Category Archives: Animal

Portrait of Dena


Dena was originally from Crowley, Louisiana, USA. She moved to the Los Angeles California, USA area because of the weather. At the time of this posting, she lived in Antelope Valley which was much more conducive to her asthma issues than living in
Los Angeles.

In the past, Dena had a disabling fall that required neck surgery. Dena was a retired registered nurse, RN, and at the time of this interview, did social work.  Dena studied general sociology at California State University Northridge and studied social work at University of Southern California (USC) where she received a Masters in Social Work (MSW.)

Dena acquired her female German Shepherd dog, Gracie, from a breeder, which she normally would not do. But Dena believed that since Gracie had a lot of problems, had someone else adopted Gracie, she would have ended up as an owner surrender, most likely in the pound. Dena had patience for Gracie and kept her and loved her. It was when Dena realized just how serious Gracie’s fear problems were, that she started training in agility with Mary, from Palmdale, California, USA.

Mary helped Gracie get over her problems by training her (along with Dena, of course) to participate in agility. When Gracie had it all together, Dena started her male dog, Harlem, a Siberian Husky, in agility training (see below). This was approximately three months prior to my meeting Dena. The fun run, where we met, was just the perfect venue and level for him (see my Portrait of Jean for more info about the fun run.)

Harlem was Dena’s daughter’s seizure dog. Her daughter was having 25 to 30 seizures a day and Harlem saved her life. Due to Harlem’s unique talents, Dena and Harlem were also training to be a therapy dog team with the goal of volunteering with pediatric oncology patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Harlem was very large for a husky and looked like a small Malamute to me. He was adorable and lovable and very friendly. Dena was a great person who I would be honored to have as a friend.

Harlem and Dena. What a team

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Victor


Victor was a model (see below) for both photography and figure art. California State Northridge, USC, Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles Art College and many more institutions of this nature.

Los Angeles Art College but he preferred modeling over construction because he liked “feeling free” with his body. He was doing construction for about 20 years. Victor liked all the people that he interacted with in the art world because they were very friendly.

Victor was originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He came to the Los Angeles area many years please to this. He graduated from California State Northridge.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Taylor


Taylor was a 21 year old resident of Antelope Valley, California, USA who had three jobs. Firstly, she had her own photography business doing portraits and events.

She also was a pet care associate at the PetSmart in East Palmdale, California, USA.

Finally, she worked with animal actors at Birds & Animals Unlimited in Acton, California, USA. She was a kennel assistant who cleaned up after penguins, kangaroos, wolves, cats, dogs, bunnies, hours, hawks, eagles, peacocks, emos, pigs and goats. These animals acted in movies, TV commercials, news, and various videos. Her favorite animal was one of the wolves,  Cruz, who had been in the TV show Zoo.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Mona


I asked Mona if I could take her portrait because I couldn’t resist her two year old dog, Fluffy (see below.) Mona had Fluffy since she was a three week old puppy. The first time she saw her she fell “in love, love, love.”

Mona was in Lancaster, California, USA because she was visiting a friend. Interestingly, Mona and I met previously because she had Fluffy with her at Trader Joe’s, and I could not help but bestowing Fluffy with mass adoration that time either.

Fluffy was a Bichon Frise, and  I loved this breed not only because of the cuteness factor but because I had one in the past. Please see my poem about Parko, who is now deceased.

Mona was an Otolaryngologist , that is, an ear nose throat (ENT) doctor, for almost 10 years. She graduated from Ohio State University‘s  medical school. She completed her residence training at University of Southern California in Los  Angeles, California, USA. After she completed her residency, she worked for a private company that hired young doctors to travel around from one site to another.

Mona decided to go into the ENT specialization because she enjoyed working with the face and ears. That was her “choice field of science.” Mona had her own practice in Orange County, where she also resided.

Fluffy the Bichon Frise

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Peggy


Peggy was a groomer at PetSmart for a year-and-a-half, but was was a professional groomer for over 20 years prior to this portrait. Peggy was originally from San Fernando Valley and went to Cleveland High School. She studied grooming in the Valley from an individual who had been a groomer for over 30 years. She believed that was the best way to learn. Peggy at the time of this posting, lived in Palmdale, California, USA. She had two children and two grandchildren. She only had one dog, a Yorkshire Terrier.

Peggy hoped to get more dogs, and was affiliated  with Halfway Home Dog Rescue, who came to adopted out dogs on the weekends to PetSmart in Palmdale, CA.

What I like about this picture is the shape of Peggy’s body as one arm is up with elbow bent and the other down with elbow bent. I also like the Schnauzer in the back photobombing the pic.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Anthony


Anthony volunteered at Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary, located in Phelan, California, USA.. He came right out of high school to work there and planned to continue working with the exotic animals the rest of his life.

At the time of this posting, Anthony lived in Yucaipa, California, USA, but was originally from the Rialto-Colton, California, area. When he was 15 years old, Anthony met Joel, the founder of Forever Wild, at a reptile show;  Joel was there with one of his cats. Joel said that if Anthony wanted to come and volunteer to work with the exotic animals he could, as long as his dad signed a release of liability form. Working there so close to Joel, for so many years, made Joel like a second father to Anthony.

Joel and Anthony had a side job together, Snake Awareness for Dogs, to help generate income for both themselves and their animals. Snake training for dogs was necessary in the California desert because rattlesnakes were abundant, and people who either took their dogs to the desert to run, or just kept their dogs in their yards, faced the danger of their dogs coming in contact with poisonous rattlesnakes. Training dogs how to react and behave when they spotted the rattlesnakes was very important to protect a dog’s life. Joel and Anthony served an important function to the canine community of the Mojave Desert.

