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.

Tag: ‘border collie’

Koya the Border Collie Mix, and My Thoughts on Life

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about life recently – the different stages that you pass through in life, and how things change over time. And there’s a reason I’ve been pondering these things recently. Her name is Koya.

Koya is a 15-year-old Australian shepherd/border collie mix, who lives with her family in southern San Diego. When you see her today, you see a sweet old dog. She hobbles to get around, since bending her knees is tough to do, and there’s a generous amount of white fur that has accumulated on her face over the last several years. She moves slow and needs help getting up sometimes. If you meet her today, that’s what you see.

But Koya’s mom is happy to tell her whole story, and it might surprise you: she adopted Koya as a puppy when she was single & living in Canada, almost 15 years ago. And Koya was the perfect companion to her mom’s adventures. As a wildlife biologist, Koya’s mom (and eventually her dad, too) would go on multi-day escapades in the mountains, hiking trips that put my casual outdoor experiences to shame, and adventures in the wild that any dog would dream of. I can’t express how much I would have loved to know Koya back then: young, strong, energetic, and ready for anything. But I didn’t know her back then… I only got to meet this awesome dog in the sunset of her life. And that’s okay too – because I still had the privilege of seeing the love she has for her mom, and the rest of her family as well (including her almost-2-year-old human brother). And something tells me that love hasn’t changed a bit over time, no matter whether Koya happened to be young or old… so I feel like I got to know “young Koya” in that small way, after all.


We started our photo session in Koya’s awesome backyard, where Koya (slowly) showed me around her favorite spots.

border collie mix


This is Takla, a shepherd & maremma sheepdog (!) mix, Koya’s canine sister. She’s a sweetheart whose favorite hobby is getting belly rubs. Seriously, I think she spent the whole session thinking “why doesn’t this involve more belly rubs?” And trust me, she got several, haha – but she can never have enough! :)

sheepdog maremma mix


Koya, right next to her mom – exactly where she wants to be.

border collie mix


I couldn’t have chosen a better dog – or image – to be my last subject of 2016. :)

border collie sunset



Libby, thank you so much for introducing me to your wonderful family! I’m so excited to see you again soon. Merry Christmas in the meantime! :)


Alabama’s Last Day – An Emotional Photo Session in Talmadge, San Diego, CA

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

You guys, I don’t even know what to say about this dog.

I met Alabama (“Bam” for short) during a very brief amount of time. We shared about 20 minutes together in her front yard, until she simply got up and walked back into her house, signaling that we were done. (Which I’m told is a very Bam thing to do.)

But in that time I spent with her, I fell in love with her. This dog is sweet, gentle and loving. She did her very best to keep her head up and perk up those gorgeous ears, despite the fact that she was very weak and hadn’t slept all night. Her mom Nicole laid down a couple of blankets on the dewy, wet grass, and they both sat together, as I’m sure they’d done plenty of times before. And Nicole told me about Bam’s life – about her popularity with all of Nicole’s friends, about how she was getting along with the new puppy – and Bam sat patiently while we created a few portraits of them together.

At one point we were both crying – and by the end, we were laughing so hard. To say this was an emotional photo session doesn’t even scrape the surface.

I was honored to meet Bam, and I think she thought I wasn’t so bad either. And I wish she could come over to the studio with her mom to see their photos together… but she’s not going to make it that long. In fact, as I’m typing these words, Bam may have already left this earth. I hope you’ll say a prayer for her mom… because I know she’s not having a good day. But it’s my hope that these images bring back the happy memories – over time, of course – and in the meantime, hopefully, they provide some small amount of comfort. Because Nicole & Bam’s relationship was truly beautiful.


emotional pet photography shoot


Bam’s fur is so completely gorgeous. I couldn’t get over how beautiful she is.

emotional pet photography session

I guess you don’t really own a dog, you rent them, and you have to be thankful that you had a long lease.”   – Joe Garagiola

emotional pet photography


Nicole, I’m thinking about you today. And sending lots of hugs. Thank you for introducing me to Bam… I’ll never forget her.


