When a baby photographer and a litter of newborn puppies get together, something cute is bound to happen.
Kelly Frankenburg is a newborn and baby photographer that works out of her home studio 11 Sixteen Photography in Richmond, Virginia. She is also an animal lover.
She, her husband Mark and their two children recently started fostering animals from city shelter Richmond Animal Care and Control.
The most recent critters to come under the Frankenburgs’ foster care were a Chihuahua mom, Mama Paris, and her three roly-poly, 2-week-old babies — Tito, Messi and Love Bug.
Seeing the sweet trio, Kelly couldn’t help but notice their similarities to the adorable newborns she works with.
“I had no idea that they were going to be so young. When we picked them up and they were only 2 weeks old and really sleepy, I thought they might pose just like newborn human babies do at two weeks old,” the photographer told PEOPLE.
She wasn’t wrong. After waiting a few days for the canine family to settle in, Kelly put together a few newborn shots, styling the session just like she does for human infants, and found that the pups took to modeling pretty quick.
“I picked shades of blue since they’re boys and styled it just like I do any other session,” Kelly shared about pre-shoot planning.
“I kept a heater on to keep them warm during the shoot. They were easy to work with since they’re so sleepy. Mama dog followed me into the studio and kept an eye on the pup for about five minutes. I let her sniff and investigate the situation. I guess she approved, because she left the room and I found her asleep on the couch.”
Kelly, who has photographed pets in numerous family portraits, put her talents to use on these pups in an effort to find them a happily ever after.
“I thought if people could see past them being homeless shelter dogs, if they could see how adorable they are, that they would be more likely to get adopted,” she said.
Right now, Mama Paris and her three babes spend most of their time bonding in a baby pool fashioned into the ultimate dog bed inside the Frakenburg home. With room to grow under the family’s devoted care, the puppies’ personalities are starting to bloom.
“Love Bug, the biggest one, is just about to cut his first tooth so he’s been chewing on our fingers,” Kelly said. “He’s the most active one. Messi (named after the soccer player) is the vocal one, he chirps and squeaks the most of the three. Tito is the smallest and lightest in color. He seems to be the most laid-back of the group”
The pups still need sometime to mature, but once they are ready for forever homes, Kelly hopes the national attention surrounding the canine newborn shoot means that the trio won’t have to wait to be re-homed.
“My goal is to get these dogs adopted,” Kelly said. “If I can use my talents to showcase them in a way that catches the eye of a potential adopter, then I’ve done my job. Shelter dogs are just as good as breeder dogs, and I want to raise awareness for all these wonderful shelter animals who need good homes. I hope that people see my pictures and click on the shelter website, whether to adopt these dogs or maybe they see another animal they might be interested in.”
The photographer also wants people to look at Tito, Love Bug and Messi, and see the wonderful opportunities fostering offers not only to animals, but people as well.
“The main reason for wanting to foster, is to teach our children compassion and care for animals. I grew up around animals and they teach you so much about responsibility and respect.”
If you are interested in adopting a member of this furry family, they will be up for adoption in six weeks through the Richmond Animal Care and Control.