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It’s a Living with Lisa

“Pet whisperer” uses power of photography in second career


Last snow day, I took out a box of old photos of my pets from years gone by and cried and smiled intermittently for three hours straight. There was Jinx, Happy, Daisy, Darcy, Boo, Neo and Trinity, Jethro, Pickles Ann, Tigger, and Ziggy. That’s just the dogs, and it’s not an exhaustive list.

My cats have included Lambchop, Pee Wee, Suky, Felix, Romeo, and Holly Berry, named because she was found one Christmas Eve and not to be confused with the actress Halle Berry. Looking at their pictures brings back, not just them, but an entire era of my life. Such is the power of photography.

Judy Dinnerman knows all about that power, which is why 10 years ago, she retired from 35 years as a high school guidance counselor and started Pet Photos Plus at 13 N. Main St. in New Hope.

Judy grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She had always loved Bucks County. For its pastoral beauty alone, it’s a photographer’s paradise. But she also loved that this area is so cosmopolitan, drawing people from all over to enjoy all the county has to offer.

She now lives in Washington Crossing and has never looked back.

Her specialty is photographing pets with their families, and her photos are not limited to dogs and cats. Judy has taken photos of people with their horses, rabbits, parrots, sheep, ducks, iguanas, and other species.

She loves capturing images of companion animals with their people. “Animals bring joy to our lives with their unconditional love and companionship, and we document that through our photography.”

I ask how she manages to get critters to sit still. Sometimes a toy seems to serve the purpose. “A squeaky toy might work great to get one dog to sit nicely and tilt her head, while the same noise might cause another anxiety.”

Judy makes a point of introducing herself to animals before she uses her camera. She takes the time to talk to them, to play games with them, gives them treats, or acts silly. She calls herself “the pet whisperer.”

Customers often come in afraid their pet just won’t settle down. Judy tells them not to worry. “We can work with all the different personalities. We even photograph pets who are blind or deaf. We take a different approach with each pet because all pets are different. Our photographers have the patience to outlast any personality, even those you may think will be impossible to photograph.”

Judy offers sessions at your home, the studio, or on location.

She also uses her skills at shelters to help animals find homes. She is affiliated with Lambertville Animal Welfare, Habitat for Humanity, Hearts Speak, and Bucks County Neighbors.

“My photography gives the animals an opportunity to be adopted because the photos are placed in local papers. This gives them a chance to have a life filled with love, kindness, acceptance, and happiness.”

Pet Photos Plus also pairs products with animal models for advertisements, and they sell treats, toys, clothes, and other items.

It’s obvious talking to her that Judy truly loves her work. “It’s a joy and a privilege to create memories that last a lifetime.”

"It's a Living" is a weekly column showcasing residents who are making a living in an interesting way, or people who’ve reinvented their careers because they could no longer ignore the voice in the back of their heads telling them to start over, take a risk, chase a dream or set out on their own.

These are stories of bravery, persistence, resilience, and vision.

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