Photo Essay: Introducing Cooper and Marley, Rescued Pals

Written by: Kenny Onufrock


Cooper and his mom enjoying a snow day.
All photos by Kenny Onufrock

[Editor's note: After seeing Jaci Brillon's photo essay introducing her dog family, photographer Kenny Onufrock sent me an email saying, "Hey, can I do that too?" Since we love great pictures and stories of dogs, I said, of course. In fact, anyone is welcome to send me a family introduction like this, even if you aren't a pro lenseman.]

Hey fellow dog lovers! I’m Kenny Onufrock, I work as a photographer and graphic designer out here on the southeastern coast of North Carolina. My wife and I share the house (and maybe the bed, couch, and anything else comfortable) with our two rescue dogs, Cooper and Marley.


Spring time hound dog.

A younger Marley dog in our backyard.

Let me tell you a little more about Cooper first. Cooper is a Lemon Walker Hound. He was super shy and scared at the adoption fairs because his previous owner abused him. He would sit all the way back in his cage. No one wanted to adopt such a shy dog; things were getting urgent, so a friend of ours started fostering him. Once we meet him, we fell in love with the little guy.


Cooper in his happy place.

Cooper enjoys nothing better than a lazy Sunday snuggling with his mommy.

Hamming it up for the camera.

It took a long time for him to warm up to me because he did not trust men. My wife, Maria, hit it off with Cooper from day one, however. Cooper is always at Maria’s side, wagging his tail or sleeping on her lap. I think he sees hearts when he looks at her. Fast forward a few years, and he also loves hanging out with me now. It took some time, but we finally bonded. It may have something to do with the bacon and daily belly rubs.


Hanging out on sand bar is always a fun way to spend the weekend.

Low winter sun. Cooper loves lying in the sun.

Cooper’s favorite spot is on the couch looking out the window.

Marley’s adoption paperwork says she is a Chocolate Lab, but a better definition may be Chocolate Lab/American Pit Bull Terrier mix. She was adopted from the Humane Society. She arrived there from a family who said she pulled too hard on the leash. As soon as I saw her photo online, I rushed down there to meet her. I was looking for a playmate to bring our shy Cooper out of his shell.


You say “cookie”? I heard “cookie.”

The lab in her loves chasing a ball.

I’m glad we went for the king size bed.

She was a little over a year old, not a puppy, but just as cute. After meeting her and falling in love with her temperament, I went home and got Cooper. A few hours later, I brought him down there to see if they would get along. These two hit it off so well I couldn’t stop smiling. I have a video of their first meeting on my phone, and I like to watch it from time to time. It never gets old.
If you’re thinking of buying a dog, please stop by your local shelter first. The need is great. Cooper and Marley got their second chance, but so many others are waiting on theirs.


Play ball!

A young Marley looking out the window.

Marley is always ready to play. Never ending energy.

Kenny Onufrock is a photographer who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. Check out more of his work on his website.

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