Today validated why I love what I do.
When I met Jenn and her family, one of the first things she said to me was "Its been a bit of an emotional morning, because Nova is wearing my old boxer Zoey's collar". At that point I knew the significance of honoring Zoey in today's shoot. The truth is, 4 years ago I suffered that same loss of my beloved Axel after 12 years with our family. It was hard, and to say I struggled is an understatement. I was depressed, I cried myself to sleep an embarassing amount of times, and feel like I lost a piece of my life that was irreplaceable. I wanted a piece of today to be about Zoey, and secretly I think Jenn and her family did too. We started by taking pictures of the family as a whole then branched off in to photos with each member with Nova, their beautiful 1 year old pup. When it came to Jenn's turn, I asked her to take the collar off so I could take some pictures of it to honor Zoey. As she unbuckled the blush pink collar off of Nova's neck, I felt my heart racing as the tears began to build. At this point Jen was crying and I was doing my best to not go in to a full blown "ugly cry" as I lightly placed the collar on a nearby stump. We laughed, we cried and I took pictures of this beautiful token of memories that once hugged the neck of a well-loved Zoey. As a final memorium for Zoey, I asked Jenn to place the collar on Nova once again. Needless to say, I'm surprised I was able to see what I was capturing through my tears. It was such a raw moment, and I feel truly honored to have been a part of it.
When our beloved fur babies part with us, they leave an everlasting hole where their paw prints once were. When they are gone, we keep their collars in hopes one day they may return to us, and things will go back to the way they used to be. Its hard, and it always will be. Just the jingle of the tags on their collar is enough to fill your eyes with tears, and send a deep, painful throb in to your heart.
If you have a dog, please hug them tonight. Tell them you love them, kiss them goodnight. Make sure they know how much they mean to you because tomorrow could be the day you have to say goodbye. Don't push them aside because you don't "feel" like snuggling, or you're "too busy" for them. Don't take them for granted, because before you know it, they're gone. They may be only a part of your life, but you are their whole life, so make sure they know how much you care.
And when the day comes to say goodbye,