Paying Tribute to Our Pets

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There are few things more satisfying as a pet photographer than watching devoted owners honor their beloved pets through a photography session. Not just because it’s my job but because they are making a decision to place honor on their pet’s memory.

And any age is really appropriate to honor a pet. But it becomes even more imperative as they age or are diagnosed with a disease.

That’s what my friends did for their greyhound, Houdini.

Houdini is the reason my husband and I chose the greyhound breed when we welcomed home our first dog.

And Houdini is amazing. His human parents think so. We think so. Our greyhound Laura thinks so.

That’s because he’s one of the most outgoing greyhounds we’ve ever known. And even more so because he’s nearly blind.

But Gary and Steph were dealt an even crueler blow when they found out that a problem they chalked up to crystals in urine turned out to be cancer.

Cancer sucks.

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So they made a decision most of us would have had a hard time with. They decided, based on the advice of their amazing vets, to give him a fighting chance and try chemo for a while to see if they could stave off the cancer.

In the midst of this, we discussed ways to honor Houdini. Then I offered them a session that I hope to do many more of: The Tribute session.

In March, we spent a chilly afternoon going to some of Houdini’s favorite places. We headed to Portland Head Light first since Gary, Steph and Houdini all love the ocean. We walked, we talked and we created some amazing images. Then we headed to Willard Beach in Portland. Willard Beach is well known among dog owners and during the off-season dogs are allowed on the beach any time of the day. This beach is one of Houdini’s favorites. What a joy it was to watch him frolic (yeah, greyhounds do that!) on the beach, to walk with mom and dad and then finish it off with some amazing photographs.

And this was all during his chemo treatments. He was a trooper. Gary and Steph were troopers.

But it’s the images that make all of that cool weather sacrifice worthwhile.

The images from their session will be lasting reminders of what an amazing dog Houdini is. And they showcase just how much love his people have for him.

I’ve done other sessions with pet owners who knew time was waning for their pet either from old age or from illness. Each session creates a unique and heartwarming document.

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If you love your pet and are going through a tough time either because of age or because of illness, don’t put off creating photographs of your pet and you. Because when they’re gone, there’s no re-do. There’s no rewind.

You are worth it. Your pet is worth it.

Because every pet has a story; Let me help tell it.