These Photos by Andrew Whitham perfectly illustrate the powerful bond between dog and owner
by Chloe McLaughlin
It’s a well known fact that dogs are man’s best friend… and that couldn’t be more true for Yorkshireman Andrew Whitham and his pooch, Stanley. A keen photographer and dog lover, Andrew first took Stanley home in December 2016 and he hasn’t looked backed since!
“He’s been able to combine his love for dogs with his passion”
“Stanley is a working English Springer Spaniel” Andrew grins. “He was born on 10th October 2016 so he’s coming up to two-years old. I was brought up with dogs – my Mum and Dad had dogs from as far back as I can remember. Before we got Stanley it was impossible for us to have a dog due to work but now we’ve got one we haven’t looked back. It’s been great for not only us but also my Dad!”
Stanley has fit right in to the family and spends the day with Andrew’s Dad and his parents’ Cockerpoo, Bertie. Andrew explains that Stanley has had a therapeutic effect on all of them. “Stanley has perked them up and been almost therapeutic in a way. It keeps us active.”
How to capture beautiful images?
Andrew has always had an interest in photography, especially landscape photography. But in more recent times he’s been able to combine the special bond between dog and owner with his passion and has taken an array of beautiful pictures of Stanley and himself. I wondered how he managed to capture such beautiful images?
“The camera is set up on a tripod and I’ve got a wireless remote. Thankfully, Stanley is really well behaved so he will come and stay… though he does move around a lot! I’d say I get one out of ten photographs that are usable.”
Controlling a dog for photography
However, the biggest question for me as someone with a four month old Springer puppy? How on Earth does he get Stanley to sit still? “It’s been difficult but he’s really well behaved now!” Andrew laughs, “he’s actually better off the lead than on it. The guy I got him off interviewed us twice before we even saw him to check we were suitable for a Springer. I remember him saying, ‘take him up Ilkley Moor and let him off’ and my wife said ‘won’t he run off?’. He said ‘oh yes, but he’ll only go 50 yards and he’ll think where are they and come back’. He’s never run off, he’s always come straight back – you just have to be firm!
“He was really good with training… in fact, we’ve got two cats and he’s petrified of them! The
cats are the bosses!”
Exercising a young dog
Andrew, who works at Bethel Rhodes in Keighley during the day ensures Stanley gets plenty of exercise by taking him out first thing in the morning. His Dad takes him out in the afternoon and then taking him out in the evening. But he explains, it’s important to not over-exercise dogs while they are young.
“Now that Stanley is older, Andrew is looking forward to getting back to his landscape photography”
“It’s so tempting when they are young to just get out and walk and walk and walk! But they are like little kids aren’t they, you have to wait for them to grow up.”
Now that Stanley is older, Andrew is looking forward to getting back to his landscape photography routes and to take his first photography trip in over two years.
“Landscape photography has taken a backseat since we got him. I’ve not been on any photography trips as he’s been too young but I’m due to go to the Isle of Skye and he’ll be coming with me as he’ll be old enough to walk all day.”
However, despite being keen to get back to his landscape photography, Andrew has been busy snapping Stanley and his son and supplying us all with stunning photographs of his gorgeous dog as he has grown. “Around the same time I got Stanley, my son was entering a few mountain bike competitions and with me liking photography, I’ve always got the camera on me. It’s been a big learning curve from photographing static landscapes to things that are moving both bikes and dogs motoring through trees and forests!”
Andrew adds, “It’s nice to be able to look back and look at those early days. It’s like having a kid really. You look back on your albums and see how they’ve come on. It’s so nice to look at your own photographs.”
The Isle of Skye
Now, after sticking to local woodlands, moors and sometimes sneaking into the Dales, Andrew is looking forward to taking Stanley on his first big trip to the Isle of Skye. “I’ve got a few days spare so my wife said ‘get yourself to Scotland with the dog’ – so I am. We’ll be setting up camp and then we’ll go exploring.”
It’s a long way to the Isle of Skye, does Stanley like travelling?
“He’ll be asleep!” Andrew laughs, “We’ll have a few toilet stops then we’ll be there and I’ll be taking plenty of photographs whatever the weather!”
Well, we certainly can’t wait to see them! Keep an eye on our Facebook group Northern Life Creative to stay up to date with Andrew’s gorgeous pictures of Stanley.