Scan_Pic0004 It seemed like the perfect Christmas card. Ten-year-old Lucy in pink tights, denim vest, and floppy hat. It could have been   a page from The American Girl catalog. And next to her, our black lab, Aubrey.

I called the photographer at the mall and asked if they would take a picture of a girl and her dog. They hadn’t done it before, but said yes, as long as we entered the mall via the fire escape.

Aubrey was bathed and brushed until his black fur shone. He wasn’t allowed roll in any of his favorite back yard smells. With a lot of “good boys” and “you can do its”, we got him up the fire escape and into the photo studio.

Once in the studio, the photographer set up white boxes in front of a white backdrop. It made Lucy’s America Girl outfit pop. And white was Aubrey’s color, because a black lab in dark settings disappeared except for a pink ham of a tongue.

The photographer told Lucy to hold Aubrey’s leash low, so the camera wouldn’t see it. Then he tried to get Aubrey to look at the lens.

 “Cluck, cluck.”


 “Chirp. Chirp.”


 Finally, “Cookie.”

 You could almost smell Labrador brain burning.






 After a while, Lucy got tired of the routine and loosened her grip on the leash.

And Aubrey, bored with hearing about that cookie, decided to find it.  He dashed behind the white back drop and down a hallway.

We chased after him, calling, “Aubrey.”

Ignoring us, Aubrey veered onto a formal looking set. There, another photographer was taking pictures of a bride in her big white dress, her groom in a tux, and their two kids

“Look, a dog!” the kids screamed. Aubrey, wondering if they had any cookies, ran up to them just as the camera went snap.Scan_Pic0002

Apologizing, we grabbed Aubrey and steered him back to our set to finish up.   Our photo session ended. Aubrey got his cookies. The pictures looked great.

But I often wonder:  Is there  a  wedding picture sitting on a fireplace mantle somewhere, with a smiling bride, groom, their family, and our Aubrey?

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