Sandy's original photo is on the left. As you can see, it required a bit of work. I was interested in Ashley but there was nothing else in the picture that I wanted to keep, so I knocked out the background. Then Sandy's knee had to be removed from the photo and the torso had to be "rebuilt" where Sandy's knee had been. I also removed Ashley's left rear leg, just to simplify things.
The next problem was the nose. The original nose was dirty and out of focus. I needed a new nose so I pulled out my digital camera and pointed it at Merlin who immediately thrust his face into the lens. I snapped. Voila! I had a new nose to work with. The nose required some color correction and several layers of detail to make it "sit" properly on Ashley's face.
When I was satisfied with the new nose, I started in on the background. I tried several different backgrounds before settling on the one you see here. I used a photo I'd recently taken of a house on Martha's Vineyard. When I placed the photo behind Ashley, it competed too much with the dog. Ashley blended right into the background. So I blurred the photo and lightened it just a little to push it back and make the dog stand out. I also blurred the Ashley's torso to make her head seem closer.
Almost finished! The last touch was to add new whiskers to replace the ones that had been erased. That accomplished, I collapsed the layers, reduced the overall file size, and converted the file to jpeg format.