Friday, March 12, 2010

Pam Biasotti & Karma

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Pam Biasotti and I am a San Francisco Bay Area portrait photographer of pets and owner of You Had Me At Woof Photography®. The lovely blonde I am holding close is my female Golden Retriever, Karma, age 1.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are working hard at our obedience training for upcoming trials in Rally, Obedience and Agility so sometimes it’s a good distraction to walk over to a public place and enforce Karma to do her sit/stays and down/stays while I dash inside and order. I work out of the home so we spend quite a bit of quality time together.

What's brewing?

My favorite drink from Peet’s Coffee and Tea is a rare tea called Jasmin Downy Pearls. It’s delicious and fragrant.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

The correct thing to say would be I don’t need the extra calories but I have to be honest. There are times a slice of banana bread goes great with a hot drink.

Any treat for your dog on this occasion?

I am strict about treats for Karma. She only gets the training treats I carry in a bait bag while we are working together. Liver treats seem to inspire her. The stinkier the treat the better. Once in awhile she gets a bully stick to enjoy.

How were you and Karma united?

My 9 year old dog, Riley, another Golden Retriever, became ill in late October 2008. He was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. He had a tumor on his heart. I lost him 9 days later and was devastated. During the Christmas holidays, Riley’s breeder Laura had emailed me during her Caribbean vacation that one of her females was pregnant and due in early January and would I be interested in a new puppy? I was completely thrilled since I didn’t think she had any breeding plans for a few years!

How did Karma get her name? Any aliases?

When Riley’s breeder emailed me that her female Sunshine was pregnant—she also mentioned that it was an unplanned breeding between Sunshine and her champion male, Jester. Apparently when Sunny was in heat, they snuck away for a rendezvous and Laura didn’t even realize Sunshine was having puppies until she brought her in for an ultrasound over the holidays and there was a paw waving to her! Sunshine is a really good performance dog in obedience and agility and Laura had never considered breeding her due to her smaller size. Jester, however, has sired many beautiful litters and is a distant cousin to Riley. My puppy to be was going to have a sprinkle of my Riley in her. Riley died on 11/7/08 and the puppies were born on 1/7/09. We also figured that these surprise puppies were conceived around the time Riley became sick and died. My specific pup I chose was the female wearing the red collar. As a photographer I was able to visit the litter often and photograph them as they grew. Red girl fell asleep on my lap and just seemed to be the right one. Because of all the circumstances leading to this litter we thought Karma would be a great name for her. We sometimes call her Karma Sue (because my middle name is Sue) and for fun my husband likes to call her Susie.

You've got some beautiful pet photos on your sites. Since you're a professional photographer, that doesn't surprise me. What's the trickiest thing about getting a dog to stay in the frame for a photo?

The trickiest thing is having a dog that doesn’t have enough training to do a simple sit or down stay and comes lunging at me to slobber me with kisses! Sometimes a treat will get their attention, but of course, they want to jump over and eat it. Every dog is different, so we just have to do what works best and go with the flow. I love eye contact with dogs. When I capture the intensity of their connection with me, I feel like I have succeeded.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Yes, yes and yes! But the postman would be getting kisses while the cat and squirrel would be chased! Fortunately, Karma will stay when she is told to and not run out the door. You can tell she would love to follow the squirrels down the street.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

A ball that squeaks! Karma is a natural retriever and will play that game forever. She’s great with her toys and knows what is considered a toy. She does like wood though, and our steps leading up into our hot tub have been gnawed on each corner.

Where is Karma's favorite place for an outing?

Recently, we had a one year birthday party reunion at a local dog park with her siblings. We don’t go to dog parks that often, but she gets super excited to run free and socialize with new friends.

Who is Karma's best pet-pal?

Most definitely her littermate/sister Dusty. They see each other in agility training every week and go crazy. They love to wrestle and play hard. We have to save those playdates for times other than dog training!

What is Karma's best quality?

She has so many of them it’s hard to say which is best. She’s quite intuitive, and knows when I need a cuddle, kiss or hug. Her disposition is sweet and loving and she’s frightfully smart. Her eagerness to train and please is amazing.

If Karma could change one thing about you, what would it be?

To stop dressing her in clothing and frilly, girly things. I live in a house of boys and she’s the closest thing to a daughter I will ever have. I love to “pinkify” and accessorize her.

What is Karma's proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

We have this game we play where I move quickly away from her and try to outrun her. She chases me until she catches up with me and starts prancing up and down when she catches me. She loves the game. Her most embarrassing moment is usually when I am trying to purposefully capture a special photograph of her and she will have nothing of the sort. I don’t know if it’s a diva thing, but it’s almost like the cobbler’s kids who don’t wear shoes. The dog photographer’s dog plays hard to get in front of the camera.

View more photographs from Karma's first birthday celebration.

the You Had Me At Woof Photography® website and Pam Biasotti's website.

--Marshal Zeringue