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I’ve always thought of home as my favorite place; a place for gathering around the table, where Saturdays mean relishing in the comfort of freshly washed sheets with the lingering scent of burning candles, lemon Lysol, and Italian bakery bread in the air.


Growing up, my first dog was a boy named Buffy and then a white dog named Coco. Welcome to my life.


My parents set the tone for the way I’d feel about dogs throughout my journey. My father, naming our first dog “Buffy” because Dad said he looked like “the rag I use to buff my car.” My mother, turning a blind eye as we let Coco take a dip in the pool late one evening and then invited him into bed with us. I can still smell the chlorine-scented wet dog.


Then there were our dear Dawn and Margie with their “boxer shuffle”. Full of butt wiggles, sloppy kisses, and spectacular mischief. They got away with everything, right down to helping themselves to the Thanksgiving turkey.


In my teenage years, there was Reggie, my first foster dog. I had the honor of giving a home to this hippo-headed boxer while he waited for his forever family. The few photos I took of him take me back to floppy-mouthed playtime and the nights we squeezed into my twin bed.


And, there was Oliver “the Weeble”, who inspired my first business venture, Puppy Love Bakery. He performed his job of Supreme Taste Tester and Quality Assurance Manager quite admirably.


We loved our dogs, fiercely. Unapologetically. And for everything they gave me, I am forever in their debt.

I wish I could say I had photos of them all. But I don’t. I wish I had those faces sprinkled around each corner of my home. They are part of what makes a home a haven.


Read more about the mischief, here.

Carina Thornton: 
photographer, homebody, pastaholic
Carina Thornton: photographer, homebody, pastaholic


Our house was always warm – a fireplace ablaze, the oven baking a cake (for birthdays and everydays), the Sunday gravy bubbling on the stove. The dogs at our feet, always at attention for the comings and goings of friends and food. There were photographs everywhere. My parents’ good lesson in keeping family members present through time.


We sat around the table together – every holiday or even just random week nights. With food cooking and family together, it was a hearth turned haven that showed me the value of being home. There is so much peace in these memories. Right down to the feeling of fresh sheets and the smell of lemon lysol.


Read more about my childhood home.


Perhaps, I’ve always been an introvert – one who lucked into a happy childhood full of wonderful memories of home. Or, perhaps, as society becomes noisier and the world seems to shrink as it spins, I simply realize I’m happiest when I choose who sits at my table and who gathers around my fireplace (hound or human).


That’s why I created Hounds & Hearth.


Our mission is to transform your home into your haven by offering uniquely designed pet photo sessions with a touch of interior design.

Are you ready to create your haven?


Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.