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It’s a word I have to use with care when I talk to Bella.

“Hey, Bella, wanna go hike somewhere new?”

Hells yes.

“Hey, Bella, wanna go check out some new parks downtown?”

Oh shit.

There’s no way she would cotton to the idea of being left at home, but hunting for new locations for photoshoots takes on a different tone when we head into urban areas.

Her anxiety levels start to peak and she’s constantly fretting. I wonder sometimes if she would be better off staying home but then I would be left without my professional dog model and ridden with the guilt of seeing this as I put my shoes on:

pouting Maremma sheepdog

The nervousness, however, may also have been caused by the dreadful weather we’ve been having. On Saturday, when we did our hunt, there was a certain something in the air.

And then the windstorm struck on Monday. Wind is the one thing that wigs Bella out more than anything.

The challenge to find new locations for photoshoots

It isn’t really a challenge so much as it’s a chance to get out and explore. The Great Spokane Parks Challenge launched last October and we only found out about last week.

When I read more about the Parks Challenge, I thought, “Man, what a great way to find new locations for photoshoots.”

We hopped into Eddie the Edge and got started, finding one new location.

On our trip to the South Hill on Saturday, though, I found a treasure trove.

We hit, in order:

  1. Comstock Park
  2. Cannon Hill Park
  3. Edwidge Woldon Park
  4. Cowley Park
  5. Grant Park
  6. Lincoln Park
  7. Thornton Murphy Park
  8. Hamblen Park
  9. Ben Burr Park

Yep, all in one day, too. Maybe it was the constant getting in and out of the car that was pissing Bella off.

It also could have been a near constant presence of children. Since Bella hasn’t been around very many half-humans, she’s uncertain of their ways: squealy, loud and unpredictable.

Oh, Bella, Mama understands.

Most of the parks are great spots for family time: lots of green space, playgrounds and picnic tables. When I’m looking for new locations for photoshoots, though, I have to look beyond the basics and see places to put your pup for unique, badass portraits.

I remembered an old favorite and found a couple of absolute gems.

1. Cannon Hill

I’ve been here before a time or two but this was my first trip with Bella. Client-friends (friend-clients?) needed some photos of their senior Bassett hound. Residents of the South Hill, they had me meet them at Cannon Hill Park on W. 19th Avenue.

Cannon Hill features two quaint footbridges made of the basalt rock that adorns our landscapes.

big white dog on a footbridge at Cannon Hill Park in Spokane
At Cannon Hill Park

There’s also a large duck pond, a large and lovely weeping willow, and open spaces to throw down a blanket for snuggle poses.

Cannon Hill Park is one of my ideal locations for photoshoots with senior dogs who may not be as mobile anymore.

2. Lincoln Park

Holy smokes. Why have I never found out about Lincoln Park before? I feel like I’ve been doing an injustice by leaving it off my list of locations for photoshoots.

It is solidly at the top now.

Funny sidebar: When I hit voice search on my Android Auto app and said, “Lincoln Park Spokane,” it returned hits for “Linkin Park,” the band.

There are two halves to this 51-acre gem, split by a steep bluff. We entered at the top half off East Southeast Boulevard and I found heaven.


Maremma sheepdog on a rock at Lincoln Park

Wooded backdrops:

Maremma sheepdog posing for dog portraits at Lincoln Park

A pond:

big white dog photography at Lincoln Park duck pond
Sssssh … don’t tell her what’s behind her. She’ll want to go in.

Small camas (aka widow’s grass):

big white dog at Lincoln Park in Spokane

The lower half is apparently a typical landscaped park with sports fields and picnic tables but the upper half is my jam.

Rugged, rough and B-E-A-yootiful.

3. Grant Park

Grant Park, on South Arthur Street, is a great family park and it has a couple of cool features that would put it on my list of locations for photoshoots with dogs.

Like this tree:

Bella helps me scout new locations for photoshoots with dogs

And the rainbow arch, which would be lovely for my LGBTQ friends with dogs:

Bella at Thornton Murphy Park's rainbow arch

I also spied the little splash park and thought, “is there anything I could do that’s neat?”

splash park at Grant Park in Spokane

Here’s what I came up with. Tell me in the comments if it works!

Abstract of Bella while out hunting locations for photoshoots

Neat spot, eh?

You might be wondering why Manito Park wasn’t on our list for Saturday’s trip. Manito is definitely a mainstay on my list of locations for photoshoots with dogs and we’ve been there many times.

However, we didn’t visit on Saturday because we already have a date scheduled for there this week.

The Soul Dog Journey Project

These stories of Bella, to be told every Monday in 2022, are part of the Soul Dog Journey Project, a mission by my friend Marika at @souldogcreative in Seattle. After losing her Soul Dog, Kerouac, last year, she’s put together a 52-week project that gets us telling the stories of how we are connected to our dogs and what they bring to our lives. 

Each week, a story prompt gets our creative juices flowing. This week’s prompt focuses on how your dog reacts to something new. I’m still not sure how Bella feels about our quests for new locations for photoshoots with dogs but I know she wouldn’t want to be left home.

Don’t be shy. Tell me in the comments about how your dog reacts to something new and what you feel when you hold it. I’d love to hear about it. 

And if you’ve found yourself here because you have a Maremma sheepdog that brings you a deeper connection than you’ve ever known, well, you just know.


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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