Those who follow me on twitter and facebook know I had a very sad experience not too long ago. A beautiful Great Pyranees I had on the calender died 4 days before our shoot. In 6.5 years I have never had that happen, and said that it *would* never happen to me, and let me tell you, if you are a photographer, and your subject dies mere days before your shoot, it is devastating. I can think of few photographers who go through this, but sadly it is part of a pet photographer’s job.
My heart was broken for her parents, who had been helping her battle cancer for months. My understanding was that she was doing well, and that we had time, which was a mistake I even teach people not to make. That I wasn’t practicing what I preach just filled me with guilt and regret. I spent the day in bed crying.
But I had hope that there would be a silver lining to the story, and offered to design a piece of Decopaw art befitting Ellie’s joy and love of life. We used one of their shots of her laying on the garage floor, in her typical greeting to her family- laying on her back, belly exposed, smile on her face, tail wagging madly, waiting to get pets from the kids. Her mom wanted an art piece that looked like Ellie was out in a meadow of flowers on a pretty sunny day, without a care in the world. We both pictured butterflies flitting about and using all happy colors. I personally wanted to design a piece that would bring them happiness when they looked at it, thinking of the wonderful fun memories with their beloved pooch. I just finished the revision on her piece and I really really hope I did this sweet girl justice. Rest in peace sweet Ellie girl, you will be loved and cherished forever.
If you have a dog or a cat or another animal family member that you love, and have yet to have any professional photographs taken of him/her, please please don’t delay. Pet’s lives are so short, and more often than not, unpredictable. There are no guarantees as to how long they will live. 2 year old mixed breeds die of cancer, 6 year olds die of bloat, dogs and cats get hit by cars, some contract mysterious illnesses and expire in days; many things can happen and that’s an unfortunate reality.
I URGE you to hire a professional, or find a friend or family member that dabbles in photography and owns a DSLR, or even contact your local art/photography school to volunteer your pet to be photographed by a student, and *do a shoot*. If you can’t afford to pay, think of what you can trade. There is no time like the present, and you never get the opportunity again once the animal passes. In the long term, those photographs will be more meaningful to you than you could possibly imagine right now. Please, get the pictures taken. If for no other reason, do it for me. Thank you. 🙂