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The dog life: How to share the details of your Journey together

    “No dogs allowed.” 

    You see that sign. You stop. Your eyes squint. Your brow wrinkles.  

    You turn on your heel and think, “Screw that place.” 

    Been there, done that. 

    My dog is my ride-or-die, too. I hate the thought of leaving her in the car for any reason. (She hates it too and isn’t shy about letting me know.) 

    More often than not, if I see a “no dogs allowed” sign, I just don’t go. 

    This is dog life. 

    woman loving the dog life with her black Labrador puppy at Dishman Hills
    Livin’ the dog life

    The story of your dog life 

    I created the Journey session last year as I was working on Paws of the Panhandle, a photobook of dogs and their people enjoying adventures in North Idaho. The project, in partnership with Ezydog, raised $5,000 for the Better Together Animal Alliance in Sandpoint.  

    As I compiled the stories people told me about how their dogs changed their lives, I wondered about the possibilities.  

    What if I could create a similar book for a single client, a book that told the story of her and her dog on this crazy adventure of life. 

    mockup pages of the Journey book about your dog
    Sample page of a Journey book

    It resonated with friends and colleagues and the idea was born. 

    The Journey session is dedicated to people who live and love the dog life.  

    I shared the idea with a friend and she said, “Oh my granny would have loved to have you do that for her with her dogs. She so loved her dogs.” 

    I replied, “What if you now had that book about your granny so you could read her story, learn more about it and share those wonderful stories about her with your own kids?” 

    The tears rolled down both our faces.  

    The Journey session creates more than a book about you and your dog, it creates your legacy, a memoir of your life together here on Earth. 

    How to tell your story 

    When you sign up for a Journey session, you receive a Welcome package in the mail. While I thought this could be a surprise, I realized you should know more about how the Journey session works. 

    Inside your Welcome package is a notebook, a pen and a card with a series of writing prompts. 

    Hang on! Don’t fret yet! It’s easy, I promise. 

    Throughout the Journey with Big White Dog Photography, I interview you with my own set of questions. Having three decades of experience as a newspaper journalist, I know that when my questions are done, you inevitably wish you had remembered this story, or told me that story or that I had asked you this or that. 

    The notebook and pen are your chance to write those thoughts down to make sure those details do get included in your story about the dog life. 

    The writing prompts help stir your thoughts and get you thinking about special moments of life with your best fur friend. 

    Here’s a few of them: 

    • If my dog could talk, we would talk about … 
    • When I watch my dog in his/her favorite spot, I feel … 
    • I knew we were right for each other when … 

    “But Angela, I’m not a writer!” 

    I know. That’s why you have me.  

    Your story matters 

    That’s why I came up with the idea of the Journey session. I have the ability to compile and tell your story in a book filled with beautiful, unique images of you and your dog doing dog things together. 

    Because I know not everyone has the time or space to write their story. 

    Because I know not everyone believes their story matters. 

    I’m here to tell you it does, and that I can help you tell it. I thought for a long time that my story didn’t matter, too, but then Shep, my first Maremma sheepdog, came into my life. 

    He changed everything about me and the way I saw the world. As we were learning to trust each other, social media was making its way into our lives. I started sharing Shep with others and they hungered for more.  

    The more I told his story, the more I realized it was my story, too. And as my new friends learned more about Shep, they wanted to know more about me too. 

    Through Shep – and Bella, too – I’ve found my own voice and my own story

    Living the dog life makes it possible for us all to realize our story should be told.  

    Every little detail too. 

    From our fur-covered yoga pants. 

    To the way we’re fascinated by her toes.  

    toes of a Maremma sheepdog
    Her toes … they carry the weight of her world, and sometimes mine

    From our walks in the park. 

    To our adventures in the woods. 

    (OK, so the toes thing could be unique to me. I even love the way her nose looks like pebbled leather and all the things that nose does.) 

    Maremma sheepdog sleeping
    Her adorable nose

    I challenge you to grab a notebook (or a notebook app) and start writing down the funny, odd, wonderful things your dog does and means to you. 

    Do it now. Don’t wait until she’s gone and you have to force yourself to remember these moments.  

    All around the circle 

    Before Christmas, I got myself a Grove Journal with Bella’s face engraved on the outside. I’ve started writing down her story so that by year’s end, I will create her Journey book to have and to hold. 

    If time is on my side, there may be two or three or more Bella editions. 

    I don’t want to forget a single detail of her life. 

    The worldwide pet photographers circle is small this week. All four of us are writing about the details of the dog life and dog photography in different ways. 

    Start with Atlanta’s pet photographer, Courtney Bryson, who shares some her favorite details from past dog photography sessions

    When you get to the bottom of Courtney’s post, click the next link in the circle and then keep going until you find yourself back here to telling the story of your dog life. That’s when you know you’re home.  

    Right where you belong.  

    And when you’re ready to fill the pages of a book with the details of your story and incredible images, start your Journey with me.  

    beautiful red-haired woman sits with her dog at Riverside State Park in Spokane

    Into the Wild

    Into the Wild tells the love story you’re creating with your dog. Every session will be compiled into a stunning storybook. The project is also a fundraiser for the Companions Animal Center in Hayden, Idaho.


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

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