Me with my muse, Bailey!

About Allison Shamrell Photography:

Thanks for visiting my blog! My name is Allison, and I work in San Diego, CA, capturing the personalities of dogs and cats of all sizes & temperaments. I do photo sessions on location and in-studio, wherever my clients prefer! My photography style is natural, playful & soulful.

Here on my blog, I tell the stories of recent sessions and events. You might even find an insight or two into the behind-the-scenes side of my business! I hope you have fun looking around!

If you would like to receive a quick little email to let you know when I publish a new post, see the button at the bottom left of this page! Thanks! :)

619-357-6624  ~  ~  3251 Adams Avenue, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92116

Officially Voted the Best Pet Photographer in San Diego, 2014-2017, by the San Diego A-List.

Sneak Peek: River ~ {Pensacola Pet Photography by Allison Shamrell}

Even though I’m a photographer, and I value images deeply and believe in their power, I simply can’t show you any pictures of River before telling you his story. It’s that incredible.


Sonia lives in Pensacola and loves outdoor activities, like hiking and canoeing. One day, she was out for a canoe trip and saw a ragged animal on the banks of the Yellow River. She fed it a bit of food, and continued on with her day. But she knew a thunderstorm was coming, and worried about the poor creature’s ability to find shelter. You see, Sonia’s a compassionate person – she had cats, at that point, and was generally very kind to animals. So after careful consideration, and a lot of worrying over what would happen to the animal if she did nothing, Sonia went back out to the Yellow River the next day on a  leap of faith and brought the dog back to her house, with the intentions of cleaning it up and getting him ready for adoption. Adoption by someone else, of course. Because, you see, she was really more of a “cat person”. Not a dog person. She had never owned a dog before. So it was to be a clean-him-up-and-get-him-adopted mission, just because she felt sorry for the poor thing. No dog should have to live its life alone and hungry in the wilderness, and Sonia stepped in to help.


She did so much more than help.


To begin with, the clean-him-up part of the process didn’t exactly go the way it was planned. This dog had problems on the inside and outside; his fur, stomach and intestines all had serious issues, and it’s so fortunate that Sonia didn’t wait a few more canoe trips later to take the dog home – he may not have been there. It took months – really, years – to clear up all his medical problems, of which heartworms were just the beginning. And since there’s no telling how he got to the Yellow River and what he’d been through there, he was, as Sonia kindly puts it, “a little crazy”, psychologically speaking. Even so, Sonia trained him! She went through several private classes (with Best Paw Forward!) with the river dog, all so that his future owner would have an easier time with him. Turns out, Sonia’s compassion doesn’t have a limit, even through enormous vet bills and obedience classes and the struggle of introducing a canine to a house of felines. All this for a dog she was going to give up to another person.


Of course, the last part of the plan – giving up the dog to someone else – failed miserably.


Today, the dog (who Sonia aptly named River) is happy, healthy, and downright beautiful. He has no psychological trauma to speak of, his obedience is impeccable, his insides are completely healthy, and his coat is luxuriously thick and smooth. You simply couldn’t ask for a more incredible turnaround. Today, Sonia is down to two cats and the dog that stole her heart. She’s now a proud “dog person” and never even saw it coming! I think it’s just incredible that she picked up a loving family member on the banks of the Yellow River.


If you ask her about it, Sonia references the Sea Star Parable. The lesson it teaches is that although there are many suffering creatures out there, and you can’t possibly save them all, you can save one. Save one, and it will make a world of difference for that animal. I can’t think of a better way to live.


So please enjoy these images of River – oh, and can you guess his breed? Sonia had a DNA test done, and the results were surprising. Hint: he doesn’t have ANY labrador!


What would a session of River be without going to the river?




We jumped and played around a bit…


And then went for a hike!

Look who greeted me at the window to his house! (I love all the nose-marks on the window!)


We also spent some fun time in the studio…


Okay, I admit it. We were a bit mean to River at times.

Yes, that’s a delicious treat in front of him. And yes, those spots on my backdrop are drool.


We also gave poor River a bath… aren’t we cruel? (wait till you see him shake off all that water!)


Sonia, thank you so much for introducing me to your handsome boy. I feel lucky to know you both.


~   Dog Photography by Allison Shamrell in Pensacola, Florida   ~



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Allison Shamrell Pet Photography
Call: 619.357.6624 // Email: // Visit: 3251 Adams Avenue, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92116
San Diego's Best Pet Photographer, voted by the San Diego A-List 2014-2016
© Allison Shamrell Photography, 2016

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5 Responses to “Sneak Peek: River ~ {Pensacola Pet Photography by Allison Shamrell}”

  1. Wow, what a story and such wonderful images. River is one lucky boy.

  2. how awesome for river and sonia, both! i think they both won. :) when do we get the answer of the doggy dna, though? i’m so curious now!

    • Sonia McCrory says:

      This is Sonia,

      My Baby Boy is 25%Chow
      25% Bassett Hound
      and we would have never guessed 50% …………………….Dalmation.!

      We had his DNA checked because of his massive health problems. During heart worm treatment he threw a pulmonary eboli ( clot to the lungs and bled out) Emergency clinic time with about 2 grand to them.Told me he would probably die but I am a stubborn nurse. Worth every penny… He is the last entity I see at night and the first live thing I see in the am, ;save the cat being wrapped at my pillow. My Jim (S. O. ) adores this dog. River’s rescue would not have been possible without Jim’s love , patience and checkbook.. that helped. We honestly do not know
      “Who saved Whom” Allison captured such wonderful images. I cannot wait to see more.

  3. We are so proud of River! The photos of one of my alumni are great!

  4. […] Fur Ball, an event to which I’m happy to donate my time every year. It’s how I met River the rescued dog last year – and this year I was lucky enough to meet […]

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