Posts Tagged ‘fund raising for canine cancer’

Smile for a Cure Top Fundraiser – Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Smile for a Cure Top Fundraiser – Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography

This week’s spotlight is on another of our Smile for a Cure photographers – Kelly Schulze. Kelly was the top fund raiser in the first Smile for a Cure promotion in 2011.

Smile for a Cure Bo and Delilah by Mountain Dog Photography

Smile for a Cure Bo and Delilah by Mountain Dog Photography

Name of business

Mountain Dog Photography in Monkton, Vermont

Favorite subjects to shoot

Animals of course! Wild and domestic animals provide a continuous challenge.

Are you exclusively a dog photographer or do you do other subjects?

I’ve photographed dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, a yak, chickens, llamas, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, snakes, and lizards for clients. For private clients though dogs seem to be the most popular subject. I shy away from the term “pet photographer” as many of my clients own livestock, which they don’t consider pets. I also photograph wildlife.

How did you become interested in photography?

I was always interested in photographing my own animals, even at a young age. My father is an avid amateur photographer and my grandfather was a professional photographer in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I studied a bit more in college, but the thought of becoming a professional animal photographer never even crossed my mind until after I graduated and realized that I needed to find a career that I loved. I did a lot of research and found that other photographers were specializing in animals, so I figured I could too.

Why did you chose to include dogs/pets in your business?

I had a lot of animals growing up – cats, dogs, rats, gerbils, hamsters, and horses. I volunteered at an animal shelter, attended an agricultural high school, majored in Animal Science in college, worked as a veterinary technician, and worked as a dairy records specialist and milk tester. I’ve worked with a wide range of animals my whole life… there was no “non-animal” option for my career. I left my dairy career a year and a half ago to go full time with photography.

Smile for a Cure Session for Charlotte Willis and Jack by Mountain Dog Photograph

Smile for a Cure Session for Charlotte Willis and Jack by Mountain Dog Photograph

Why did you join Smile for a Cure?

The first two dogs my family had, Tristan the golden retriever and Samantha the lab/golden mix, died within two weeks of each other from different cancers. Tristan had malignant melanoma and it was a fast moving, devastating disease. Samantha’s cancer was never diagnosed because by the time we knew she was sick, it was too late to treat her. Many of my clients know the same heartbreak. One in particular lost their beloved Hannibal, a sheltie, early last summer. He had about 3 weeks from diagnosis to the end of his life. I was very close to Hannibal and saw him often, so when the Smile program started last summer I wanted to find another way of honoring him. The Smile For a Cure program lets me use my talent to do some good. We all hope that cancer is eradicated, but easing the treatment process is just as important. I appreciate that the NCCF supports research to cure cancer and to find better treatments.

Tell us your favorite Smile for a Cure session story.

I photographed 3 Smile sessions with a total of 10 dogs. They were all such different sessions. Delilah and Bilbo were special because Delilah was Hannibal’s best friend. The family adopted Bilbo last summer and it was bittersweet because I wished more than anything that Hannibal was my model, but Bilbo had such infectious puppy energy and has helped Delilah heal. Charlotte, Jack Maroo, and Willis were special because Charlotte is a cancer survivor. She lost a front leg, but she doesn’t let it slow her down. One portrait of Jack from that session recently earned me a blue ribbon at a print competition. My last session was with 5 newfies; Neeka, Ruby, Sparrow, Marley, and Mr. Spatz. Neeka is the mother of the others and all are beautiful dogs with wonderful personalities. The day of their portrait session threatened to rain and dark clouds loomed overhead. We were able to get all 5 together, relatively drool free, for a beautiful family portrait. Just after I got “the” shot it started down pouring and we ran back to the van with all 5 dogs loping along.

5 Newfies all in a row by Mountain Dog Photography!

5 Newfies all in a row by Mountain Dog Photography!

Canon or Nikon? Nikon D700. It’s been a workhorse and has never let me down. I also still shoot with various medium and large format film cameras. Film photography is my hobby.

