There are few things more satisfying as a pet photographer than watching devoted owners pay tribute to their beloved pets through a photography session. Not just because it’s my job but because they are deciding to place honor on their pet’s memory.
Any age is appropriate to honor a pet. 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 why my husband and I chose the greyhound breed when we welcomed home our first dog.
Houdini is terrific. His human parents think so. We think so. Our greyhound Laura believes so. That’s because he’s one of the most outgoing greyhounds we’ve ever known.
Even more so because he’s nearly blind, 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.
They made a decision most of us would have had a hard time with. Based on their excellent vets’ advice, they decided to give him a fighting chance by trying chemo for a while to see if they could stave off 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, 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. Gary, Steph, and Houdini all love the ocean. We walked, talked, and created some fantastic images.
Then, we headed to Willard Beach in Portland. Willard Beach is well-known among dog owners. During the off-season, they allow dogs 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. Then, we finished it off with some fantastic photographs.
This was all during his chemo treatments. He was a trooper. Gary and Steph were troopers. It’s the images that make all of the cool weather sacrifice worthwhile.
The images from their session are lasting reminders of what a fantastic dog Houdini was. They showcase 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 illness. Each session creates a unique, heartwarming document to pay tribute to them.
If you love your pet and are going through a tough time, either because of age or illness, don’t put off creating tribute photographs of you and them. 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.