This weekend I had the opportunity to work with two clients. The first is a breeder and asked me to photograph two of her adults along with their six puppies. I’d never met a Silken Windhound before, much less eight of them but let me tell you, if these eight were a good representation, they are delightful dogs. It was a hectic, busy hour but it was a lot of fun. The next day I met a six year old dog that isn’t expected to be with her family for more than another week before the her sarcoma burden brings her family to give her one last act of love. The two sessions back to back really underscored to me what it means to love a dog.
As you may or may not know, I am the person and photographer that I am today because of Little Bit. She is the first dog that Robin and I adopted from the humane society and she was about six months old when we brought her home. She taught us what it is to be responsible dog owners and when she was diagnosed with lymphoma, she taught us a lot about compassion and dignity. I might have been an animal photographer anyway, but documenting her journey as I was just beginning to learn photography undoubtedly made a huge impact on me. When it came time to develop a portfolio to submit with my graduate school application, my course had been determined and I’ve been working with humane society and rescue animals ever since.
So while none of the dogs I photographed this weekend had even a passing resemblance to Little Bit, I couldn’t help but think about her as I was interacting with these nine dogs and their owners. And it was very good that I was able to balance the joy of puppyhood with the sorrow of knowing that I was helping a family capture what life is left in their beloved dog. After all, life is all about balance.
I thank both families for sharing a little bit of their lives with me and I wish them well. And for Storm’s family, they will be in my thoughts and I hope that they can find peace in their loss knowing that they made the best possible decisions for her health and comfort.