The puppies were just supposed to be staying for a month.
In April, Danielle Woolson and Dustin Lawrence Lisica brought Luna and Neville home. They were fosters—Danielle and Dustin’s first—who’d landed in Baltimore’s city shelter, BARCS, after being removed from bad circumstances.
The wee pups needed a short-term, loving home until they’d be going up for adoption in May, at a shelter fundraiser-cum-animal extravaganza called Pawject Runway.
“This was originally a temporary situation,” says Danielle, wryly.
Luckily, while the best laid plans of dogs and people often don’t work out in their intended manner, sometimes they lead to perfect bliss—and, as you’ll see in a second, some really wonderful photos.
Neville and Luna are young doggies whose early lives were not good.
“Mistreatment and neglect,” says BARCS spokesperson Bailey Deacon. “We are not able to publicly share any other information because it’s an open Animal Control case.”
Danielle and Dustin—and their five-year-old cat Bentley—spent that first month giving Neville and Luna a taste of something much sweeter.
The pups, in turn, gave them lots of the same right back.
So much so, that Danielle and Dustin—who volunteer at BARCS—found themselves fantasizing about the future. They imagined involving the pups in the wedding they expect will be coming, and beyond.
“We saw them spending the rest of their lives receiving all of the love and care we have to give,” says Danielle.
The couple had been warned that fosters—especially first-time fosters, like themselves—have a hard time giving up their charges.
So despite all these feelings and hopes and dreams, they tried to stay tough. They tried to stay resolute. They tried not to be too seduced by Neville’s expressive face, by that bit of blue in Luna’s eye that glitters so so prettily in the sunlight.
Of course, it didn’t work.
Photographer Heidi Moore Trasatti had taken the puppies’ initial adoption photos at BARCS. She judged them to be amazingly cute, not to mention “the most well-behaved puppies I’ve met in quite a while.”
Heidi saw Dustin and Danielle and the dogs at Pawject Runway, and asked if any adoption applications had been submitted for them yet. She expected the answer to be yes.
And it was.
“They smiled and shared that they had decided to adopted both of them,” Heidi says.
“Dustin’s mother was standing there beaming and reached into her purse to grab prints of the adoption photos I had taken. She thanked me for taking photos of her grand pups.”
It hit Heidi that this was a big milestone for the family. She set out to help them celebrate.
Heidi has taken some unexpected family photos involving pets in the five years since she’s been shooting.
They all share the same goal: to show all kinds of animals as loved, and as family.
Here’s one extremely charming one, for example, which includes a pet chicken.
With Danielle and Dustin, and Neville and Luna, Heidi had the idea of making some “gender reveal”-style pictures.
These have become commonplace as a way to announce some important information about a human baby.
Heidi thought they’d be a funny, sweet, and very very happy way to let the world know about this family’s expansion, as well.
“My goal was to document this joyous experience for them and in the process inspire others to celebrate with them and consider opening their hearts and homes to fostering or adopting,” she says.
So a few days after Pawject Runway, the group set out for a park, wearing fancy clothes and great big smiles.
Between the happy people, the pink and blue balloons—tethered, not released; don’t worry—and the super-cute puppies, they got lots of attention from park-goers.
They’ve got a huge amount of attention since the photos went online this past weekend, too.
“Seeing that the photos have made people smile, laugh and cry has been more than I could have hoped for,” says Heidi.
“We never thought it would reach so many people and are ecstatic that it is bringing everyone the same amount of joy we feel when we look at them,” says Danielle—who hopes that the images will help show the beauty of Pit Bulls, and will also encourage folks to “head out to their local animal shelter and adopt a new best friend!”
The dogs seem to be enjoying all this quite a lot, too—the fame, which gets them extra petting and attention, and most of all their doting new parents.
Luna is very playful and follows Danielle everywhere, and Neville “is such a ham,” says Danielle—a good boy who loves relaxing on the couch, or napping in a spot of sunshine.
“He also loves going on long walks with his daddy,” she says. “He walks right next to him, always looking up at Dustin to make sure he sees.”
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