Sandy and Jack

Rehoming Indie from the SSPCA was the most delightful decision of my teens. 7.5 years later and we’re still hanging out, causing chaos. In an effort to highlight the option of rehoming a dog as opposed to going straight to a breeder, I am visiting families who have rescue dogs and talking to them about their friendships with these canines. There is a bit of a stigma that rescue dogs can harbour behavioural issues, therefore the option isn’t for everyone, but these dogs can be your best friend – just like a thoroughbred whose history can be traced every step.

First up, Karen and Peter.

(Please note, I do not think there is anything wrong with going to a breeder. I am just highlighting the alternative.)

Why did you go to the Dogs Trust and SSPCA? Why didn’t you go to a breeder?

[Peter] I just didn’t think that was the done thing. When I was growing up we always had rescue dogs. I went along and just sort of started having a nosey. I think I got Jack and Sam before I met Karen, and I got Sandy within the week that we met. So, for me growing up that was sort of the done thing. We never really went to a breeder and I didn’t know much about it, so I just went and had a nosey about. Over two or three visits I went to the likes of Bothwell, Cardonald – the SSPCA places – and one day this little guy (Jack) came bounding out of the kennel, and his tail was going – he seemed really pleased to see me. I thought “That seems like a good one”.

When I went to Cardonald to rehome my dog, Indie, one of the staff told me the dog chooses you. Do you think that was the case with you?

[Peter] I don’t know. Sometimes I can see him being like that with everybody – pleased to see everybody and anybody. He has jumped inside the back of somebody else’s car before. But in that regard, I can see my personality in both of them.

You’re not too concerned with having a pedigree that you’ve raised from being a puppy?

[Peter] Not in the slightest. I always thought Jack had a big smile and personality, smart doggy. My understanding since is that pedigrees tend to have a lot of trouble.

[Karen] I just kind of figure that the start of their life hasn’t been the best and they deserve – just like anything – a chance. And it seems humane to do that.

Do you know anything about their background?

[Peter] Sandy, yes, in that his mum was in the Dog’s Trust when he was born, and he was returned 9 months later because of a change in circumstance. At the time he was the dog they could pair up in a kennel with any other because he was not fussed, happy go-lucky. And Jack… Jack was a stray.

[Karen] Which is horrible. It’s so sad. You wouldn’t do that with a child. I think people need to go through quite a strict adoption process, because you can’t decide after 9 months that you don’t want your child any more. A dog is for life, I think it’s horrendous that people can just return dogs.

[Peter] My sister was telling us that a number of people were like money’s tight and the dog gets ‘lost’ during one of their walks.

Thats horrible. So, they just found Jack on the street?

[Peter] Yeah. I always thought it was strange – and interesting – that they would take the dogs that they found in one part of the city and take them to the rescue home at the other side of the city.

Where was he found?

[Peter] I think it was somewhere like Bishopbriggs. Or maybe that was Sam, I can’t remember.

You went to both Dogs Trust and SSPCA. Was there a difference in process between those two places?

[Peter] In terms of the places, the Dogs Trust was nicer. It was kind of like the Disneyland… I don’t know if I should say that. But, you know, it was nicely designed, whereas Cardonald is more on the functional side. It doesn’t bother me either way. I know it’s nicer (Dogs Trust), but is that really going to matter to the dogs? As long as they’re comfortable and get looked after. The Dogs Trust seem to be a lot more thorough.

Do they do background checks?

[Peter] They do, but if you’ve already got a dog they don’t tend to be too fussed. I think one of the issues that they might have had with me was being on the top floor flat at the time. Given I already had Jack, they weren’t particularly fussed. The neighbour wasn’t particularly impressed, though, but hey!

Why do you think people go to a breeder instead of a rehoming centre?

[Karen] I think that they think if they’re paying £600 for a dog, they’re getting a quality dog, good background, no behavioural issues.

[Peter] New, shiny, out the box is the impression I would get, rather than something that’s a bit of this, a bit of that. But they are the way they are, and the idea of paying £600-900… I think Jack was £60 at the time. Sam was £100 because he was a pure breed labrador.

Oh, so the price at a rehoming centre depends on the breed of dog?

[Peter] Not so much the breed, but whether they’re a pedigree or not.

Indie, my dog, has been through a few homes, and I feel I’ve done something good by bringing her into mine and making that commitment. Do you feel the same with your dogs, or does that not even cross your mind?

[Peter] They’re just there. They’re just with me. That’s how it is and that’s how it’s meant to be. It’s as simple as that.

 
 

Joshua Porter

After years of crossing paths on the interwebz, I finally bullied Joshua into meeting me for a coffee. There is always a slight hesitation when meeting someone ‘from’ the web. They could indeed be a murderer, or have shite chat. Fortunately, Joshua is not only a fantastic photographer, but the kind of guy I’d meet for a second coffee (or tequila). Here’s to new friends!

