Tonawanda News

Local News

August 10, 2013

Swimming into the spotlight

Shelter pups get chance to shine as award-winning photographer returns to Tonawanda

Tonawanda News — Ramona, Ritzie and Rachel were just not too sure about this water stuff.

The puppies, 9-week-old sisters in the care of the SPCA Serving Erie County, clustered at the edge of the big pool at Canine Splash in the Town of Tonawanda, eyeing both the large amount of liquid and photographer Seth Casteel, with what appeared to be canine misgivings.

Casteel had his work cut out for him.

The award-winning photographer whose first book, “Underwater Dogs,” was a New York Times bestseller, returned to Western New York this weekend after a photo shoot in February at Canine Splash. However, this time, in addition to paid photo shoots with adult dogs, Casteel and Canine Splash put out a puppy casting call for his upcoming book, “Underwater Puppies.”

And that’s where the trio of shepherd mixes, recent transplants to Western New York as part of a rescue transport from the southern United States, come in.

Miranda Workman, a behavioral specialist on staff at the SPCA and director of training at Canine Splash, brought the pups to have their time in the spotlight. 

“They’re little fluff balls right now. But they seem to be very happy, very confident. We’re hoping this will be just one more positive experience for them,” she said. “It’s great for them to be ambassadors for the SPCA, to show you can get some great dogs from the SPCA.”

Kim Klementowski of Sadie’s Safe Harbor, a rescue group based in Springville that has fostered pets throughout Western New York, agreed. The group contributed Grace, a 3- to 5-month-old feist recently brought to the area from a rescue transport out of North Carolina, to the photo shoot.

“Hopefully it will get the word out that shelter dogs can do it,  too,” she said.

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