Our session was scheduled to take place on Friday, June 24th at 6pm. The weather forecast said it was going to be a beautiful day.
The evening before our session, I was outside doing some gardening, when I received an emotional voicemail from Baby’s mom saying that they would need to cancel their session. Baby had taken a turn for the worse, and it looked like she would be crossing over the Rainbow Bridge that very next day.
Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very well that night. Baby had been diagnosed with a herniated disc and had been using a wheelchair for some time to help her get around. Her condition had been steadily decreasing when I was first contacted in the beginning of June to set up a session for her. I knew that this would be an end-of-life type of session, but as an outsider, you never really know how the situation is exactly.
I tossed and turned. This reminded me of another situation that had happened last year. Another woman had contacted me about photographing her dog who was terminally ill but wanted to wait until the dog had “perked up” on her medication, to better capture her personality. We waited and waited. Waited until it was too late.
I don’t know whose regret was greater. Hers for not getting professional photo backdrops of her furbae sooner when she was healthy and happy, or me, for not being more firm on that it’s better to have this type of session sooner rather than later. Given that these types of situations are so emotional, I really try to be as sensitive and as accommodating as possible.
One of the most rewarding things about doing pet photography, is being able to give someone something that captures their pet’s personality, a moment with them, that you can remember forever, long after they have passed on. If there’s no reaction or feeling when looking at an image, you’re doing it all wrong.
With the previous situation still fresh in mind, I decided to propose the crazy idea of doing the session the same day before Baby went, if they were up for it. If I had to take a loss on it, so be it. I’d rather know that I had given my all, and gotten at least some photos (even though I didn’t know how they would turn out), rather than regretting (once again) due to not getting photos while we could, on either side, because I had tried.
The lighting wasn’t ideal. The sun was strong and contrasty when we met early afternoon. All of the ideas that we had discussed during our consult about capturing Baby doing all of her favorite things: swimming in the pool, walking in her red booties, hanging out in front of the house, and going to the park, were all thrown out the window given the situation. We made the best of it, and thankfully, despite everything, Baby still had enough spunk to smell out and devour all of my delicious treats while modeling it up for the camera.
Thank you Caroline and Gavin. I hope these images of Baby bring you a bit of comfort. Baby–may you be happily peeing on everyone’s shoes somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge. <3