Cleveland, OH Photographer | WAGS 4 Kids | Courtney and Micah



At the beginning of 2013, I had the honor of being introduced to the Cleveland non-profit organization Wags 4 Kids – an insanely dedicated, selfless group of people who train and place mobility service & skilled companion animals for kids with disabilities in the local community.  Since then, I’ve come to know and love the people that are behind that organization – and have also gained an even deeper amount of respect for the way that they dedicate their LIVES to training these dogs and supporting the families that they are placed with.

And just before 2013 came to a close last month, I had the absolute honor of meeting another one of those families whose lives have been impacted by WAGS.   This was the second family that I had been able to meet in person – and after talking to the Mom of the clan over phone and email in the weeks prior, it was obvious to me that I was about to meet some pretty fantastic people.  And I was right.

It was an incredibly cold and snowy December day southeast of Cleveland for session day …  but the minute that I walked into this family’s front door, I was immediately warmed by the comfort of their Christmas-decorated home and  by their family’s natural, welcoming nature.  And of course, I was given a nice, slobbery, warm welcome by the beautifully-blonde-coated Golden Retriever – Micah – a WAGS 4 Kids dog who was placed with this family to support 16-year-old Courtney  – who, at the age of 9, was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy – a genetic disease characterized by progressive and degenerative muscle weakness.


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Children and Family Photographer | WAGS 4 Kids | Morgan and Howie

We all know how Facebook newsfeeds go.  It’s a mix of daily “here’s what I’m having for breakfast” updates, with “I just checked in here” posts … that all kind of blend together.  But back in the Fall, a particular post stood out to me and made me stop my scroll in its tracks.

It was a picture of this sweet little girl in glasses with this huge, joyful smile that was impossible to miss.  And as I read further, I saw that her photo was associated with a fundraiser that my friend was hosting to raise money for a local Cleveland non-profit  called WAGS 4 Kids… an organization which is dedicated to placing mobility service and skilled companion dogs with children in Ohio with disabilities.

When I reached out to my friend to learn more, I found out that the smile in that picture belonged to that of her niece Morgan – who, at a very young age, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma (a cancer of the eye) which can cause deterioration of vision (To read Morgan’s full story … click here).    And she told me that WAGS was working with Morgan and her family to place a dog that could help be her daily companion.

I was immediately touched. I thought… what an incredible thing that this organization does to bring these amazing animals  together with kids like Morgan who need them… and what a special group of people who must be behind it. And I also imagined what a special moment it was going to be when their new dog became a part of their family… so after talking with my friend and Morgan’s Mom … we decided to set up a time for us to get together so I could capture some images that would help this family remember forever these first weeks with their dog, Howie, in their home.


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