My baby is 9….. | Virginia Pet Photographer


Maxie at 8 weeks old, this was the perfect photo of her. The stars aligend to get this photo!

They say when you have kids it changes your life forever and you change you life around the kids.  Well I don’t have any human kids but I do have a very special 4 legged kid and yes my life changed completely when I got her and I changed completely for her.  It was 9 years ago today that she was born and she has been my Valentine ever since.  I am totally going to cry while I write this post because I love her so much and I can’t believe how long we have been together.  She has been mine almost from the day she was born.  My parents had a Golden Retriever Carrie, that was knocked up by a roaming Rottweiler (lesson learned to get your pets spayed and neutered).  I was living in an apartment in Alexandria at the time and going home to Woodbridge to do laundry because things were mysteriously dissapearing from my complex’s wash room.  The funny thing is I didn’t even realize it till the sheet that I used to cover my ugly hand me down couch didn’t make it out of the dryer with everything else!  So that week when I went down to do my laundry I checked out these puppies and told my Mom there was no way I could have a dog.  I lived in a no dogs allowed apartment and I was working two jobs so I was never home!  I kept going down week after week to do my laundry and finally the puppies had opened the eyes and it was okay for us to pick them up.  Now let me tell you that when you mix two breeds it is crazy the assortment of puppies you can get!  There were a couple that looked like straight up Rotts, a black lab, a red Rott and two puppies looked like German Shepard mixes.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Shepards so I picked up the female because she was so cute!!!  This is that moment in a movie where you go “Don’t do it!” because you know where the story is going.  So yep I picked her up and held her close to my face and she leaned over and licked my nose and that was all she wrote.  I was done, finite, the end!  My Mom knew she had a home for that puppy and of course she laughed at my lack of willpower.  I named her Maxie because we had a Max growing up who was also a Shepard looking mutt and I loved him like crazy.  So I started driving back home several times a week and on the weekends to see my girl, when she was old enough to leave her Mom and be around others I snuck her into my apartment for weekend sleepovers.  During that summer I was looking all over for a pet friendly place to rent with a yard but it was really hard because of her size and breed.  Eventually I moved back home with Mom and Dad.  At 22 the last thing you want to do is move home, it is totally not cool!  Especially when you have to commute to Tyson’s Corner every day!!  But I did it, I did it for her and those brown eyes and sweet doggy kisses.  When she got to be 4 months old I enrolled her at Petsmart puppy class because I knew she was going to be big (83lbs big)and I needed to be able to control her, she passed with flying colors!  Her favorite trick was when we would practice her sit-stay and then come when called, she would race across the back aisle at Petsmart at full speed and about 5 feet from me she would start to sit and then would slide right into my arms in a sit.  It was the funniest thing!  There is a picture below of us at her graduation and she got to wear the little graduation cap.

Maxie’s favorite thing is to be petted and as a puppy since she was adorable everyone wanted to pet her, I made sure to make her sit first and earn her petting and even now she will sit waiting patiently for strangers to pet her.  She is a little big and scarier now so I feel bad that all the kids don’t rush over anymore, she doesn’t really understand she just knows she loves to get petted and likes to give kisses as her thank you!  If you are ever at my house it won’t take long before you find yourself petting her without realizing it, she is pretty slick about sticking her head under any hands within her reach!  When I met David and he brought Sadie back from South Carolina we setup our first doggy meeting and date with the dogs.  I was terrified Maxie wouldn’t get along with Sadie.  As much as she loves humans she isn’t too keen on the doggy hello protocol of sniffing each others butts, while she enjoys a good sniff she doesn’t like it when others sniff her.  I’ve tried explaining to her that it is give and take and it is isn’t fair if she sniffs them and then snaps at them for sniffing her.  She is being rude.  So when we introduced them I stood way off almost in the neighbors yard so she wouldn’t pick up on my anxiety of her ruining my chances of another date with this guy.  Luckily Sadie is pretty laid back and they got along fine, we even piled them in the Mustang and drove up to DC for a walking date around the Tidal Basin.  I’ll see if I can dig up the photo of their first meeting and their car ride together.  Since then these two girls are inseparable, they play together and love to take trips with us even if they have to share the back seat.  Last summer we took them out on the boat and they LOVE it!!  If I even get anywhere near the boat right now in the back yard they start freaking out thinking we are going.

Back to Maxie….. I just realized this is going to be a long post (sorry)!  She walked with my sister down the aisle for my wedding as a junior bridesmaid along with Sadie.  Yes we are those crazy dog people.  We’ve spent years now practicing our skills of parenting on these two and for the most part they are pretty awesome.  With all the changes to our lives over the last year with David deploying Maxie is having some anxiety issues but we are working with a behaviorist and she is on some meds to help her, I’m hoping that when David gets home things will go back to normal around here.  These girls miss their Daddy a lot!

There are so many stories I could tell about my girl but then I’d be that annoying parent that won’t shut up about their kid!  I love that she always has a kiss for me, that she gets excited and leaps around whenever I come home.  She will always be my little girl no matter how big she gets!  Even though her face is getting whiter and she is getting slower when I look into those eyes I see the puppy that licked my nose.  I see my girl that hugs her Daddy when he gets home and always lets me cry on her shoulder without getting annoyed at me.  My girl that is always right at my feet, my Maxie.  Happy 9th Birthday Maxie!  I have doggie ice cream for you and Sadie to celebrate today!!!

These photos are a collection of ones I scanned from prints I had when she was a pup through some I’ve taken over the last couple years.  Like most kids there is a big chunk of missing photos between 1 year up through year 6!

Little Maxie

Maxie's Graduation from Obedience classes. Pic of her all wet, probably from playing in the sprinkler that she loves!! So cute at 8 weeks on one of our stealth sleepovers at my no dogs allowed apartment!

Older Maxie

My favorite pic of my girls that hangs over our sofa. Fun photos of her over the last couple years, I love my baby!!


Oh my goodness I can't even tell you how much I miss when she was so little! She is so gorgeous here and I want another of her everytime I see this photo. Soooo cute!!!

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    Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


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