Pet Friendly Home Tour: Annika Mieling & Baloo
Copy: Serena Faber Nelson
Photography: Libelle Photography
Pet lifestyle expert Serena Faber-Nelson is the founder of Pretty Fluffy. A contributor to Everyday with Rachael Ray, Modern Dog Magazine, Cesars Way and more; her modern, stylized take on DIY dog treats has seen her recipes viewed millions of times over.
Serena is the author of the go-to dog mom bible, Dog Mama, and the popular dog treat recipe book, Healthy Homemade Dog Treats.
As a professional photographer and designer, Annika Mieling’s life revolves around capturing the beauty in every day.
Yet she doesn’t have to look far beyond her own home – inhabited by one of the most gorgeous dogs on the planet – Baloo the Newfypoo.
Throughout their home tour their sweet style highlights how the love of a dog can make a house a home.
AT HOME WITH ANNIKA & BALOO THE NEWFYPOO
Name: Annika Mieling
Title & Company: Photographer & Co-Founder, Libelle Photography
Location: Acworth, Georgia USA
Tell us about your home…
My fiancé and I are from Germany, so our home has mainly a contemporary look and feel. I was quite happy to find out that there was an Ikea store close by and probably 70% or our furniture and décor is from there! We have lived in this house for about 7 years now with our amazing puppy Baloo and our 2 cats and his brothers Maxi and Felix.
Baloo is one of the most adorable dogs around! He even has his own Facebook Page he’s so popular. When did he come into your life?
Baloo came into our lives when he was 9 weeks old. He is a Newfoundland/Poodle mix, also known as Newfypoo or Newdle. Right from the beginning his personality started to shine through and it was love at first sight.
Baloo is very smart and playful, but also lazy at times, extremely entertaining, and he sure knows how to be super adorable if he wants to make me smile OR if he wants to have food. He is now 1 year and 3 months and weighs 75lbs. When we walk him and take him places he is always the center of attention and people stop us all the time to pet him or ask questions about him. He sure looks much bigger than 75lbs when his fur is long which draws a lot of attention to him.
Baloo loves the cold air, water, his brothers the cats Maxi and Felix, the kids, other dogs and people in our neighborhood. He likes to look up into the sky to keep up with his obsession with birds and squirrels! He loves ice cubes and eats them like treats, he makes funny noises when he is super excited and happy, we call it the yeti call or call of the wild, and he shakes his butt a little at the end when he shakes off water from his fur.
Your a talented photographer with your own company, Libelle Photography. How did it start and grow to what it is today?
My best friend Anna and I started Libelle Photography about 3 years ago when we accidentally discovered the wedding industry. While majoring in Graphic Design in college, a friend and former classmate, Carissa, knew that we had a passion for photography and she asked us to take pictures at her wedding, just for fun and so we did. That is where our journey began!
People started contacting us about wedding photography after seeing Carissa’s Wedding pictures so we took the opportunity and started Libelle Photography. It was a word of mouth start, and it took off like we never expected it to! Since then a lot has happened and we were very fortunate to work with amazing couples, families, and vendors to build the portfolio that got us started and to have the business that we have today. For us, photography is so much more than just a profession, it is our passion and we love every aspect of being in the industry. We are now available to shoot a selected number of weddings a year in the USA and Internationally. We also do couple portaits like engagement sessions and some editorial work. A great way to keep up with our work is though our Libelle Photography Facebook Page.
I also put my photography skills to good use and help out at a local pet shelter to take pictures of homeless pets. Great photos can help tremendously to improve their chances to get adopted or even get noticed through a website or social media. I would encourage every photographer out there to do the same whenever they have a little spare time available. It is so rewarding and you help make a difference in these animals’ lives and chances on getting adopted.
As a photographer, you capture so many gorgeous shots of Baloo. What is your #1 tip for dog owners wanting to get good pics of their pets at home?
Yes, it sure is fun to photograph Baloo and he certainly is my number 1 subject for my personal work. I honestly think that some of the most beautiful photos are created by letting Baloo just be himself. No calling names, noises, or anything that gets his attention. Observe the moment through your lens and capture it right there. If you do want to try the other route and get the dogs attention, I would try a squeaky toy or find a noise that you can make with your mouth that gets your dogs’ attention. For Baloo, the following works almost every time: close your mouth, inhale, and exhale by pressing the air our trough your relaxed lips so it makes a motorboat like sound.
How would you describe your style at home?
I would describe it as contemporary but cozy with a Southern touch here and there.
Where do you get your inspiration for your interior design?
I get it from my parents and my fiancé’s parents and recently Pinterest!
How do you balance your work and life as a pet owner?
I usually get up at 6am, eat breakfast, walk Baloo and go to work. I do have a full time Graphic Design job during the week and do the photography on weekends. That’s one of the reasons why we are very selective with the weddings we book and are only able to shoot a small number of weddings each year. But my motto is ‘quality over quantity’ so that works just fine for me. I get back home around 6:30pm and make dinner, feed the hungry pet children, go for a walk with Baloo, and relax with my fiancé afterwards. If I have time at night I like to go to the lake with Baloo or to the mountains which are both close by.
I work 2 days a week from home and if my fiancé and I are both at work, Baloo is either at a fantastic Doggie Daycare close to our house or our neighbor and friend Jennifer and the Kids are so kind and watch him.
Before we decided to get a dog, it was very important to us that Baloo would not be alone for long period of times. It is not always easy especially if you always have to come straight home from work or plan around your dog but we knew what we were getting into when we decided to get Baloo after our previous dog Chloe passed away. There was just something missing during the time period during which we did not have a dog…
How have you made your home pet friendly?
Baloo has 2 Toy Boxes around the house to keep the space clean and he loves getting his toys out of there himself. He also has a raised feeder to make it easier on his back and we put blankets on the part of the couch he is allowed to get up on. We really did not have to adjust much around our house since it always has been pretty dog friendly.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for dog owners who want to keep their homes looking good?
Put in the work and train your dog early. I know it can be a lot of work but if you commit to it right from the beginning, you will have it easy the rest of the dogs’ life and your home will stay looking good as well. Oh and DON’T buy a white couch!
What are the biggest challenges you face in having pets in a stylish home?
Since Baloo is quite large, it is not always easy to keep it clean. Baloo carries in lots of grass, leaves, and dirt. I try to wipe his paws and watch him before he comes into the house.
What do you look for in a good pet brand or product?
For me, it is important that it is safe, lasts long, and is stylish.
With all the horror stories out there I make sure to buy local treats and food.
What is the one thing that you and your dog just can’t live without?
Baloo loves his dry food from Hi-Teck Naturals.
Baloo’s current favorite toys are the ‘Hide a Squirrel’ by Kyjen and the Lambs by ‘Multipet’. He has the Lambs in small and in Giant and he loves when I put all the squirrels in the tree trunk and he can pull them out one by one. He has so much fun doing that.
Dogs sleeping on the bed – YES or NO?
Yes but Baloo does not want to sleep in the bed and maybe its better that way because of his size! He like the cold floor or his own bed.
FOLLOW ANNIKA & BALOO
Make sure you check back on Monday to see a easy and healthy DIY dog treat recipe by Annika!
Copy: Serena Faber Nelson
Photography: Libelle Photography