Me And My Dog: How His Pet Makes Joe ‘The Happy Snapper’

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In a new series, we look at people and their relationship with their precious pooches. First up is well-known Tralee photographer Joe Hanley with his best friend ‘Snapper’…

Joe Hanley with his beloved Snapper at his house in St Brendan’s Park.

FROM the moment I approach ‘The Happy Snapper’s’ house in St Brendan’s Park, it’s clear the big black dog approaching has its owner’s back.

Snapper lets out a few friendly barks as he sniffs around me, wagging his tail enthusiastically, until Joe comes out to greet me.

Snapper has become a familiar face to many over the years when accompanying Joe on his travels around Tralee, whether it’s taking photos for newspapers or private jobs for clients.

Continued below…


Entering Joe’s house in St Brendan’s Park, it’s clear this is Snapper’s world and Joe’s only living in it.

Photos of Snapper adorn the walls, along with rosettes won at dog shows, trophies and even calendars with Snapper’s image from January to December.

Joe with some of the rosettes won by Snapper at dog shows along with a montage of photos of his pet.

It’s testament to the love Joe has for the seven-year old crossbreed he picked out in 2014, a time he felt appropriate to get a dog.

“I was living alone with plenty space so I needed some company. I got him from Betty O’Mahony in Fenit on May 28, 2014,” said Joe. “He was only four months old at the time. Betty had the five pups lined up and he was the only one who didn’t bite me, so I said I’d take him!” laughed Joe.

“He’s got those cocker spaniel ears and a bit of a collie look about him, but I was also told he’s a bit like a greyhound around the nose. When he was getting microchipped at Petmania, the assistant suggested I call him Snapper so it stuck,” he said.

While there was a family dog when Joe was growing up in Kerins Park, Snapper is Joe’s first dog and the initial few months were a bit of a learning curve.

“He was a rogue when he was young. I remember I had a lovely pair of expensive shoes I wore to the Rose Ball and when I woke up the following day they were at the bottom of the bed in bits!”

As anyone who owns a dog knows, they need their walks and Snapper certainly likes his.

“He needs about three walks a day. I used to feed him mackerel with nuts when he was smaller, but now it’s just nuts. Although, if I have a roast dinner in the evening he’ll get half of that!” said Joe.

The past year and a half have been very difficult for Joe as he suffered a series of health setbacks. He has had heart problems and last year was diagnosed with cancer which required a series of treatments, so he was unable to take care of Snapper.

Snapper when he won best dog of the Blennerville Dog show 2018

“When I was sick with the cancer and heart problems I was really down and out and I didn’t have Snapper with me. I didn’t see him for eight months because I couldn’t take care of him and that was hard.”

“But my consultant in Cork suggested I get Snapper back and start walking him and that got me out of my shell. He was very excited seeing me after all that time, jumping up on top of me. Snapper gives me a lift and gets me out of the house,” said Joe, who is now on the mend and back taking photos.

A proud dog owner, Joe takes Snapper for regular grooming. It shows too in his coat and after his a successful prize-winning debut at the Rose of Tralee Dog Show in 2014, he has since taken numerous accolades at dog shows around the town and county.

Joe Hanley and ‘Snapper’ at the Dog Show at the races in Ballybeggan back in 2017. Photo by Dermot Crean

So what would Joe say to anyone thinking of getting a dog?

“Give it a chance, but don’t hold onto him if you can’t walk him or give him your time. They are a big commitment. He’s a friend for life and he’s always there for you. He’s the best thing I ever got.”

• Joe wanted to say thanks to Maeve Morrisson and her family in Kerins Park for all their support during his ill-health and to Betty O’Mahony in Fenit for taking care of Snapper while he recovered.


  1. Lovely article.

  2. joe hanley says:

    DERMOT Thank U for the story The Happy Snapper Joe

  3. Martina Cato says:

    Lovely article and I wish you and snapper the best and also the people who supported you .