Happiness is…

Happiness is a paw. Happiness is a tiny paw reaching out for your hand after finally grasping the concept of “shake”. Happiness is the paw prints leaving the wet floor of the kennel after finally being selected by a loving family and making those first few steps towards a forever home.


Happiness is a nose. Happiness is a noses curious enquiry when investigating the smell of another dog on the human that they love and protect with all they have. Happiness is a nose learning the smell of its new forever family as they greet and pet him for the very first time.


Happiness is a tongue. Happiness is a lick from a mother to her litter of tiny, healthy puppies. Happiness is the naughty lick on your face from a dirty tongue too excited at the prospect of a forever-home to contain the kisses.


Happiness is a tail. Happiness is a wagging tail as your best friend greets you at the door after a long, hard day at work. Happiness is a tail standing tall and proud after being invited, finally, into a new home with a beautiful family.


Happiness is a walk. Happiness is a gentle walk with your ageing Wet Nose friend who has stood beside you unconditionally for the past decade. Happiness is a walk that can barely be contained from a run at the prospect of walking through the doors of a forever-home.

Happiness is family, a friend, a confident, a workout buddy, a comedian, a blanket, an alarm clock, a shoulder to cry on. Happiness is a dog. Happiness is the love, affection, purpose and unconditional friendship offered to you by your Wet Nose friend.

A lifetime of happiness is what you can provide a shelter animal by allowing them to bring happiness to you.

#wetnose #clickwithheart

Why We Love Rescue Dogs

Have you heard the story of The Boy and the Starfish? A young boy is walking along a beach filled with thousands of beached starfish, throwing each one back into the ocean and saving its life as he approached it. When an older man pointed out that there were so many starfish that the young boy couldn’t possibly make a difference, to which the boy responded by picking up another starfish, throwing it into the ocean and turning to his companion to say “I made a huge difference to that one!” It’s a beautiful sentiment echoing the difference one kind action can make in someone’s life, and breaking down the barriers created by the belief that if you can’t help everyone you shouldn’t help anyone.

The story is one used time, and time again to motivate the rescue of shelter dogs. It is a lovely story, and a fantastic way to start, but the decision to bring home a new family member rests on much more than a motivational story and a teary eye. There are ethical, emotional and practical elements that need to be considered when deciding upon your new best friend. I believe that, for most people, rescue animals can satisfy the trifecta of those factors.

Why we love rescue dogs: Ethical

Ethical reasoning is a common motivation for deciding to rescue a dog and the reason for the prevalence of motivational tales, such as The Boy and the Starfish, on rescue forums. The ethical reasoning for rescuing are clear and simple:

• rescuing doesn’t support puppy farms

• rescuing will help ease the strain on crowded shelters

• rescuing will help save the life of a shelter animal


Why we love rescue dogs: Emotional

There is now medical evidence that doing a good deed, has positive psychological benefits. Before even touching on the emotional health gained from the pet itself, the knowledge of the ethical decision to adopt over purchasing from a pet store or breeder can improve your emotional wellbeing. More importantly is the unique bond with the pet itself. An abandoned dog is usually very eager to become part of a pack and will bond with its adoptive family almost immediately. Pair this with the temperament testing employed by rescue organisations to assist you to find your perfect match and the emotional benefits of rescue become all the more clear.


Why we love rescue dogs: Practical

There are far too many practical benefits of adoption to comprehensively list in an article such as this one, but they may be the most considerations when deciding on a new pet. Firstly, the pet you rescue will be healthy because shelter animals have generally been examined by a vet, vaccinated and de-sexed. Then there’s the consideration of training, most rescue pets have already received basic training, meaning less puddles on your floor and more time loving your new friend. Adoption is also a very cost effective choice as it generally includes vet checks, vaccination, worming and flea treatments, and sometimes even de-sexing. Many shelters also offer follow up support and advice which can be invaluable for first time dog owners.

According to Spay Aware, 41 dogs a day enter the Irish pound system and 21% will never leave. And figures recently released by local government show us that 3,141 dogs (including Greyhounds) were euthanised in 2014. Deciding to bring a new family member into your life is an important decision and a huge commitment. Many factors such as temperament, breed and your own circumstances should be taken into consideration. Whether you decide upon a Great Dane or a Chihuahua, consider adoption. The impact you make may not change the world, but it will change your dog’s world.

#wetnose #clickwithkindness

Katie speaks about her family of three : Gordon, Maisy & Yoshi


Sometimes, you meet a dog so extraordinary – so full of love and light — that they make you fall in love — again and again. For some, dogs are just the embodiment of love. They are the sun in many people’s lives. They are the teachers of patience and kindness. They are the reason for getting up every morning. Sweet lost and abandoned animals who lack the stability of a home and family to call their own are winners too; with enough knowledge, kindness and heart. And Katie is one of those people who gets this. Katie Mac Donagh is a training & behaviour assistant at Dogs Trust Ireland.

