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If it Moves, Dad Shoots it

Posted by Chester Gigolo with Christina Potter on

Most of you may not know this, but Dad’s an amateur photographer. He shoots anything that moves or doesn’t, depending on the situation. Combine that with mom’s crazy ideas, add to it us dogs, along with a dash of too much time on their hands and, voila! The house is filled with five unwilling models. Unwilling, yet cooperative…you know, anything for a treat. Mom’s latest bright idea is to shoot a calendar. She thinks it’ll be cute to dress Rodney and me in matching costumes representing each month of the year. As if twelve months of costume changes aren’t enough, she decides she wants to shoot fifteen months, starting in October so as to repeat the months with the most costume friendly holidays. Normally, a photo shoot would not be such a tall order, but Rodney is only three months old. Have you ever tried dressing a three month old puppy, then asking him to sit still for a picture? It’s as easy as weasel wrangling, I suggest you try it.


After some much deserved eye rolling, dad begrudgingly agrees to shoot the calendar. I roll my eyes, too, but the gesture goes unnoticed due to my heavy eyebrows. Dad wants to shoot in calendar order to make it easier to organize the pictures. We start with October of this year. We are to be witches in honor of Halloween. Witch hats on, leaves everywhere, even a witchly broom…and that’s when mom realizes how challenging it’s going to be to keep Rodney in position, looking at the camera and not choking on the props. One picture would have been tough enough, but the folks want us both to have similar expressions, therefore, they need to take 800 pictures with each costume. Shooting November doesn’t prove to be much easier. Rodney and me in a bandana with zucchinis in our mouths. That is, until he starts eating the zucchini…maybe his zucchinis should just be on the floor in front of him. December consists of us wearing antlers, mine with a bell on it that swings to and fro as I attempt to look at the camera. Rodney sits beside me, sticking his tongue out, much as kids at this age tend to do when posing for a shot. The folks are getting the shots they want, but are already a bit weary of repositioning the twerp…twelve more months to go…


Ah, new year’s celebrations. January has me wearing a bowtie, while Rodney is wearing a regular tie. I even hold a party blower in my mouth, you know, the thingy that makes noise and, rolls in and out when you blow through it. Then mom comes up with the brilliant idea of inflating some balloons and using them as props. No sooner are they in the twerp’s line of sight, that he attacks one of them and it pops. Well, that’s all the encouragement he needs! Now, he’s running through the living room, mutilating balloons left and right. It’s pure carnage, I tell you.


What can I say about February? Valentines Day, roses, hearts, two handsome men. Cue March and we look like Irishmen who’ve had one tee many martoonis. Yeah, very funny, mom. April showers mean raincoats, umbrellas, and Rodney attacking a large rubber ducky while I watch, holding a stuffed bunny in my mouth. No, the bunny is not stuffed with potatoes, carrots and onions, don’t worry - it’s a toy rabbit. Hmm, I wonder what we’ll have for dinner. Don’t judge me, but I could go for a stuffed rabbit drizzled in olive oil with a side of sautéed spinach.


The less said about May, the better.


June brings with it summer, as well as sunglasses. The twerp decides it’s too dark inside to wear sunglasses and the next 10,000 shots have mom in them trying to put and keep the glasses on him. Me, I sit calmly by him, sunglasses on, looking as cool as Marlon Brando in his famous motorcycle picture. Naturally, there can’t be a July picture without a nod to Independence Day. I hold the flag while Rodney rocks a beard. For August, Rodney and I salute Jimmy Buffet a la Margaritaville, sans tiki bar. Luckily, the parrot we use as a prop is not alive or it wouldn’t have survived the shoot. The twerp again starts picking up everything in his line of sight - I guess he can see indoors with the sunglasses on. I lose count as to how many times mom has to pull flowers out of his mouth. I know it’s somewhere between 40 and 50. September is mom’s favorite picture. Being a country girl, she likes our look in straw hats with hay sticking out of our mouths. At first, Mom has me hold an apple, but you can’t tell it’s an apple once it’s in my mouth, what with the ‘stache and all. I’ve got to admit that Rodney’s coveralls are the coup d’etat.


Now it’s October’s turn again. We channel our inner Austin Powers and the result is nothing short of groovy, baby! The picture exudes peace and love, though the reality is that keeping Rodney in sunglasses again is anything but peaceful. November, Thanksgiving. What exactly are we supposed to give thanks for? The large headgear we’re wearing? Who are we supposed to be? Geronimo? Black Hoof? Come closer, dad, let me show you how to use a tomahawk. Christmas again, the last costume, thank goodness. It is not without more humiliation, though. I’m in a Santa hat that doesn’t allow me to showcase my ears and poor Rodney is in an elf hat with added ears. There are gifts around us that the twerp can’t get through his head are just props. Children!


I’m happy to say that both Rodney and I survive the shoot. The calendar turns out groovy indeed and, starting in October, we will have a wonderful calendar with which to brighten our days for the next 15 months. As expected, yours truly has handled the photoshoot like a pro. The twerp…well, let’s just say he’s a work in progress.


If you enjoy Christina's writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and "Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.