I spent the last few days holding my boy while he made his way into the stars. Although unexpected, he went as he should have, warm in his bed with his family by his side. He took a piece of my heart with him, leaving me without words. But for him, I will try to be strong. I will do my best to remember his joyous life and everything he’s taught me instead of consuming my mind with sad thoughts. I will forever miss my buddy, my sweet pea, my Utah.
I complied a short video piece to celebrate his life and share who he was. This creative outlet also usually helps me attempt to get rid of some of the sad thoughts that consume my mind in these kind of situations. In doing this, I can reflect on what Utah’s purpose was, what he taught me, and why his life ended when and how it did.
At the age of 9, I feel his life was cut short. But, I wouldn’t have changed the way he passed. Two days before, we took him to the ER because he wasn’t acting like himself. He seemed lethargic…dragging his nails when he walked, laying in beds that he normally didn’t lay in, not caring to bark at the mailman…just not being Utah. So we didn’t hesitate for a minute before deciding to take him to the ER. After a quick examination, it was absolutely clear to the doctor that he had Hemangiosarcoma. This extremely common tumor found in dogs had developed on Utah’s spleen and ruptured. Once ruptured, internal bleeding occurs, and it’s pretty much a death sentence.
We were given the option to do invasive surgery to remove the spleen, attempt to remove the contaminated blood, and hope it doesn’t come back. But the odds of that succeeding are slim to none, and even then he’d likely only survive for another 3-6 months. Our other option was to let it take his life. We opted for the latter. With a window of 1-4 days, we decided it’d be best for Utah to go home so he can die comfortably with his family by his side.
He grew weaker by the hour, struggling with every little move. His eyes began to tell me that he knew what was happening to him (the image here is the last one I took of him, just hours before he passed).
We hunkered down for nearly 3 days, just trying to make sure he was comfortable. The lights were kept low, the Lavender oil was diffusing, the soothing sound of the rain creeped in through the window, the fireplace crackling, and “Planet Earth” playing softly on tv…it was as relaxed as it could be. We took our turns snuggling with him, knowing it would be our last time. And then, he went peacefully to sleep and let go.
The anticipation of knowing that your dog is going to die doesn’t make it any easier when it happens. I can say that I’m grateful we did know and that we were able to send him off peacefully. And that makes me happy for him. My heart aches when I think of all the things I love about him…his smile and the way his eyes got squinty when he smiled real big, his giant head that was way too big for his body when he was a pup, his soft fur, the way his ears flopped in the wind during car rides, the noises he made in his sleep, how he’s the only one in the house that never snored, the way he’d clench his butt cheeks when he knew I was going to pinch them, how much he loved his ball, how he could swim for hours, how excited he got about doing anything outside, and how he could always make me smile no matter what.
But, I need to be strong and choose to take what he’s given me and move forward. He’s taught me about being grateful, that things could be worse, to enjoy the little things in life, and that you shouldn’t take anyone you love for granted because you never know when their last day will come.
My buddy, Utah, is here to help list his top 10 reasons to hire a professional pet photographer.
All great reasons! Let’s break it down a bit…
- Gives you the opportunity to have a unique and enjoyable experience with your pet – What’s your favorite activity to do with your pet? Go to the beach? Your daily walk? Snuggling before bedtime? There’s so many joyous moments we experience as pet parents, and the reason they’re so great is because our pets are enjoying our company. If your pets are anything like my buddy, Utah, they don’t care what they’re doing as long as it’s with you. Can you imagine how much fun they’d have playing with a professional pet photographer while you encouraging them to “model” for the camera?! Once they know that I provide treats as payment for their hard work, they’ll be pursuing a professional modeling career before you know it!
- Provides you with meaningful and beautiful art to decorate your home – How does it make you feel when your pet does that one thing or gives that one look that makes you just want to squeeze them super tight and kiss them all over? Now imagine you can get that feeling every time you walk by the group of photos on your wall from the photography session you had together. Photographs are the ultimate way to evoke emotion. By displaying the images from your session on the walls of your home, you’re giving yourself countless opportunities to relive some of the best moments you’ve ever had with your pet.
- Gives you an excuse to show off how cute/awesome/smart your pet is – When I photograph a pet, it is my goal to capture what makes them unique and special. Is your pet a skilled athlete? Can they perform numerous tricks at your command? Have they mastered the kinked-head look? When you have professional images that show your pet’s greatest assets, it’s hard NOT to share with everyone you know! In fact, I LOVE when people share their pet photos SO much that I provide all my clients with a custom Mobile App that includes all the images from their session so they can easily share at the push of a button (learn more about that here).
- Requires mental and physical stimulation from your pet, helping them to feel relaxed and fulfilled – Pets are healthiest when they are mentally and physically active. A professional pet photography session is a unique and fun way to challenge and excite your pet. Being a new experience for most pets, they get introduced to new people, smells, commands, and noises, which promotes engagement and learning. And because I specialize in lifestyle portraits, your pet won’t be forced to sit and pose for 1.5 hours. We’ll be walking, playing, jumping, swimming, chasing, cuddling…Needless to say, they’ll most likely be ready for a nap when we’re done.
- Your pet won’t be around forever – it’s sad, but true. Pets lives just aren’t anywhere near as long as ours. So we need to really cherish the few years we have with them. The best thing you can do to preserve your pet’s memory is to hire a professional pet photographer who will provide you with images that you will appreciate and hold dear for many years to come. Book your session while your pet is young, healthy, and how you want to remember them, not when it’s clear they won’t be around much longer.
- You’ll never have buyer’s remorse – I believe that price is what you pay, value is what you get. It goes without saying that a pet’s love is priceless. So how do we put a price on pet photography? My sessions and products are priced in a way that allows me to provide my clients with a one-of-a-kind experience, premium service, and high quality goods.
- All the work is done for you – YOU and YOUR PET are my top priority during the entire session. From the Consultation to the Product Delivery/Installation, you are guided and taken care of every step of the way. The few things required by you have been made to be hassle-free and easy as possible. This is YOUR time to have some FUN with your pet!
- You can enjoy the entire experience in the comfort and convenience of your home – Every meeting that’s part of the session can take place in your home. In fact, it’s recommended for most of them. The purpose of the Consultation is to get to know each other and discuss the details of the session. What better place to get to know you and your pet than where you are your most comfortable selves? The Photo Shoot can be anywhere you’d like, but many clients choose to have it at their home as well. This allows your pet to be their true self because they’re in their natural, everyday environment. The Show-n-Shop appointment is most beneficial when done in your home. This allows me to accurately guide you on where and how to decorate your home with your images.
- It makes a great gift for yourself or others – You spoil your pet; now it’s time to spoil yourself. Treat yourself by indulging in this one-of-a-kind experience. Enjoy the luxury of custom art featuring your pet. Then pass it on to a fellow pet lover you know. A professional pet photography session is the most unique and appreciated gift for pet lovers like you (inquire about a gifting a session here).
- Because your pet is worth it – Let’s face it…you’d do just about anything for your pet. Book them a photo session, and they’ll be forever grateful 🙂
Do you agree with Utah’s top 10 reasons to hire a professional pet photographer? Like and share with fellow pet lovers you know!