A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with Esso who has been one of Joanne’s beloved companions for nearly twelve years. Esso is a German Shepherd/Border Collie and behind those huge brown melting eyes is the most loveable gentle giant. According to Joanne, his athletic prowess is astounding, even to this day. “He runs like a rocket and can still catch a ball or stick in mid-air.” Joanne and Esso also share their life with Suzy who is a Red Bone Coon Hound who keeps both of them on their toes with her boundless energy and inquisitive nature.
Capturing the love between these two friends was a tremendous opportunity for me since I have always had a bit of a fear when it comes to dogs, especially large ones.
I have photographed Joanne on a number of occasions, and it has been through her business The Big Stretch Yoga Centre where I not only enjoy a good stretch but have also connected with a number of other inspirational women.
Many folks who do not have children often devote much of their time to their pets. However, Joanne indicates that she has never considered herself as a mother to her dogs. Rather they are her best friends and tireless companions. Being a full-time yoga instructor creates the impression that one is at peace and mindful at all times but owning and managing a small business can still be quite demanding. Joanne says that Esso and Suzy provide her with a much needed daily retreat. “We take several walks each day, and being outside with nature – watching them explore, allows me the time to let go from being in front of so many people each day.” Apart from the unconditional love and a sense of security that pets provide, Joanne indicates that her companions give her a daily dose of get-up-and-go.
Joanne is an animal life awareness advocate and contributes financially to The Toronto Humane Society, Toronto Animal Services, The World Society for the Protection of Animals and the World Wildlife Fund.