Sit for a treat, leave with a photo
Area pets struck a pose Sunday afternoon for the 14th Annual Holiday Pet Photo Shoot at Oak Park Mall in Austin.
"Because they love them," said volunteer Kelly Kiker of people bringing in their pets for photos. "And it’s fun. It’s really fun."
The photo shoot was sponsored by Pawsh Styling Spa of Austin and the Portrait Shoppe of St. Ansgar, Iowa, with proceeds benefiting the Mower County Humane Society .
Photographer Lisa Dockstader said she took one photo that had parents, kids, a couple dogs, a cat and a guinea pig.
"It’s the bond between them (family and pet)," said Dockstader, who has photographed the pet shoot for 12 years. She said one of the nice things is repeat customers who bring their animals every year.
"When I started, I saw them as puppies, and now they’re full-grown. You see the progression."
Dockstader said it can be a challenge to get dogs to sit still for the photo, but she uses treats as a reward and a squeak toy to get them to look in the direction of the camera. Dog wrangler Cindy Corkill is also available to help out, volunteering for the shoot every year.
Dockstader said it’s hard for the animals to sit while their human companions are just off to the side.
"Sometimes you have to convince them to be in the photos," Dockstader said of camera shy owners.
In the past, another challenge was the space used for the photo shoot. It used to be done in the mall Community Room, but it was held in a closed off store front off of Center Court this year. The location helped with the distraction from other animals.
"To be by themselves, they have to do a sit and stay," Dockstader said. Lucille Hanson, Austin, brought her shih-tzu, maltese mix Muffy to get her photo taken. Muffy will be 8 in January, and is no stranger to the photo shoot, or the mall.
"I bring her out here for a walk at least once or twice a month," Hanson said. "She has friends out here. People friends."
Hanson said she has gotten Muffy’s photo taken several times "just for the heck of it," and posed with her once to use as Christmas cards. Hanson is glad to know her money isn’t just going for a personal keepsake or holiday greeting.
"I like to support the humane society," Hanson said, and nodded to Emily Grossman, owner of Pawsh Styling. "And her groomer is here."