 
 

Ayden and Dexter

Thanks for lunch, Ayden. And Dexter, whilst you’re the most handsome cat I know, I’d like you even better if you gave me cuddles. Instead you sit there, aloof, looking pretty but really not giving a shit.

 
 

Morgan

Morgan is joining us in Toad’s Caravan for a few months, and hopefully FOREVER if she gets a Visa (she’s American). Morgan has only been in Glasgow a few weeks, but joined us at Tribeca for my (early) birthday lunch. We are going out for drinks next week and I’m going to teach her all the Scottish words, like bawbag.

 
 

Tom Welsh

Today I had the pleasure of enjoying a coffee with film maker, Tom Welsh. Tom does the tour videography for You Me At Six (amongst other cool stuff), and so when he tweeted he was passing through Glasgow, I asked if he’d have a chance to meet up. His chat was so good I’ve invited him back to talk to attendees of an upcoming Glasgow Photo Walk. Tom also writes an interesting blog about gear and life as a film maker on the road.

Seeing as his career involves music, I thought it only apt to photograph him in front of Glasgow’s new music venue, The Hydro.

 
 

Glasgow Photo Walk

On Saturday I took a group of 10+ people on a 2 mile route around the East End of Glasgow for the inaugural Glasgow Photo Walk. To be perfectly honest, when I awoke on Saturday morning and heard the downpour of rain, I didn’t think anybody would show up. After a few cancellations landing in my inbox (inevitable), I was standing at Glasgow Cathedral in the company of a bunch of people I had never met – and what a lovely group it was!

The rain didn’t appear to dampen anybody’s spirits, and for the next hour we meandered through the oldest area of Glasgow. There was a lot of old signage and texture, but as always, I focused on portraits. I do like photographing people.

Afterwards we headed to Tinderbox on Ingram Street, and it was at this point we all had a chat about photography and how long each of us has been doing it etc. I really couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch of people to show up, so thank you to those who took a gamble on coming to the first walk. I really wasn’t sure what I was doing!

Glasgow Photo Walk is on Facebook, and there have been a trickle of photos added to the Flickr group. You can, of course, sign up to be notified of the next walk.

 
 

To Kames

On Saturday I shot my first wedding of the year, demanding a 2 hour trek to Kames, Tighnabruaich, part of which required a ferry ride. The drive to Kames was nothing short of stunning. I can’t describe how it made me feel. It’s only taken me 20 years to appreciate the beauty of Argyll and Bute, having grown up in Dunoon from the age of 6 and leaving for the city at 17.

The couple were kind enough to book me a room in a hotel overnight, giving me the opportunity to appreciate the drive in the morning light. I had to snap a photo of the local service station. I’ve never seen a petrol station so small and I lived in Kilmun for 11 years.

I wish my camera could do the scenery justice, but it doesn’t.

 
 

My Sister’s Engaged

My sister’s fiancé, who is a footballer, was meeting with a Glasgow agent about football ‘hings, so it was the perfect opportunity for my sister to stop by the studio and chat about wedding ‘hings. I attend weddings all the time as a photographer, but I can’t wait to be a part of my sister’s wedding. To celebrate their relationship. To dance. To relax. It isn’t for a while yet, but my photographer perspective has already rubbed off on my sister, who has been sending me potential venues based on natural light (yes!).

 
 

First Week Back

I enjoy the first week back at work after the holidays. January is always a busy month, and this year is no exception. I have a project with work to tie up, and the inaugural Glasgow Photo Walk will be kicking off mid-month. My first wedding of the year is this weekend. Based in a remote part of Scotland, I’m looking forward to the scenic drive and overnight stay in a hotel. I also have a birthday to celebrate, although I’m undecided how I want to celebrate it. I’ve recently got back into gaming, so part of me wants to celebrate with a PlayStation 4. Lastly, I’ve been increasing my training this month for a 10 miler in April. I’ve …

 
 

Anderston

Anderston, the district I live in, is a juxtaposition of beauty. Modern architectural delights, The Hydro and SECC, compliment the skyline, contrasted with derelict buildings, such as Bilslands’ Bakery. I have a fascination with Bilslands’ Bakery, but for the 3 years I have lived here, access has been blocked. I’d love to see inside.

Bilsland Brothers Limited, 1872-1985

James Bilsland ran a small family bakery in Anderston, Glasgow. In 1872, he was later joined by his brothers, William, Alexander and John.

William Bilsland had a flair for business and with him at the helm they soon acquired a number of bakeries around Glasgow.

In 1881 Bilsland Brothers became so prosperous they decided to build a factory to help them keep up with the demand. The bakery was completed in 1882 in Hydepark Street, Anderston, Glasgow.

 
 
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