Tell us about your dogs:

My husband, Ian, and I currently have a pack of 4 motley mutts. Our oldest and largest is Logan, a 5 year old great Pyrenees mix. Strangers are usually intimidated, but he’s a big teddy bear once he feels comfortable. Jackson is a 3 year old collieish mix. He loves agility and meeting other dogs. His motto is “strangers are friends I haven’t met yet”. JB is a 1.5 year old min pin. She’s 10 pounds of pure attitude, but she has her silly moments and is quite photogenic. Molly is our most recent addition, a 1.5 year old berner/aussie mix. She’s incredibly smart and motivated to learn. Last month we lost our beautiful German shepherd, Maple, so it still feels odd to have 4 dogs. Also under our care are 6 cats (Miss Kitty, Luci, Bink, Dorie, Masson, and Judy), and 30 laying hens.

The Mountain Dog Photography Pack

The Mountain Dog Photography Pack

Contact information:

Kelly @



Spotlight on Smile for a Cure creator and coordinator, Nunthany Johnson

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The Smile for the Cure fund raiser is the brain child of Nunthany Johnson.  Two times a year, a group of photographers across the country donation 100% of their session fees to the NCCF.  Since Smile for a Cure started in 2011 it has raised $12,756 to fight canine cancer!

I would like to introduce you to all the Smile for a Cure photographers so, I thought there was no better place to start than with the organizer of this great fund raiser, Nunthany!

Georgia by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Georgia by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Name of business:  Nunthany Johnson Photography
Location:  North Carolina
Favorite subjects to shoot;  Dogs! (of course).  Horses, Nature.
Are you exclusively a dog photographer or do you do other subjects? mainly dogs ( allow a few cats from time to time. :) )

How did you become interested in photography?

I was the photographer for my high school newspaper (yes, a very long time ago!) and ever since then I’ve been hooked! I’ve always been interested in people’s stories and I think that’s part of what appeals to me so much about photography.  Its an opportunity to connect with someone (or something), learn about it, and then share it.  Its all consuming and has always been a form of expression for me. I love that its an ever changing craft and there is always more to learn and master.


Bruno by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Bruno by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Why did you chose to include dogs/pets in your business  /  Or make it your exclusive business.
It sort of happened by accident.  I started out using my own dog as a subject to practice different techniques or in different lighting situations. I ended up having so much fun with it that I decided to begin photographing dogs for other dog parents.  It was like a whole new world opened up!  I love that dogs are so open and real.  Photographing dogs is challenging and super fun all at the same time.  I love capturing how they just live in the moment and take things as they come.  One of the things I enjoy the most is connecting with other dog parents who appreciate the canine species and want to celebrate everything that’s special about having a dog.  It’s also very meaningful because I can combine my passion for photography with my love for animals and give people beautiful photographs that they are so grateful to have.

Louie by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Louie by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Why did you join Smile for a Cure?

Smile for a Cure is very near and dear to my heart because I started it in honor of our wonderful dog Max who passed away from cancer in 2009.  Max was a wonderful dog, a good friend, and such an important part of our family. He had a contagious zest for life & taught us so much about living in the moment and really appreciating the simpler things in life.   I think many people can relate to the fact that losing a pet is like losing a member of the family.  I wanted to do something special not only to remember Max but also to raise awareness of cancer & better the odds for the other dogs and their families dealing with cancer.   What’s so great about this effort is that I’m now joined by pet photographers nationwide & we are all working together to make a difference in the lives of dogs with cancer and the people who love them.


Tell us your favorite Smile for a Cure session story. ( Tell me about a dog that touched your heart, or a funny behind the scenes story…)

Solow was the first Smile for a Cure dog.  He was a senior dog with lung disease and a pituitary tumor.  I was expecting a pretty mellow shoot…but not this guy! You wouldn’t know he had any problems.  He was happy as can be, just enjoying life in his great backyard with the rest of his pack (3 other dogs and 1 cat…who was a pack member but probably not by choice!:)).  It brought home for me just how much we can learn from dogs and their great attitude about life.  The other part that was so memorable was experiencing how Solow interacted with the kids in his family.  He was so gentle and loving with them.  He had several spots on his tummy, one of which was shaped like a heart. The kids told me that was there on purpose because Solow had such a big heart with lots of love to give.  It was so touching and beautiful to see how much they loved and respected their dog Solow.   After this first Smile shoot, I knew I could make a difference with Smile for a Cure!

