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Puppy Love Portrait Session in El Sobrante

When we adopted Lily from the shelter she was terrified of us, loud noises, electrical cords and people walking down the street.  The only thing she wasn’t afraid of was other dogs and because she is a pit mix we wanted to continue to foster her love of other dogs.  To do this we felt a doggie day care experience would be good for her as well as have the added benefit of getting her comfortable with other people and places outside our home.  That is where Puppy Love comes in.  Puppy Love Daycare is run out of a private home in El Sobrante and Lily (and Harry too upon occasion) is a frequent vistor.  Cindy and Patti who run the day care have a great love for dogs and a terrific way with them.  They really helped us with Lily, their home is her second home now and she gets very excited when we take her there.

Cindy and Patti have two sweet dogs (that Lily is totally in love with, btw) of their own and I had the chance to photograph them in their beautiful backyard a few weekends ago.  Emily is a black lab with sweet friendly style and Mackey is, well….I’m not entirely sure what Mackey is, a husky/sharpei/shepard mix with an enormous smile and is the reining queen of Puppy Love, I guess.  Thanks to Patti and Cindy for having me over to spend sometime with the cuties and thanks for all you do for Lily!  If you live in the East Bay and are looking for good doggie day care I highly recommend Cindy’s Puppy Love.

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Emeryville, from Pixar to the Marina photographing dogs – part 2

In part 1 of the blog about Emeryville we traveled to Pixar, the Town hall and the community gardens.  Now we head off to the marina.  What was that?  You didn’t know Emeryville has a marina and even a waterfront park!  They do, even some good restaurants like Trader Vic’s (not to be confused with the Traders Joe’s around the corner) and Chevy’s.  At the end of the point there is a very popular (from the looks of the packed parking lot) establishment called Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood. We passed up all the food choices and headed straight for the park and pier. Harry and Lily love, love, love the water but properly motivated by a promised treat Harry stopped splashing long enough to pose for me at the boat ramp. Check out that look on his face – “hey, aren’t I a cutie and where’s that treat?” – he seems to be asking.

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Bordering the marina is a fairly long pier with great views of the East Bay. We had the pier to ourselves on Sunday morning, of course that might have been due to the fact that the fog brought the temps down and wind up!

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Our final stop in Emeryville was Shorebird Park. That is the small strip of beach and pier along the Frontage Rd. This is a relatively new addition to the city or rather the site used to have a restaurant on it and therefore no access to the beach. Growing up here I ate at this place often. Perhaps you remember it – Charlie Browns was the name. The food was good, and the drinks and view even better. Today the old pier that ran along side the restaurant now has new residents – Snoopy and the Red Baron. Perhaps not an homage to the former tenant, but for those of us long time residents there is a story of how they came to be here.

When I was a kid growing up in the 70’s and 80’s driving down Hwy 80 toward Emeryville and Oakland had one interesting treat past Golden Gate Fields.  That was the, now long gone, mud flat sculptures.

Snoopy and the Red Baron were my favorites – I grew up when Peanuts was a very popular cartoon strip and occasional TV special. I have very fond memories of the adults on the TV show who you never saw and only talked with that deep monotone “wor-wor-wor” sound. Ah, childhood…….

There were numerous other sculptures along the Frontage Rd then and I miss seeing them now. If you’ve never heard of this before or if you’d like a visual reminder of what it looked like, check out this article I came across – Emeryville Mudflat Sculptures.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Emeryville, we enjoyed our morning and Harry and Lily especially enjoyed their play time at the beach!

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P.S. Harry may be 10 years old but he still has it going on!

Emeryville, from Pixar to the Marina photographing dogs – part 1

Welcome to my new series of articles on little known or new fun places in the East Bay Area to take your dogs.  As a pet portrait photographer I’m always on the lookout for cool new places to use for location shoots.  Today we start in Emeryville.

I am a Bay Area native, my parents still live in the house I grew up in near the El Cerrito Plaza.  I’ve seen a lot of changes in the East Bay in the last couple of decades and since I’ve owned dogs my entire life here, I’ve been to many, many dog parks and beaches.  However, things have changed so much that it occurs to me I haven’t scouted any new areas to take the dogs in ages.  Hence why I’m starting this series of lesser known spots to take the pooch and that would also make great locations for a photo shoot.  I decided to start in Emeryville, partly because it has grown so much in the recent years with the addition of Pixar.  My first job in high school was located at the Liquor Barn in the Emeryville Public Market; now the site of the newly opened Guitar World.  After I graduated I worked again in Emeryville at Liquid Sugars and then several years later at Sybase.  Both businesses have since moved out of Emeryville, but many have moved in to replace them along with what seems like tons of condo’s.

We started our little self-guided tour of Emeryville at Pixar Studios.  The studio has been located here since 2000 and I believe has been a huge help to the city donating large sums to city projects like more green space.  We posed Harry across the street in front of the main entrance.  I was secretly hoping Harry would take off across the street and run onto the campus, where we would, of course, have to follow him to catch up.  Then while we were there anyway, they would give us a nice tour and some dog-friendly Pixar executive would notice Harry and realize they need him for their next feature film, preferably based on Harry’s life.  Alas, Harry is too well behaved and knows that going into the street is bad, so he didn’t run off.  Probably just as well, as the Pixar security guard was glaring at us from his post.

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Pixar is just across the street from the Emeryville City Hall, so we wandered over and had Harry pose in front of the orignal building from 1903. Behind City Hall is what may be the only “dog park” in Emeryville. Hard to truly call it a park as it is only about the size of a larger 2 car driveway, but we checked it out anyway and Lily and Harry agreed to pose in front of a couple of the more interesting features.

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Our last stop in the main part of Emeryville was to check out the Emeryville Community Gardens on 59th Street (just down the block from a great little restaurant The Townhouse).

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This is a really nice garden with about 30 plots and even a picnic table. I understand there is something like a 3-year waiting list for neighbors to get a space. I think this idea is totally cool and kind of wish we had one nearby us.  Guess we just have to settle for the veggie garden in our backyard!

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In this photo Lily’s attention is totally focused on the little gray Staffy walking across the street. So we left the garden and went out and met this sweet girl, Ariel and her humans. We learned she was a recent rescue form Berkeley Animal Control, the same shelter were we rescued Lily.  She and Ariel had a nice sniff and then we were off to the Emeryville Marina, recommended as a good place to take your dogs by Ariel’s humans.

However, you’ll have to check in tomorrow to see our adventures there.

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