Category Archives: Animal

Portrait of Suzi


Suzi was born and raised in Lancaster, California, USA. She went to  Antelope Valley High School. Susie worked for an Insurance agency in Lancaster.

Suzi had Saint Bernards as companion animals for five years all together. The Saint Bernard she had when I met her was three-years-old and her previous Saint Bernard had passed away.

 

Suzi with her St. Bernard and a friend’s      St. Bernard

 

 

 

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

Advertisements

Portrait of Nicole-2


Nicole raised livestock at Antelope Valley High School, specifically steers and heifers. Although she was a student at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB), she didn’t consider raising livestock as a hobby, “I just like raising steers in general because it’s a fun project to do. I want to be an exotic animal trainer.”

Nicole raised steer for the Antelope Valley Fair. She was part of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and had participated in these activities for four years, she was going on her fifth year. Nicole was quite successful at raising livestock for the fair evidenced by her winning Grand Champion in 2016 and Reserve Champion in 2017.

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

Portrait of Misty


Misty was a wildlife biologist for Edwards Air Force Base. She was there almost a decade. She studied for her Bachelor’s in wildlife management and zoology at Humboldt State University and her master’s degree at California State University Bakersfield in biology.

In this portrait, Misty was holding Jerry, a king snake. He had natural immunity to the venom of rattlesnakes so he could eat rattlesnakes.

Jerry the king Snake

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

Portrait of Netty


Netty and I met at  Antelope Valley Hospital, Lancaster, California, USA. Netty started talking to me about my shorts, of all things; she liked the pockets in my cargo shorts.

I realized right away, by how colorfully she appeared and spoke, she was an artist. Then I perused a fashion magazine and I saw someone wearing an outfit that I thought she might want to wear, so, I showed it to her. This prompted a conversation about photography and art. I showed her some of my portrait work which she admired.

I requested to include her in my portrait project. She didn’t want me to make her picture because she didn’t like how she looked in pictures, but she consented after I promised her I would make a wonderful picture of her.

We were outside, in front of the hospital’s volunteer office, by the memorial garden for the pet therapy program dogs that passed away. My dog, Hector, had participated in the pet therapy program until four years prior to this posting, when he died. Netty mentioned that she herself had two therapy dogs at some time in her life, so it meant a lot to both of us to be there.

I brought out a little stool and a Netty sat among the Roses. She felt very spiritual and suddenly put her hands in Namaste position. I asked her to keep her hands in that position and to look up.  I snapped a few shots like that and ended up with what we both agreed was a perfect portrait of her spirituality, colorfulness and hopefulness.

Netty was originally from Dillonvale, Jefferson County, Ohio, USA, which was very close to West Virginia, “in the sticks.” Netty said she was a Coal Miner’s granddaughter. Her family was the first and only black family in the town. She learned how to love everybody for just who they were and “I’m never going to change that.”

Artist Netty was a spiritual being who was, “trying to spread hope and love to everyone I touch. That’s what I’m doing here.” Netty’s art often had a message to it. “I don’t name my pieces because I want the pieces to bring out their own power.” Most of her work was recycled art, that is, things that “already passed” and needed to be “re-purposed.”

Netty said she did show her art “way up North,” but didn’t show anywhere in the Antelope Valley area. She was not sure if it was simply not important to show her work or she just didn’t have courage.

It was an honor and a pleasure to meet someone with as wonderful a spirit and heart as Netty.

Posted on:

21-N is for No

Also posted on:

Wordless Wednesday
My favorite thing about fall!!

 

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

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 Taylor-2


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

Posted on:

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

Posted on:

Wordless Wednesday