Nunthany Johnson Photography

Nunthany Johnson Photography

Canon or Nikon?  LOL

Nikon.  I shoot with a Nikon D700. My go to lens is typically the 28-70/2.8 when shooting dogs.  I also love to use my 50MM prime lens especially during closeup shots to get great shots of those expressive eyes!

Tell us about your dogs.

We have a wonderful family of rescued dogs that includes Scout, Toto, and Benji.  We love our guys so much! They bring so much happiness and fun to our lives.  Scout is our crazy little black poodle mix.  He’s super high energy and obsessed with one thing and one thing only:  THE BALL.  Toto is a shitzu mix (we found him running for his life on the interstate!) who enjoys cuddling, chewing on his bone and roughhousing with his older brother Scout. Toto is a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dog International and Scout is working on his certification.  We take both of them to visit with the elderly and children and we are so proud of their ability to bring a smile to everyone they meet.  Benji is our older wheaten terrier mix who can be a little cranky at times but tries his best to keep up with the younger guys.  When he’s not napping on his pet bed, he likes to run real fast from the top of the yard to the bottom.  They are all great dogs and a big part of our family.

Contact information:

Lotto donates his birthday to canine cancer research!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Lotto enjoying his Birthday cake with Mom, sister Flyer and foster brother Max

Lotto enjoying his Birthday cake with Mom, sister Flyer and foster brother Max

Every year for his birthday, Lotto hosts a party at K-9 Playtime and instead of gifts, he requests donations to go to a worthy cause. This year Lotto turned 10 and decided that his birthday gifts would go to the National Canine Cancer Foundation in memory of a number of his friends who were lost to cancer.  He worked for his whole birth month to raise funds for NCCF and he raised $535.00!

Raffle for the birthday fund raiser to beat canine cancer

Raffle for the birthday fund raiser to beat canine cancer!

Fun was had by all at the birthday party!  There was a raffle, a dog wash and of course birthday cake!  Lotto was good enough to share his cake with his sister and foster brother too!

Lotto is picking out his raffle items

Lotto is picking out his raffle items

Lotto's friends who he raised funds in memory of...

Lotto's friends who he raised funds in memory of...

I love what Lotto’s Mom Marla wrote as she closed the letter  - “Let’s kick that cancer in the BUTT!”  You bet we will Marla!  We believe that “Together, We are the Cure” and you and Lotto and friends have just become part of the cure for cancer in dogs!

Lotto’s friends who were lost to cancer:

In loving memory of :

Ruby Johnson

Winny Weidner

Princess Sunny and Toaster Gamoke

Stella and Mac Mallo

Nathan and Q Timm


You can see more birthday party pictures here. And here is what was written about Lotto on his Birthday invitation:


MACH ARPH Big Lottery Winner 6674

Therapy Dog Extraordinarie

DEAD Man Walking at one and 1/2

Now gracious host at his own doggy daycare with full staff

Agility Champion Lotto, Ambassador of all things rescue

Changed the COURSE of life for hundreds, and me TOO


So for his birthday, here’s the plan!

I talked a little further to Lotto’s Mom because the invitation had me curious about this sweet fund raising boy and here is her answer:

Lotto was sold by his original family to a 2nd family who kept him tied out all day and ultimately surrendered him 6 months later as “a problem barker” to a high kill shelter. He was on death row when Aussie Rescue “sprung” him. He spent a few weeks in foster care where his foster mom’s Vet commented that he was THE nicest dog she had EVER brought him!

My soul mate, miniature schnauzer picked him out as HER pet and SO he came home with us in November. We were the fifth place he lived and he was only 1 1/2!

