Not only she bred the Havanese, but she had stunning Bernese mountain dogs and even three Gypsy Vanner horses on her property!
Needless to say, my trip up and our visit a while back were a true delight! I had the pleasure to hang out with Pieternella’s animals, learn about her amazing work, while getting to know her as a person. It was simply rejuvenating and inspiring to meet a wonderful, passionate, dedicated and humble human being who loves her furry friends from the bottom of her heart.
And their connection made many of the images below.
After having bred a few golden retrievers, Pieternella’s daughter introduced her to the wonderful Bernese mountain dogs about 15 years ago. Pieternella fell in love with them and decided to focus on this breed. Bernese dogs are prone to many health issues. Passionate and knowledgeable, Pieternella had searched worldwide for lines to help reduce some of the problems and to achieve a look closest to the original: strong, stocky, thick boned. So she went all the way to Europe!
It is not a big surprise to see Pieternella today surrounded by all her animals. Encouraged by her daughter and following her own inquisitive spirit, Pieternella decided to try breeding Gypsy Vanner horses. After a trip to Europe, where she had attended specialized fairs and learned about the gypsies and their horses, she brought back three beautiful ones who have been with her for the past eight years: Jella, the stunning stallion and two beautiful, kind and gentle mares: Dream and Shireen. Even though they are not bred any longer, these three hang out happily and freely in the pasture, enjoying their lives.
Passionate people change the world. Their strong love for what they do has a ripple effect and we all get to feel and benefit from it, one way or another.
I recently had the pleasure to meet a woman whose tremendous energy and drive have inspired me to share her story with the world.
An amazing path
Koryn’s transition from PR to entrepreneur/ business owner of Urban Dog Walks was years in the making and something she has always wanted to do.
Looking back at her successful career in Publicity, Koryn can cleary identify that one moment when a new desire started to take shape and slowly take over her heart. It was when Georgia, her lovely furry companion, came into her life. A very bad day at work, coupled with Koryn’s dissatisfaction with a dog walking service triggered a defining realization. She simply walked into her boss’s office, handed over her letter of resignation, went home and registered Urban Dog Walks. She immediately called her good friend Stephanie Vovesand, owner of ABSV Designs, and the website went up and in almost no time at all. Koryn found herself happily in business.
“It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself as an Independent Career Oriented Passionate Young Woman.”
Koryn’s dog Georgia: the catalyst behind Urban Dog Walks
“My sweet Georgia…I knew she would change my life, and change my life she forever did..”.
It is with great difficulty and tremendous heartache that people move on following a pet’s passing. It took Koryn over two years to heal after losing her previous dog, Mardie. But when she felt ready to embark on a new, loving adventure, an intense search for a rescue dog began:
“The thing is, when you get a rescue dog, they pick you, you don’t get to pick them. I was looking for that connection, that click, that thing that makes you say, you are mine and coming home with me to your new forever home.”
During an online search via Pet finder, Koryn stumbled upon a picture of (then named) Ruby Tuesday (now Georgia Peach) and she just knew she had to meet this dog.
Previously abused, Georgia had lost trust in humans and she could barely get leashed. Not even able to take a couple of steps with this dog, Koryn decided to simply sit with her.
That is when the magic happened and, two hours later, Georgia stood up and sat directly in front of Koryn. They have been together ever since.
It is also interesting to mention that Georgia is originally from…Georgia, US! (detail discovered by Koryn only after she picked her new dog’s name).
A sometimes challenging, yet constantly rewarding line of work
“Every day that I get to wake up and do my job is a reward in and of itself.”
As a horse and dog lover myself, I can tell a good connection between people and animals when I see it. And Koryn surely has a magic touch.
Dogs simply adore her as she spreads her loving energy around them.
Are there challenges for Koryn? She mentiones a few:
– Winters can be difficult
– A house has literally exploded while on the job
– Some days are intense and simply exhausting to the point where, once back home, Koryn has no choice but go straight to bed.
What inspires Koryn?
“My family and friends are a constant source of inspiration and support. My clients are all kind hearted people whose support and dedication to Urban Dog Walks has been unprecedented.
The dogs are all endless sources of inspiration. I am sometimes in awe of them and how lucky I am.”
Koryn’s vision of her future: growth and expansion. What’s next?
UDW services currently include: Boarding, Day Care, Group Walks, Individual Walks, Puppy Visits & Training and Behaviour Modification. While continuing on offering them, the company is also in the market for an Urban Dog Walks store.
There are a few exciting media/TV options in the works and there has been talk of franchising the business to the market.
“Personally, I would like to get into the Dog Therapy trade. We will always be expanding & evolving… Our immediate goal is to get to 100 dogs and see what happens next!”
Sakura and Henry are to marry next spring. They could not have picked a nicer contrast for their photo story. Fall colours are always such a spectacular backdrop. The light is also more forgiving and softer than earlier on. We truly lucked out last week as the leaves were so bright, plus we were able to play in the park right before the drizzle began.
The lovely couple’s dogs, Hachi and Zeb, were fantastic to watch and capture on camera. Their favorite activity: jumping in and out of the creek. Good thing they left this at the very end, as their otherwise beautiful, shiny black coats ended up wet and even slightly muddy.
Even though Sakura and Henry knew they would have to go home and give these two another bath, the joy in their eyes while watching their pups have fun showed that they would be really happy to oblige. The dogs are really loved and they know it…and it reflects in how well behaved they are.
Sakura and Henry, enjoy these lovely images until we see you again next year! Best, Manuela
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to spend some time with lovely Mary-Ann and her cute little companion Dudley, a Coton de Tulear from Madagascar.
I showed up at their home with no particular agenda other than capturing a few moments from their day. I was immediately inspired by the elegance of Mary-Ann’s interior, a beautifully decorated space literally inundated with natural light: the best studio setup ever.
Each room had a different colour, it was amazing to play around and find exciting shooting opportunities in every corner. Not to mention Mary-Ann’s exquisite collection of hats which inspired both of us to go for an impromptu fashion shoot, while giving little Dudley a well deserved break. This little creature has been so easy to capture through my lens, as he seemed at ease and enjoying himself in the process. We let him be, he even napped for a few minutes and then we took him to a little park nearby. He ran in the grass and displayed a series of cute little jumps rewarded, of course, by tasty treats.
Mary-Ann, thank you for offering me a glimpse into your life, I hope the series below will always bring a smile on your face.