Recently a friend of mine lost her beloved Labrador Shadow. She was like many Labradors, beautiful, loyal, affectionate and above all adorable. She was very fortunate to have found the perfect family and so spent her entire life surrounded by love, safety and a multitude of treats.
I was devastated for her, I know too well the feeling of losing a beloved pet, I said goodbye to my two labradors a couple of years ago before I got Rustie. They died within months of each other. The sadness was raw and unwavering for what seemed like years. Shadow was a big part of my life too, she would come on walks with my dogs and she even stayed with me when her family went away.
It got me thinking about the other dogs I have photographed that have now passed away and I feel so fortunate to have been able to capture those special moments for their guardians. The wonderful thing about photography, is its unique ability to freeze moments in time, preserving the essence of our pets forever. They may not be able to be physically with us any more, but being able to look through an album, hold an acrylic block or admire a piece of artwork on the wall of our furry companions…becomes priceless when they are no longer with us.
Here are some of the beautiful souls that I captured before it was time for them to go.
Shadow in happy, healthier times
“Losing Shadow has been incredibly tough, but I am so grateful to Emma for the beautiful photos she captured of her. The attention to detail and genuine care truly shines through in each image. These pictures have become a source of great comfort and keep Shadow’s memory alive. Thank you Emma.” Kylie Winney July 2023
Obi – a sweet cavador. When he was alive he promoted himself to home security guard and took is second job as a food connoisseur very seriously. He loved walks and food, especially together, but hated bathrooms.
Obi was such a sweet dog. He was so welcoming when I came to photograph him, probably because of the chicken in my pocket. His owner was so nervous of him not being able to behave for the camera, but I just let him be himself, and we managed to capture his best side…I mean, look at those eyes!
Billy – Found in a box on the side of a road as a puppy was lucky enough to find his forever home and lived until he was 10.
Billy was such a beautiful soul. I knew him his whole life. I have never known a dog so dedicated to art of ball play. He had a few rough incidents in his life, including almost choking to death when a stick got caught in his mouth, getting attacked by another dog and some other health issues, but it never got him down. He was always happy as long as he had his family and his toy. He found a soul mate in his mum Sally who adored him from day one of taking him home. I always remember how she had planned to get a boxer called Diablo until she saw an advertisment in the paper about some puppies that had been found in a box. It was all over after that, Billy had found his forever home.
Dusty the cattle dog – passed away recently a much loved pooch. She loved butt scratches, hated feathers but could not control her excitement when it was time to put her harness on.
I didn’t know Dusty all that well, but she was a delight to photograph. She sat so still for her pictures, it’s like she knew what to do by instinct. She was such a good girl and a great model for the book.
Douggie the Labrador
Douggie landed on his feet when he was adopted by veterinary nurse Natalie. His days were numbered as he awaited a forever home to be found. When she took him in he was incredibly overweight and had lived his life in a tiny courtyard devoid of mental stimulation or exercise. He became the surgery mascot and soon lost the weight but won the hearts of both staff and clients alike. Douggie passed away at the ripe old age of 13. He is a shining example of how all dogs deserve a good home, and how adopting an older dog can give them a new lease on life.
An unwavering message from pet guardians after their dog crosses over the rainbow bridge, is that they are so grateful for the images they have left to look at. They may no longer be present in a physical sense, but having artwork to look at or touch, has been a great source of comfort to pet owners as they deal with their terrible losses. I know, I’ve been through it myself. I have images of my lost labradors sitting over my desk as I edit all the portraits I have taken over the years. It’s the greatest gift I can give to someone, a beautiful piece of art that commemorates the life of a furry companion.
My best piece of advice to pet owners, is not to leave it too late. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get pictures while your dog is still in good form. You want to remember them when they are healthy, not while they are dealing with the struggles of old age.
Thinking about getting a photography session with Rustie and co?