Firefighters And Shelter Animals: Photo Shoot NO.1

A Sneak Peek of The Photo Shoots For The New Rochelle Humane Society 2012 Calendar

April 19, 2011 by Klara Hanincova

Last Friday, April 15 2011, I photographed Champagne, an American Bulldog/American Stafford Terrier mix with my friend and a firefighter Bill Spinelli.

Bill was a New York City firefighter for twenty-two years. He served most of his career fighting fires in the South Bronx and retired as a Captain. Eleven years ago, his passion for helping others brought him to the New Rochelle Humane Society and to this day he is one of the most devoted volunteers there. No matter if the sun is shining or the rain is falling, Bill is there, walking his beloved dogs six or seven days a week. Bill’s “four legged family” members include cats Homey and Holly and a dog Hercules. Holly and Hercules were adopted from the New Rochelle Humane Society.

Firefighter and a big white pit bull terrier mix

White pit bull terrier wishering to firefighter's ear

Champagne is a great and super easy going dog. She is one of those unfortunate senior pets who have been abandoned by their families. Well, fortunately she ended up in the safe refuge called the New Rochelle Humane Society. Bill loves Champagne and walks her every day.

Firefighter and old white pit bull terrier female

Firefighter and senior Pit Bull Terrier

During the photo shoot she was very mellow and calm. If Bill asked her to sit, she sat. If Bill put a helmet on the top of her head, she did not mind at all. She is a big licker too!!! A couple of minutes into the shoot she decided that it is time to prove to Bill how much she loves him and cares for him. She began to lick his face with such an intensity that Bill had a hard time to breath. That was a moment, a connection that I as a photographer was waiting for. It was really funny to watch and photograph. Bill was great! He took a big breath and dived into the sea of Champagne’s kisses. When I asked him to smile, Bill with his mouth closed mumbled back: “Forget smiling I can barely breathe!”


I had a great time and I hope that Bill and Champagne did as well. Thank you so much Bill for the photo shoot and for everything you do for the New Rochelle Humane Society!

White Pit bull terrier in firefighter helmet

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