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How My Dog Inspired My Business

Kalea - My Joy

Kalea was born February 8, 2019 and was given to me that April by my coworker. I fell in love with her immediately and was excited with the prospect of raising a dog from a pup. I was unprepared for the amount of energy and attention she'd require but I embraced the challenge willingly.

I became the Instagram dog-mom, documenting everything from her sleeping to her vet visits (I seriously considered creating an IG account for her). She grew up loving food, butt scratches, and roughhousing. Every morning she'd wake me up by plopping all of her body weight on my neck then giving me kisses.

When it was time for her spaying surgery, I'd expressed a concern that she would cry out when she got up and pushed on her back leg. The doctor said he'd take an x-ray while she was still under for her spay.

It started out a normal day. I dropped off Kalea then, like every pre-COVID Monday, went to Adoration. My prayer time was interrupted when the vet called with the results of Kalea's x-ray. He flippped my heart upside-down when he told me she had a type of hip dysplasia called Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease - a necrosis of the femoral head. The most common cause being a lack of blood flow to the area in utero and/or as she grew. The treatment was to shave the head of the bone down so that it was no longer rubbing on her hip and allowing scar tissue to fill the space where cartilage should've been.

Dispite all of the vet's words of encouragement and attempts at calming me, all I could think about was my last dog, Oreo.


Oreo was a pedigree Boston Terrier who came to us through a friend. He was sweet and playful (his favorite game was tug-o-war) and loved walks as much as he loved cuddling and being lazy. He was incredibly loyal and a wonderful family dog. As he got older, I started calling him my "old man" because he developed a breathing issue that many dogs with short faces develop - a cross between a snort and a snotty inhale.

He was part of our family from 2006-2016. Although we had another dog, Bear, who was part of our family nearly as long, I was always more attached to Oreo. When Bear passed away from cancer, we noticed a change in Oreo's personality. He had slowed down in his old age but was even more unenergetic after Bear's passing. After a few months, he started eating less and sleeping more. In those last days, he spent less time around us, always by the backdoor.

On Jan 18, 2016, my dad told me Oreo had passed in the night. Before going to bed the night before, I asked if he could hold on one more day so I could spend my birthday with him.

I sought out grief counseling after several months of robotic living and I didn't seek another dog in all the years that followed.

My coworker was the one who approached me about wanting a puppy (I thought he was kidding). I nearly told him "no" and settled with "I'll think about it". I toiled with the inevitable fact that at one point, I'd have to endure that type of loss and whether I could live through that again. I named her Kalea because it's the Hawaiian word for "Joy" and that was something I was hoping for.

So when the vet came to me with news that was more complicated than a sprained muscle, I was inconsolable. Irrationally, I felt like I was losing another dog. It was good that I was at church when the call came. I poured out my heart, my concerns, aches, and grief, and left my vessel empty to receive God's grace, strength, and comfort. It was an opportunity for the doctor's words of reassurance that she'd be ok, all the facts he'd presented me, and the incredible blessing of working with me financially become clear and unemcumbered by my overflowing emotions.

When I brought Kalea home, other than the satellite dish and a 3-legged limp, she was exactly the same - playful, loving, and still waking me up with a 10lb body slam with the added "benefit" of stabbing my eye with her satellite dish.

She absolutely hated her physical therapy only a little more than I hated giving her physical therapy. We got through it all and after about 3 months, she started walking on all four feet again! Today, at certain speeds, I'll notice her trot on three feet. Most of the time, she's on all fours and I use all of her rambunctious games as physical therapy sessions (incognito :P ).

Your heart of generosity

When I was facing an incredible surgery bill, her doctor was a true blessing of generosity when he worked with my financial situation instead of recommending I open a line of credit (every other vet's office I've ever been to have handfuls of brochures for financing and have often asked me if I wanted to finance my visit before I've even seen the vet!). His heart of care and the overall environment of the entire office have me going out of my way to ensure all of the pets in my household receive the best care.

I also recieved an outpouring of generosity and prayers from my community after telling them Kalea's story. I opened a GoFundMe account offering photography sessions in exchange for donations to pay for her aftercare and (possible) second surgery on her other hip.

Both Kalea's constant reminder of joy and the generous hearts surrounding us both, reminded me that this is the heart of Christian service - to share and do all things with love. They were also a reminder that, if one is able, one should give to the benefit of others. Many religious faiths have a tithing practice, whether the amount is a recommndation or a mandate. I do believe, and have seen, the invaluable positive impact some spare change can have on others.

For example, that pocket change that your children love to watch spiral down a donation bin for St. Jude's Children's Hospital makes sure no one is turned away due to an inability to pay. A portion of every Happy Meal goes to the Ronald McDonald House and ensures families remain together even if they have to travel for healthcare.

So I thought, what better way to really make sure my business examplifies my heart of service than to take a page out of Subaru's book? Instead of focusing on one charity, I decided to donate 5% of every purchase to non-profits within my community and throughout the country. I'll have a "Featured Charity" each month as well as a selection of local (Clark County) charities to choose from. Clients will also have the opportunity to recommend a local charity to recieve the donations from their purchases.

The best part? Donations will be made yearround and there's no cap on how much will be donated! Charities have seasons where donations are lower than the rest of the year. I want you to rest assured that your chosen charity will receive donations even during those slow seasons.

Now, 5% may not sound like much but remember the spiraling change in the St. Jude container? Every penny in bin can help support the hospital and their mission. Each time you purchase a portrait session, prints, keepsakes, etc., 5% of your purchase price will go towards your chosen charity. Months after your session, if you decide to order another keepsake, another 5% will to your charity. Pennies can turn into quite a hefty sum.


- How d I select a charity or charities I want to receive a donation?

It's easy - just email or text me the name of your chosen charity! Don't worry, I will help you through the entire process!

- What if I want to split the donation between more than one charity?

Each client who make a purchase of any kind through Crystal-Lynn Ke Photography can either allocate the donation to a single charity or a number of charities. With every purchase, clients can choose to continue their support of their previously chosen charity or select a different charity/charities.

- How long do I have to make the charity selection?

While I encourage all of my clients to make their selection at the time of purchase, selections can be made up to 4 weeks after purchase.

- I made a purchase but forgot to select a charity.

I will help you to not forget - you can make your selection in your post-session questionnaire! In the event a charity selection is not made, donations will be made to the current featured charity.

- How will I know a donation was made?

You will receive a "thank you" letter from Crystal-Lynn Ke Photography and the charities that received your donation once all of the submissions have been processed.

- When will each donation be made to the selected charity? How much money is expected to be donated?

All donations will be submitted at the end of each month. 5% of every session fee and product purchase will be allotted to your selected charity. There is no minumum purchase or limit on how much can be donated.

- Can I add to the 5% donation?

Absolutely! You can add it in the tip section of your invoice (just be sure to let me know) or you can send me the money via cash, check, or money order.

- Will I receive a donation receipt for my taxes?

As donations are made by Crystal-Lynn Ke Photography to each charity, donations are not tax-deductible to purchasers.

- I don't know which charity to choose.

Not a problem! You can always choose a charity I've supported in the past or you can VIEW THIS MONTH'S FEATURED CHARITY.


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