through the self doubt and take more chances than I have in a long time. Was it because of my accreditation? Absolutely not, but it did contribute to it.  

What's next for me? I am going to go for my Feline accreditation next. I have some images that I think would work perfectly and others that I am planning. Would you like to help with those? Send me a message. I also have some other projects that will be announced in the next coming months. Stay Tuned! 

Here are the images that helped get my accreditation:

Furever Keepsakes

Lisa_Witherley_FureverKeepsakes (1 of 1)-2.jpg

Last fall I was invited to take family portraits for my friend Michelle and her family. I was able to talk her into a couple of portraits of herself that she could use for her business which I am super excited to introduce you to. 

Michelle owns Furever Keepsakes. She takes the fur brushings from pets (dogs, cats, and rabbits) and spins them into yarn just like people do with wool. From there, she can make keepsakes and clothing from this yarn. I've seen her make gloves, toques, teddy bears, hearts, dream catchers and more.

Yarn spun from dog fur is called Chiengora which is known as a luxury fibre and can be up to 80% warmer than wool. Once the yarn gets washed, it will no longer smell like stinky dog if that is your worry. Even if it gets wet after the fact, it will not smell like dog but you will certainly know that the yarn came from something you loved dearly. Should you wish to have the yarn continue to smell like your dog, you can request it to be unwashed. Sometimes the fur will be too fine or short and will need to be added to another fibre to give it the strength you will need but will not take away from the memory you hold so tight. 

 Photo provided by Furever Keepsakes 

Photo provided by Furever Keepsakes 

 Photo provided by Furever Keepsakes

Photo provided by Furever Keepsakes

What was Michelle's inspiration for Furever Keepsakes? Her beloved dog, Keno was. He was a Great Pyrenees with beautiful thick, white fur. Keno has since passed but not before Michelle was able to collect an ample amount of fur. Shortly after that Michelle went on a quest to learn to spin. Being a Veterinary Technician, Michelle has been able to see first hand the bond owners have with their pets and how hard it can be to lose them. Letting them hold onto a beautiful keepsake that was a physical part of their pet can bring an enormous amount comfort.

 Photo provided by Furever Keepsakes

Photo provided by Furever Keepsakes

From the proceeds of Michelle's business she is also able to donate a portion to local charities that include: Tails of Help, Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force and Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). 

I have started to collect my Bernese Mountain Dogs fur and I am very excited to pass it onto Michelle to see what she can make with it. Once you think about it, it's the perfect time of year to collect that shedding coat. What else are you going to use the fur for? Might as well make use of it. Am I right?

Should you wish to have your own keepsake or just simply have the fur spun so you can create your own keepsake, please contact Michelle at keepsakesfurever@gmail.com or you can check out her fabulous creations at www.fureverkeepsakes.net. Gift cards are also available for purchase if you know someone who would love this experience. 

I'm looking forward to my experience. I just wish I had this opportunity with my past pets. It would be nice to have something that i know came from them.

Happy Cat Sanctuary Society of Alberta

What is Happy Cat Sanctuary? They are a rescue and sanctuary for abandoned, stray and feral cats. Located in Strathmore, Alberta, they were founded by 2 women that had a huge concern for the welfare of the roaming cats in Strathmore and its surrounding areas. They can have 60-100 cats in their care at any given time. These can include: pregnant cats, kittens, geriatric cats, feral cats, and adult cats. You name it, they have had or do have them currently in their care.

There main goal is to rescue and rehabilitate as many cats as they can. From there they move them into foster homes and prepare them for adoption. They provide year round shelter and food in safe locations for many cats. But, they don’t stop there.  They also reunite lost cats with their owners as well as run a successful TNR (Trap, Neuter and return) program in their community for the feral cats.

Happy Cat Sanctuary is one of the smaller rescues here in Alberta bur they have a big heart. They are 100% volunteer run and have created some wonderful relationships with local Veterinarians.  These Veterinarians have made many things possible for this amazing rescue. Their volunteers are trained to bottle raise neonatal kittens, provide intensive medical treatments, behavioral training and post-surgical care. The have a small network of foster homes, several dedicated volunteers and 2 private facilities that they are able to utilize as catteries.  There are some sanctuary cats that may never be adoptable due to medical or behavioral conditions. They require a special home and special people to take care of these needs. The 2 ladies that run Happy Cat are just these people. They are very special people with 2 great big hearts and a lot of love to give their cats.

What do these ladies have to say about the work they do – “It can be very difficult at times seeing the condition many of the cats are in when they arrive.  We love what we do and are incredibly proud to be able to see them grow to be strong and healthy.  Seeing them be adopted into homes makes all the work and long days worth it.”