It’s clear to see the time, commitment and devotion that this beautiful girl and her family has for their lucky Wet Noses. Listen to what Katie has to say about her rescues while you see their images. (wait for the audio above to load and click play)

And believe me, selecting images is a difficult process with so many ridiculously cute and silly expressions and antics. We had happy, clever, endlessly joyful and playful Gordon, Maisy and Yoshi all afternoon, each with their own special little characters.  They give good face to the camera! Maisy came from further afield while Gordon was adopted from Dogs in Distress and Yoshi from Dogs Trust Ireland. You can find many beautiful dogs at your nearest shelter or rehoming centre.

The Irish Blue Cross 2015 Bark in the Park at Saint Anne’s Park, Raheny.

Oh goodness! What an incredible weekend it was. Gushes of emotions marked the day that the people of Ireland introduced marriage equality by popular vote. The majority said one simple word. Yes. For a minority that word means everything. With all my heart and grace I believe love always wins. And I’m guessing if dogs could vote it would be a big wagging YES too!


Well now, let’s see – when the location is BEAUTIFUL, the models are BEAUTIFUL, the energy is BEAUTIFUL, you just can’t beat that. Until you find all of this wonderful colour! Sinead and Ted agree.

Bright and sparkly sun shining through the trees, joy and silliness in the green grasses and lots to celebrate. It’s a perfect day to top off the weekend with a Bark in the Park!

Let me kick off this blog post by introducing you to this ridiculously happy and quirky little character – everybody, say Hello to Charlie! Is this not the most happy face you’ll ever see! Charlie is a regular at The Bark in the Park because his very kind owner supplies the incredible people at the The Irish Blue Cross with sound for their events. Every time I introduced my squeaky ball to garner some interest from a distracted model anywhere in close range, he dropped what he was doing immediately and came to my side. That squeaky ball is a serious business for this lovely guy!

I had the opportunity to meet some absolutely amazing dogs at Saint Anne’s Park on this sunny Sunday – and these gorgeous faces are two of them. It’s always a special moment for me when I have the ability to capture even one frame of dogs that are fearful of the camera for various reasons. But treats will always win the day! This is why we just never know how a session is going to go at the studio so we just take our time and introduce new things slowly.

Then there are those impossibly cute head tilts that always make some photo-magic. They put fuel in my tank. When creativity is dull I just get lost in a goofy expression.

And sometimes they blow raspberries. But this is always followed up quickly by a big huge smile.

Dogs of all walks of life, of all sizes and of all breeds getting ready for Bark Off! I wish I could have climbed up high to show you just how many.

Belle was off to a good start. Her human ran the whole way. And I learned that this was their second run of the day. What a lucky Wet Nose!

They made it back first and shared a photograph with the team. The Irish Blue Cross is an animal welfare charity that provides low-cost veterinary services in the Dublin area for pet owners on low-incomes. They rely heavily on donations from the public to fund their vital work with sick and needy pets. The staff and volunteers are the reason we’re here. Why everyone is here to raise funds. Saving lives and rescuing the ones with no voice is what keeps the wheels spinning within this incredible cause. They have also embraced my work since the beginning and I feel there is something special about this family. So THANK YOU! The next Bark in the Park is on Sunday 14th June at Marlay Park and you can help too by registering here.

Some enjoy a more relaxing pace. There’s nothing wrong with chin scratches!

And in other celebrations, Mac was one year young. High paws Mac!

What can I say. You certainly made me work on my family portraits. Thank you so much to everyone who came by and asked me to photograph you all together. Love is togetherness and it is uplifting to see you all making your Wet Noses part of your family!

You can see more images here.

Michelle, Wet Nose.


Charlie & Ali – Click play to hear Ali speaking about Charlie!


It’s about time that you met Charlie, an amazing boy that belongs to one very beautiful and inspiring Ali, who I had the pleasure to photograph alongside Liz who is their dear friend.

(Have a listen) Wait for the audio to load and press play above and then scroll through the images while you hear Ali speaking about her boy.

What an absolutely heart warming afternoon. I’ll never forget the day I met Charlie or the feeling it brings me, because that is where this new project has begun – that is where I took the first steps towards following my dreams. Normal everyday stuff has been popping up or a while now but I’ve wanted to document the wonderful stories I hear from you all every day of the week for as long as I’ve been photographing your pets.

Pictured here is Charlie, and his beautiful mom Alison, a Training and Behaviour Advisor at Dogs Trust. They kindly gave up their time to help us get on the road. You can guess where Charlie was adopted from then! Of course. In just one little perfect moment he made a forever home with his humans when they adopted him from Dogs Trust Ireland

Charlie is paws down one of my most favourite boys to photograph. The minute I met him I knew he was going to make us all smile for the next two hours. He is full of more love than you could ever imagine and his spirit is as pure and white as he is. Wagging, cuddling, working like a pro and then relaxing like it is the easiest thing in the world to be around a camera, thanks to the fact that his family has invested so much time in him.

That gorgeous face earns him bags and bags of treats but he was just as happy with his ordinary food. We should really fix that since he gave so selflessly with such ease to the Wet Nose camera. We totally lucked out so THANK YOU to Charile & Ali also.

Charlie has an incredible connection with his Mom – he’s stuck to her like velcro, acting as a very spotty little ray of light everywhere she goes. It made my heart happy to see the smiles these two put on each other’s faces throughout the course of our afternoon together.

I think their relationship was always meant to be.