The Beagle Knows The Way

I was getting frustrated with Anna Maria Island’s dog policies. None of the beaches allow dogs! None of the piers allow dogs! What do dog owners do on this island? Eat outside at a dog friendly restaurant or walk on the sidewalk? Neither idea really seemed worthwhile pursuing.

Then, while booking other shoots for the Dogs of Manatee County calendar, I realized that a particular Saturday in October had my Anna Maria Island solution already scheduled....Bayfest!

My Grandpa loves car shows, and I had marked Bayfest 6-8 months ago so I wouldn’t forget to take him.

One thing's for sure at an outdoor Florida festival...there will be dogs of all shapes, sizes, and colors! Usually I’m feeling dog envy pining for one, but this year’s Bayfest, one dog would be there for me!

When this light bulb exploded above my head, I proceeded to do a happy dance in my chair!
Introducing, Francine Fishpaw Pup Champion 2.0!

Beagle at a car show, photo by Denise Mueller

Are you laughing? I hope so! I love the name! It makes me smile, and I think they should seriously consider coming up with a theme song/soundtrack that could be used to announce her.

Francine is a rescued beagle, and her Mom, Kim agreed to doing a shoot at Bayfest. It would be their first Bayfest, they’re new to Manatee County. Francine’s Grandpaw has a 1931 Model A Ford. I was doubly delighted our families share a passion for car shows.

Beagle at a car show, photo by Denise Mueller

We planned to get to Bayfest right at the start to try to keep the crowds at a minimum, but I was immediately overwhelmed. SO MANY CARS! We strolled leisurely along all the cars, but inwardly I was beginning to panic as I wondered how on earth I would choose one car to shoot?!

A little kitschy beagle sculpture lifting its leg to pee marked the spot!

I think I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that, and to make things even better the cars were the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, with yellow, my favorite color, right in the middle. I don’t think I could have planned this any better, and I didn’t plan anything. We were just really lucky.

Beagle at a car show, photo by Denise Mueller

Francine was nervous, happy, and anxious. She reminded me of the trademark shy girl at prom who doesn’t realize how beautiful she is and continues to be self-conscious for no good reason.

We tried to signify this was our ‘home base’ by sitting down on the street with her, giving her treats, and putting our bags down. It seemed to work. In order to get the shot I ended up choosing for the calendar, I laid flat on my stomach on the street, while Kim and Ron, Francine’s Dad, would walk Francine by the cars.

Beagle at a car show, photo by Denise Mueller

I like how the light is hitting her, she looks comfortable and natural, and the kitschy beagle sculpture is ‘there’ without metaphorically hitting the viewer over the head with it. 

Beagle at a car show, photo by Denise Mueller

Thank you Kim, Ron, and Francine for going to Bayfest with me and for helping me get these shots! They mean a lot to me!


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