We lived in a townhouse with no yard and HE, understandably, was TOTALLY reactive on leash due to spending most of his life on the end of one! We sought out trainers, animal communicators, tried every piece of equipment, read any book we could find and ultimately came to the conclusion that he would never be able to leave the house.  But through it all he was, and remains the single most beautiful soul I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  We just didn’t know HOW to help him.

My agility teacher and friend said bring him to class and we will work through it. He took right to agility and soon forgot about anyone else in the room when it was HIS turn to run.

Not too long after that, we openned him his very OWN doggy daycare. He is great with other dogs OFF leash.  Too bad the world cant always be leash free.

He became Uncle Lotto to all the puppies while they crawled over his head and tried to catch him when he was playing ball. Visiting dogs could eat his food, take his bones, toys, sleep in his bed whAtever, he has always been a gracious host.

If he felt a dog was playing too roughly with one of HIS charges, he would literally hurl himself accross the room to put himself between the offender and HIS puppies.

Lotto has never met a person he didnt love. So we took a class and whaddaya know, he was certified as a therapy dog.  We began working with autistic children and watching him with these kids was AMAZING! He would walk into the classroom, look around and walk right up to the kid that needed him that day.  One day, one of his kids had a meltdown and the teacher was walking him out of the room, I asked if he wanted to pet Lotto before he left and he nodded yes.  He ran his hand through Lotto’s fur and pretty soon he was telling me all about HIS dog. By the time we were done he was able to return to the group activity.  I brought him a laminated picture of Lotto so whenever he needed he could “pet” Lotto and feel better. I cried for two days after that incident.  Lotto is simply the single most generous soul ever.

Around the same time we found a positive reward based trainer and that’s when it all came together for us.  She taught ME how to help him and manage his “outbursts” so that he could go places and do things….including competing in agility at the highest level in various venues.

Several years ago he and I were out walking when a car hit me in the middle of an intersection. I screamed and mustve rolled over the hood before hitting the ground. Lotto sat perfectly still while all the neighbors ran out, the fire department came and took me away to the hospital.  He sat right there at my side.  When I came home a week later, NON weight bearing for SIX weeks he took up his vigil at my side and would only leave his post to eat and go outside.

He is my MAIN man, the most wonderful man EVER!  I cry when I think of what he had to overcome to get to where he is today and how he took it ALL in stride as we shopped trainer to trainer, took some very bad advice, made a lot of mistakes and he never batted an eye always ready to play whatever game we were playing that day!

He is MY hero, and as the saying goes, I only wish I could be more like the person my dog thinks I am.

Because of him I got involved in rescue and through the daycare we have fostered and rehomed hundreds of dogs. He has helped us help so many other people and dogs who have met him and been inspired to try to work things out with their own pets, I cant tell you HOW many people have adopted Aussies after meeting him, including two of my closest friends who are now on their 3rd Aussie rescue. Because of HIM our motto has become that NO nice dog should die for lack of space and at one point we had EIGHTEEN  rescues staying at the daycare for a week, all because of him

Because of him we have all learned things we never would have known to even seek out and like a snowball rolling it has radiated outward and now, after 6 years in business and 8 years of living with him we couldn’t even begin to count how many lives he has touched.

Hope that answers your questions. If not, ask me, I could and DO go on and on and ON about my most BEAUTIFUL boy.

Several of the dogs we lost last year were good friends of Lotto’s and AGAIN, because of HIM, we decided to dedicate his birthday month to raising money for research. Lotto did tricks for donations, shared his office, beds, bones and mom with any who needed in their final days.  Because of all that I learned just HOW lucky I am with the statistics as shocking as they are.

And basically because of him I have the life I have, being with dogs every day, helping people and their beloved fur kids from puppyhood to the final day when we have accompanied many of them to the Vet when the time came to let go.

Because of him, I am the person I am today, which is not even half of the “person” Lotto is.

Had it not been for Lotto I may never had actually taken the leap to openning my own daycare where he reigns supreme as a gracious host and head of the welcome committee.

Marla L.