Being a foster-pug-parent has led to some interesting experiences, but none more interesting than when the lovely people at Zilker Bark reached out to ask if we’d like to be in a photo shoot.

I’ve been a follower of their Instagram feed for some time now, and the idea that the JCs would be featured was more than exciting. And the exposure they would get could mean their chances of being adopted would be greatly increased. And, although that would be a mixed blessing for us as a family, we know that they should be with a settled forever home now – the kind of exposure they’d get from the ZB people would be invaluable in getting their story to people who might not otherwise know they exist.

Also, we would get to be part of a professional photoshoot. And that doesn’t happen to us every day.

We had to be ready to head down to Auditorium Shores for 8.45am on a Saturday, which is no problem as the pups don’t believe in a lie-in, even on a weekend. 

We piled the two into the car, hugged Big JC tight as he does not like car rides, loaded up on caffeine, and headed out to the center of Austin, where we seldom adventure except under duress.

Down by the water on a Saturday morning, there are two kinds of people: dog walkers and joggers. Obviously, these two groups also overlap. There are all kinds of dogs, all kinds of runners, and all shapes and sizes of Austinite down there. Maybe too much (specifically male) near-nudity for a morning, but I accept this might be a personal viewpoint rather than an objective fact. It was kind of fun, though, to be among people all out enjoying and/or improving themselves on the weekend. The pups were fascinated by the crowds but clearly preferred to be to the side rather than in the thick of things.

We found our guy taking pictures of a cute couple with three even cuter pugs – an old one in a stroller, a medium one, and a tiny pug puppy. Although the photo shoot went over time, we didn’t really care; who couldn’t sit in the shade for a day or two, watching a pug puppy explore the world? Monsters, that’s who.

Alex of Zliker Bark is super-friendly, dog-centric, committed, and really focused on making our seniors attractive for potential adopters. I don’t know what he does during the week, but he gets to take photos of dogs at the weekend. I know – let’s hate him, right? 

Unluckily for him, our pair were not prepared to cooperate in any way. The story we want to show is of the bonded pair: Johnny Cash and June Carter, devoted to each other. And it’s not a lie; Big JC is June’s biggest fan, watching her every move and always alert for when she’s in need. June herself is a little more oblivious, but she probably takes his attention for granted. I don’t know how she’d be without him to rely on…and hope she never has to find out.

However, on this particular day, in this particular place, they could not have been less interested in each other. Alex did a great job of catching the rare moments when their orbits aligned, but mostly they were way more interested in everything else happening around them. Johnny preferred to follow his humans around; June preferred to sit in the grass and watch the world go by.

Still, Alex felt he had some decent footage. He did give us some homework – we had to write the JC’s story and try to get photos and videos that show them in their natural environment. An assignment from a professional photographer? Accepted!

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