“This is a city that always has something going on; where people are always up for doing something, and if it’s above fourty degrees outside everyone is out and about. People here in Milwaukee love their city and they are so proud of it.”
Jen O’Hara has cornered the market when it comes to dogs on instagram in the Milwaukee area. She is the (human) face behind Dogs of MKE. You wouldn’t know it, but she’s a Milwaukee transplant and actually is quite honest about the fact that she wasn’t that fond of it when she arrived nine years ago. It wasn’t until she received a push from a friend to create a Milwaukee bucket list that she decided to see what all the talk was about. Since then, the narrative has flipped and now she raves about it just like the rest of us. She spends most of her time in the Third Ward and Walker’s Point neighborhoods hanging at Hotel Madrid and Movida. She also loves Harbor House, and with that view, who wouldn’t!
Jen has documented her life as long as she can remember and even her friends count on her to document theirs. In 2015, she was gifted a new camera to handle social media for her employer The Barre Code. Like many of us, Jen wasn’t sure how to use it to get the effect she wanted. After an introductory class, googling camera settings, and many photos of items around her apartment…Jen needed new subjects.
With that, Dogs of MKE was born. She started with six clients who were either friends or dog walking clients. It was just for fun and as a way to practice her photography. Her second photo ever posted was re-posted by Dear MKE and she realized that it wasn’t only her mom and sister following her anymore. It quickly escalated, and now she is contacted by clients all over the Milwaukee area to photograph their furry friends.
Along with getting to meet new canine companions, Jen has gotten to know Milwaukee through her sessions. It’s most important to her that the dog Moms & Dads choose a location that is meaningful to them. Whether it’s the bar or restaurant they met their significant other in, their neighborhood, or a business they own. She doesn’t charge for the session or to be on her instagram because it is her passion project. She does ask for a nominal fee if you’d like digital rights to the photos or prints, which I think is completely fair.
Jen is working a website that she hopes to launch soon with more information on what she offers and maybe a glimpse behind the scenes. In the meantime, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss having your best friend featured.
A special thank you to Editor-in- Chief Ciara Beckers for always keeping my grammar in check.