Fiona, the Homebody Border Collie

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Fiona is a beautiful border collie that loves being at home! Her favorite activity is to play with her squeaky ball in her living room, closely followed by playing with her frisbee outside in the backyard. She just wouldn’t trade anything for being at home with her parents – she even loves the routine of playing in the backyard so much, that she’s worn down the grass in the specific path that she takes every time she goes out to play!


I really can’t blame her for loving her home and her usual routine so much. Lately, trips away from home have been to all sorts of vets’ offices, most lately the oncologist’s in Gainesville to get chemo medication. When leaving the house involves stuff like that, it’s no wonder Fiona’s a happy homebody. And in fact, we took a quick trip away from the house to visit my studio during our session, but I wanted to showcase images that show her at her “happy place” for this Sneak Peek! So here are a few images from her house:


A border collie dog plays with a frisbee in the grass.


Ball-focused? Yes, definitely!

A border collie dog watches a squeaky ball toy in her house.


Thank you for the honor of meeting your sweet girl, Julie. I can’t wait to show you the rest of the cute photos we got, very soon! :)


A Difficult Senior Dog Session: Bubba the Border Collie

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Bubba is a super-sweet old border collie whom I had the honor of meeting on Saturday. We had a great session – he was a patient model, he made us laugh throughout the whole hour, and we scheduled a follow-up session for outdoor photos later this week! At a glance, it was a wonderful time, and a typical experience for my clients. But under the surface, unfortunately, we were working with a very time-sensitive purpose: at 13, Bubba has stopped eating his meals and appears to be in a bit of chronic pain. His mom Kim doesn’t think he has much time left, so we got together as SOON as possible. And while that thought made the session harder than most, it also made it SO important. (Future clients, please know that if your dog is in a similar condition, I make it a policy to drop what I’m doing and come to you immediately. When time is short I don’t want to leave anything to chance, and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure you have beautiful portraits of your dog, even if it’s in his or her last hours.)


Enjoy these photos of Bubba – hopefully I’ll have even more to blog (from a gorgeous farm, with horses!) by the end of the week!

An old border collie dog barks and lays down in the studio.


We found a couch to relax on, and that was a bit more comfortable for Bubba…

An old border collie dog relaxes on a couch in the studio and smiles.


But mostly he just wanted to be close to mom.

An old border collie dog lays down in the studio and looks up at his owner.


Thank you so much for the privilege of working with your family, Kim. I’ll see you soon!



Gulf Breeze Pet Fest ~ {Gulf Breeze Pet Photography by Allison Shamrell}

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Yesterday (Saturday) was the 2011 Gulf Breeze Pet Fest! It was a lot of fun – until Mother Nature decided she didn’t like the idea of peaceful weather. So up until that moment (when three 10×10′ tents went flying, and my portraits came crashing down from their display stands) everyone was having a great time! Check out some of the adorable dogs I got to meet before having to pack up my booth…


This sweetheart wanted to snuggle up next to her Dad the whole time!

Rayne was a wonderful familiar face to see!

Bailey was the only one in her family who felt like saying hello to me…

But doesn’t her sibling Jace have the most beautiful coloring?

Tally the lab – I love her eyes!

I also adore this pomeranian’s coloring.


This is Treu, the smallest pit bull I’ve ever seen! Definitely a sweetheart, and tennis ball-obsessed!

Haha – I’m pretty sure this is Treu’s “look how good I am beeeeiiiinnnggggg” face!


Some visitors decided they needed to see my work up close…

Aaaand we have the winner for cutest pup of the day!


Honestly? I would like to steal him.

Gumbo the Maltese is a close runner-up, though. Wrapped up against mom’s chest was the warmest place to be that day!


This is Sydney, the windswept Australian Terrier!

Some dogs were there to PLAY! This is Buster, the shorthaired pointer.


Such sweet eyes.

And since the last session giveaway I did was so fabulous, I decided to hold another drawing for a free session.

This is the winner! Meet Amore the Maltese, and you’ll be seeing more of this adorable pup soon!


I’ll leave you with one more of this little dude. Have a great week!


~   Dog Photography by Allison Shamrell in Gulf Breeze, Florida   ~


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