The Hardest Session
Early in 2019, I promoted pet charity sessions with 100% of the proceeds going to the kitten rescue I work with. It was one of the most rewarding projects I've ever done, both because I was helping in the best way I know how, but also because I made so many new friends. Those friends included at least 42 dogs, 27 cats, 3 chickens, 3 rabbits, a donkey, a couple cows, some horses and 1 snake. And a few humans as well. I think any time I'm welcomed into someone's living space, there's a different kind of connection that happens with my work. And with my heart.
One of my favorite things about these sessions is that all different ages participated, but my favorite FAVORITE thing was that several of my teenage friends saved their own money to donate to my cause in order to have their fur baby photographed. That's how I met Sadie.
Of all the animals I met, Sadie actually liked me the very least. She was 13 years old, her vision wasn't good, her hearing not ideal, and as a result, I was scary to her. The day we did her session was raining, so we had to shoot inside, which I think added to her fear because I was in her space. I was able to get some beautiful images of her regardless, and I'm so thankful for that. Her family was the sweetest and they were so grateful to have her portraits made.
Fast forward to the beginning of September, and I received an emotional message from her family saying that Sadie would be crossing the Rainbow Bridge due to increasing health issues, including the loss of the use of her back legs. My heart broke for my new friends and I said, of course, that I would come capture her one last time for them.
I debated about sharing this, but I am for a few reasons. 1) It was an honor to be there, and the way this family loved Sadie is what all pets should experience. 2) I firmly believe that all dogs go to heaven. Period. 3) I think the hardest parts of life are just as or more important than the pretty parts, though I do think these images are beautiful because they show so much love. If you contact me about a session like this, I will try my very best to show up for you. I will hug you. And I will cry all the way home, and off and on while editing your images. This is not a 'take your money' kind of session. This is me, being sad with you about the loss of your beloved pet.
Sadie's family did it right. Sadie enjoyed snuggles with all of them and she shared an ice cream/animal cracker/ bacon cake with her best dog friends. I loved that. She was peaceful and loved beyond measure..
No matter how long we love a dog, it's just never long enough.
Happy trails, Sadie.