Client Spotlight: Joanne the Dog Rescuer

Joanne has saved countless dogs around Milwaukee. Since 2005, Joanne brings in her rescues to be photographed at IN-FOCUS. She was referred to our studio by a good friend who had her three Australian Shepherds photographed with us. In April, Joanne visited with her three dogs-Georgie, Gracie, and Bowie-for a pet portrait session.



Georgie, Gracie, and Bowie

Georgie and Gracie are bonded Shih Tzus with a ten-year age difference. They were both adopted from MAADC. Prior to finding her forever home, Gracie was not in good shape. Her face was swollen and had to be shaved from poor grooming. She had a severe eye injury that required eye removal. “She was the ugliest little dog ever. I [adopted] her because nobody else would,” Joanne said. Now, Gracie runs around the house and loves to play with empty toilet paper rolls and spend time with her old best friend, Georgie.


Georgie is 12 years old with the mindset of a rottweiler. He is very protective of Gracie. So protective, Georgie needed to be sent to doggy boot camp the first month Joanne adopted him. After some tough love, Georgie presented himself as a Velcro dog, always wanting to be by Joanne’s side. His personality is the opposite of his housemate, Bowie.


Bowie is a 10-year-old Havanese boy who was rescued from an unstable household. Bowie was attacked by other dogs in his previous family, so he struggles to feel comfortable outside of his cage. After ten years, his previous owners wanted to put him down. Joanne was content with her recent adoption of Georgie and Gracie, but she couldn’t let Bowie go after hearing his story. Joanne took Bowie in instead, and she’s trying her best to show him that he’s in a safe place now. She spoils him with all sorts of treats, but the only treat Bowie refuses to eat is blueberries.




Pet Session Experience

Dog named Andy Warhol posing with tomato soup cans
Andy Warhol - Pet Portrait Session - November 2020

What prompts Joanne to have her rescue dogs photographed is how much effort our studio puts into showing the dog’s true personality. She feels like IN-FOCUS does a great job capturing the dog’s reactions by using props like toys and crates. She described a different session experience with her previous rescue dog named Andy Warhol. Inspired by one of Warhol’s most famous art pieces, our head photographer Jerry went to buy cans of Campbell’s tomato soup to use as props with Mr. Warhol. “Jerry rolls around on the floor with the dogs. He just gets into it… [IN-FOCUS] always seem to manage to get good results,” Joanne exclaimed.


During her most recent pet session, Bowie was the star of the show. Jerry was able to capture a side of Bowie that Joanne rarely sees. “When you see him in the pictures, you wouldn’t know that he looks sad around the house,” Joanne said. Her favorite photograph is where all the dogs are in wooden crates. Georgie is sitting the crate, Gracie is getting ready to pounce on her favorite toy, and Bowie said, “I’m done with this. I’m outta here!” This photo was entered in our Pawsitively Adorable pet contest (winners to be announced 10/25/2021). She invested in a Storybook with over 20 images and a video slideshow because she likes to show off her dogs on a TV screen. Her home is decorated with prints and products from IN-FOCUS featuring multiple dogs she has rescued over the decades.


Joanne does not know much time she has left with her pets due to their rough history, so she cherishes these moments with her dogs. When she rescues another dog, she schedules another photo session to save the memory of them forever. Some pets have visited the studio multiple times. Joanne returns because she believes that, “Everybody there is very friendly and caring. I was amazed the first time I came in there. It was just so much fun.” Joanne wants to return for another session in Fall 2021.



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