Anthony was a pleasant young man. He had so much love in his heart, it just made me feel great. He loved the animals, and it was such a joy to see how happy the animals were to see him, and come over and nuzzle all over him.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Anthony getting licked by a White Tiger, Kismet and rubbed on by a Bengal/Siberian mix, Sakia

Anthony getting rubbed on by a Bengal/Siberian, Taj

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Wordless Wednesday

Portrait of Joel


Years ago, Joel, along with his wife, Chemaine, were in the habit of taking in animals that needed homes. Consequently, they then founded of Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary. Located in Phelan, California, USA, it was established in 1997. Joel loved managing this establishment and everything that went along with this task. However, he noted, “it’s hard and it’s rough, and I often feel like pulling my hair out, and that’s why I have so little of it.”

Joel always had an interest in animals and he claimed, “they are my whole life.” Joel’s grandparents had a pet store where they used to sell exotic animals. They stopped selling them when they realized people were not caring for these types of animals properly.

Joel loved all the animals at Forever Wild and could not say which was his absolute favorite. He had a certain affinity for the cats, and aside from them, he had a special fondness for the new Black Bear named Honey. Honey was a year old at the time of this posting and Joel said she could potentially grow a little bigger, maybe up to 250- 300 pounds, “a pretty good size for a female.” I asked if the Black Bears were rare; and Joel said, “they are all over California; there’s a good population of Black Bears in California.”

Forever Wild did not breed any of their animals. The animals had not been DNA tested, so without knowing their genetic background, “there isn’t a benefit to breeding them to help the species out.”

Joel also believed that breeding the animals in his menagerie would be like “the pound breeding dogs.” His sanctuary was a place where animals could live out their lives. Most of these animals were not wanted by someone, were not cared for by someone, or were confiscated. They had nowhere else to go.

The animals all looked happy, until the food was on it’s way, and then of course they were very anxious to get their meals. Joel and his staff gave the big cats enrichment programs, so that they wouldn’t pace back and forth, bored and miserable. There were gigantic balls in some of the cages for the Tigers. The lion, named Wazu, was roaring the whole time I was there; he had a gorgeous loneliness with him.

I was jumping around with glee and excitement to be around these animals. The day that I was at Forever Wild, I got to hear a lion roar and tigers purr.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Joel with a Capuchin monkey named Baby G

Joel with a <a href="Macaw Parrot named Big Bird

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Wordless Wednesday

Portrait of Carrie


Carrie worked the wine tasting room on the weekends at Souza Family Vineyard in Tehachapi, California, USA. She was originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically from Walnut Creek , California, USA. She went to high school in Delano, California and attended UC Davis, Davis, California, USA majoring in Communications for her university studies. At the time of this posting, Carrie was 27 years old.

Carrie came to Tehachapi because her boyfriend was a facility engineer for Lockheed Martin. They lived in the Bear Valley Springs area of Tehachapi. Carrie liked to be outdoors, and liked to ride horses. She had two horses, a quarter horse Arab and a Mustang she acquired thorough Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Internet Adoption, which she called a “BLM Mustang.” She also had three dogs: a German Shepherd Husky mix, a beagle mix and a a Golden Retriever mix.

This is my 50th posting. I’m really glad I was able to have such a beautiful portrait for this Jubilee. I’ve been wanting to get a portrait of someone with a wine glass at a winery that looks like something that could go in a magazine, an ad for a cruise or an ad for a winery. It seems I accomplished that goal.

It hasn’t been easy to do this every day. Taking the pictures is fun; I like doing that. But doing these write-ups and editing them towards perfection is the hard part and I don’t like doing it. I also don’t like having to do it every single day. But I committed to doing this so I’m going to keep going for the full 365 days. Thank you for staying with me.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

 

Portrait of Daniel


Daniel, a happy 26 year old, originally from Lancaster, California, USA, went to Quartz Hill High School and then did did grocery stocking. His parents were long time friends of the Hemme Hay & Feed owners and he used to hang around the store. That led to getting the job driving a forklift to help customers get their hay and feed onto their pickup trucks.

Daniel loves  “messing around with hay all day” and has been doing it for little over a year now.

As I spoke with Daniel, something interesting happened. I showed him some of my portraits, but when I got to the first portrait, the Portrait of Ido, posted on Jan 1, 2017, Daniel asked for his name and said he looked familiar; he thought he knew him from when he did Motocross, before he was injured and forced to sell his bike and discontinue participation in this exciting sport.

I guess it’s not unexpected that my portrait people will know each other, but it was a pleasant surprise when it happened for the first time.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Hay Supply at Hemme Hay & Feed

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F for Ferry

Portrait of Chris


Chris was a Piitbull lover. His wife had an adult Pitbull, who became his through marriage.  After living with him for just a short time, Chris grew to adore him. Unfortunately, he was 11-12 years old, sick and passed away.

After several years, Chris and his wife were ready for a new “son,” Chunker, who was about 11 weeks old as this post was published. He still had a touch of puppy breath.

I met Chris and Chunker at Pets R Us in Palmdale, California, USA. Chunker needed some more vaccines, as is the way with puppies.

Chris was friendly, cheerful and pleasant. He loved his wife and his dog and despised cancer and leukemia.

Here are pictures of Chris with Chunker and one of Chunker alone. Even though this project was intended to showcase only humans, Chunker was such a cute, sweet puppy, I could not resist posting a dog photo.

Image Credit: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

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The letter “H ” for ‘olly ‘ock