In 2014, I got a phone call from PetSmart asking me if they could fly me out to Phoenix to shoot photos at their headquarters. They shared some really fun ideas for what I'd be shooting and I was definitely excited.
In the airport on my way down to Arizona I got another call. It was PetSmart and they were changing the shoot.
They'd stumbled across my stories on Instagram and came up with a plan for me to shoot something more special. I said I was in.
After I landed I drove my rental car straight to the new destination of the shoot: The Phoenix Children's Hospital
PetSmart brought in dozens of the cutest cats and dogs from around the city. An announcement went out to everyone in the hospital that there were some special guests outside and everyone was invited to meet them.
One by one, kids and their parents trickled out of the hospital. I loved seeing their eyes light up when they saw all the animals running around the lawn, just waiting to be played with.
PetSmart's hope was to give patients and their families some amazing reasons to smile. They absolutely succeeded. This was an honor to be a part of something that brought hope and joy to so many deserving kids.
JON, AGE 9
The first child I photographed was Jon. He and his mom came downstairs from the hospital and he immediately gravitated toward Malone, this white fur-ball.
We took the dog on a walk and I found out that this nine-year-old kid loves to ride bikes and wants to be a construction worker when he grows up. Jon loves dogs but would totally have a cheetah as a pet if he could.
Me too, Jon. Me too.
I got to talk to Jon's mom and he said this was the absolute highlight of his week. He loved getting to play with dogs and was already begging for one for Christmas.
YVONNE, AGE 4
I brought my Instax along with me to the PetSmart shoot at the children's hospital. I figured it would be rad for these kids and their parents to have a keepsake of their fun day and I knew it would be a great ice breaker.
When you're working with pets and kids, you end up with a lot of outtakes. Here are a few I ended up with.
This girl, Yvonne, sat and pet this one cat for more than an hour. The cat recently starred in a commercial and was suuuuper patient and still... until I pulled out my camera. Of course. I'll talk to her agent about that. (That was so cheesy. I'm so sorry.)
I loved learning that Yvonne just got a new kitten of her own at home. First name: Okie. Middle name: Dokie.