Tonawanda News

The Town

February 10, 2013

Underwater dogs

'Underwater Dogs' photographer visits local business for photo shoot


Tonawanda News — Bernstein said she initially emailed Casteel to inquire about a photo shoot. Learning that he needed a minimum of 10 dogs to do so, she asked clients to gauge interest ... and almost immediately, had more than 20 dogs signed up for the event.

“He’s pretty busy, so we were pretty happy to be able to get him out here on a weekend,” she said. “I’m wondering if my dog is going to be one of the cute ones or one of the ones who looks like they’re going to eat your face off.”

Dogs taking part in the shoot include many Labrador retrievers, some golden retrievers, a Barbet (French water dog) or two, a Rottweiller, poodle, Newfoundland, Bernstein’s own curly-coated retriever, Petra, and more. Many of the dogs learned to swim at Canine Splash’s swim training program, Bernstein said. Max is a sterling example of that.

“It took six training sessions before he would even go off the ramp,” she said. “He now just has a wonderful time jumping, when four months ago, he hated the water, would have nothing to do with it.”

Max’s owners, George and Jory Herbert of Orchard Park, also credit Canine Splash for the turnaround.

“The first time we were here last summer, he had to swim in the baby pool,” George Herbert said. “He wouldn’t even walk through puddles. Now we drive up from Orchard Park, and he starts crying (eagerly) about the time we reach the (former) HSBC building.”

Each dog needed its own brand of interaction. Before Max’s photo shoot, Isis, a Barbet, started out hesitating at the edge of the dock before eventually warming to the idea, jumping eagerly into the water after a bright orange tennis ball as Casteel called constant encouragement.

On the other side of the coin was Miley, a Scottish terrier who swam like an otter and was thoroughly unfazed by Casteel’s presence ... but wasn’t so interested in the tennis balls.

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