The rescue cats that are available for adoption can be seen on their website (www.happtcatsanctuary.net) as well as on display at the Petsmart in Calgary along Sunridge Way NE. They also have a cat up for adoption at Pet-Valu in Strathmore. Should you see a cat on the website that you would like to visit but they are not at one of the pet stores or if you wish to volunteer, please contact Happy Cat Sanctuary through email at happycatsanctuary@gmail.com

Thank you Happy Cat Sanctuary for doing what you do! It is women like you that make this world a better place!

~Having the cats professionally photographed was such a great experience. Lisa loves cats and was able to capture something special from each and every one of them. We hope that by highlighting these beautiful portraits of some of our rescues, you can see in them what we do every day and maybe it will help find some forever homes in the process~ Happy Cat Sanctuary

A Sense of Hope

 Noelle

Noelle

Meet Noelle! Noelle is an ARF rescue. At only 7 weeks old, Noelle was seen being tossed from a fast moving vehicle on a highway in Northern Alberta. A kind truck driver saw the incident and stopped to help. She found Noelle in the ditch with severe injuries and knew that she needed immediate veterinary attention. She brought her to a small remote veterinary clinic where they noted that she was suffering from a broken tail, badly broken leg, broken pelvis, and significant head trauma. She was not able to urinate or defecate on her own and her mobility was very limited. Due to the severity of her injuries, Noelle needed specialized care and ARF was contacted. Since she needed immediate help and was over 8 hours away, Noelle caught a flight on a small plane to Calgary.

An appointment for Noelle was booked for the following day. The damage was worse than originally thought. Her leg was completely broken above the ankle resulting in a significant overlap of the bone. It already started to heal and Noelle was not very stable, her leg was then placed in a splint. Her tail was broken in numerous locations, including at the base. X-rays showed that she also suffered spinal damage and that her right hip was smashed in. Because of this, it did not look as though she would be able to pass waste as the cavity was too small. She also had road rash covering her head and was bleeding from her ears and nose. The prognosis was not positive.

 Even with the extensive injuries, Noelle was playing with the hospital staff and looking to everyone for cuddles. It was decided that despite the poor prognosis, they needed to try everything that they could. There was a big learning curve for everyone. They had to make sure that Noelle had the proper care, correct medication and as many trips to the vet as needed. It was touch and go for nearly a month, but she was always positive, playful and full of happy purrs.

After 8 weeks, she no longer needed a splint. They were still worried that she would need to have her leg amputated but, to everyone’s surprise, she started to walk very well on it. Within a few weeks, she was running, jumping, climbing - everything a normal kitten would do. Her wounds healed and her tail was amputated at the base. Her broken pelvis widened and she is now able to urinate and pass stool.

Noelle just celebrated her first birthday and is doing wonderfully. She is not completely continent, so she does wear some super cute Fancy Pants 4 Pets diapers, but she has made an amazing recovery and we are all amazed by her spirit and love for life. With her special needs and on-going medical care, Noelle is a permanent ARF foster cat and is adored by her foster family. Though her injuries were the result of one heartless act, countless people came together through donations and time volunteered. Amazing people rallied around this special little girl. There is still a lot of love and compassion in the world and without it Noelle wouldn't be with us today. Noelle is a special little girl that brings a sense of hope and confirmation of anything being possible.

Without ARF there would be so many animals just like Noelle that would not get the treatment that they needed. Please support ARF and help them accomplish what so many people think is not possible. Thank you ARF for everything you do! You make this world a better place. 

Happy Snow Day!!!

It's quite the day outside today. I've been told that we can expect up to 15 cm of snow just for today. I think it will be much more! As much as I love the snow and photographing in it, I seem to feel the same as majority of all Albertans lately, I am looking forward to spring. It should be on it's way, yes?!

Today is a planning day. I am looking to add a few new backdrops in to my feline photography. I'm excited to welcome on some new clients and create beautiful images. Why do I love photographing cats? They are quite unpredictable to say the least. There is something about the lines of their body and the grace in their steps that intrigue me. Their personalities can range from a sweet cuddly fluff ball to the angry cat that hates everyone and everything in between. No 2 cats are the same.

It's very rare to find a cat that likes to be photographed outdoors but I am always looking to add more to the Savvy Cat family.  If you have one of these, I would love for the opportunity to photograph them! Please get in touch! 

For now, I will leave you with one of my favourite images from the Calgary Cat Show last year. I will be there again this year. Stay tuned for more details! 

Happy Snow Day! Happy Friday! Stay safe and warm today!

Lisa 

 Cassia 

Cassia