At Your Service

Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, one of the non-profits I have worked with, was planning a big anniversary celebration last year. They came to me with a very cool idea.  They wanted to do a photo exhibit featuring not just their horses, but all different kinds of service animals.

As we brainstormed different service animal programs, it got more and more exciting.  There were programs I’ve worked with before, like Personal Ponies, as well as programs I had never heard of: dolphins who work with children with autism and miniature horses who work with the blind and other persons with disabilities.

The list got bigger and bigger. We started with three shoots with four different and amazing dogs and their handlers.

Al Rossi, Mid-Atlantic D.O.G.S Search and Rescue with SimiChris Corderre, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, with narcotics sniffing, Gero. 

Scott McCafferty, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department with bomb sniffing, Sherry.

And, Thor, who sadly died of old age, a few months after our shoot.  Thor worked search and rescue with Blair Miller at the Pentagon after 9-11.

Ultimately, the folks at NVTRP and I decided not to move forward together on this project, but I’m so glad to have met Al, Chris, Scott and Blair and their amazing canines.

Since that shoot with Blair and Thor in October 2008, I’ve met Blair’s wonderful family and photographed his little Phoenix, the puppy Blair is training to take over the work that Thor did before him.  Here is Phoenix pictured with his protective older brother, Ranger.  Ranger is also trained in search and rescue.I continue to be committed to the concept of this project: To celebrate the many animals and people working together to make a difference.

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