Why pet photography?

For my first blog, I thought I’d talk about “why pet photography?”

Well lets start with, I love animals, if I was to list the favourites equal first would be dogs, highland cows and elephants. Yes, I know you can’t keep an elephant as a pet, but they are awesome. Highland cows? Yes, they can be pets, and if I ever realise my dream of moving to the highlands or the Isle of Skye, I’ll be making sure that there’s enough room for a couple of those to roam around. So that leaves the last one of that trio, the dogs. I really am a dog person, when I’m out for walks I have to stop and say hello to the dogs I encounter, who cares if I end up with muddy paw prints. That’s just them leaving their mark, just like the way our pet dogs do with their paw prints on our hearts.

My first dog was a family pet, I was about 6 at the time. He was an unknown mix called Silver and was a puppy from a litter a neighbour’s dog had. Sadly, he was a totally destructive little thing chewing everything in sight, skirting boards, telephone cables he’d eat it. My parents took the decision to have him rehomed, for his benefit more than ours, he needed someone better equipped to look after him.

11 years later

It wasn’t till about 11 years later I decided I wanted to have another dog. I was still living at home so had to talk my parents around to letting me buy one. Finally, they said yes, my dad was reluctant, but I think my insistence and research swung it. I was getting a Labrador, a kennel close had a litter so I went along to see them. Going into the shed that they were in I was met with an excitable gang of yellow fur balls, how do you choose a puppy from all that was my first thought. But it was easily sorted, because he chose me. This little fur ball came over and basically tried to climb up my arm. That was it, he was going to be mine, though I actually do believe it was the other way round. He honestly decided I was going to be his human. That was the moment Jack came into the family.

He was the cutest little pup, this photo of him on the video cabinet was because he felt he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved to had to be where everyone was looking. To be fair he did deserve all the attention.

We became best buds. When he was first at his new home I spent many a night downstairs lying by his safe area while he went to sleep so that he knew he wasn’t being left alone. I used to head off to Southend a few nights a week, he’d call shotgun in my car as we went for drives (always wearing his seatbelt) and that passenger seat was his.

He didn’t get the easiest start as he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia as a puppy and had to undergo some heavy-duty operations to get him sorted. But it never held him back. Proper little trooper. He also had a knee problem, it would basically dislocate, until he had another op to sort that. But when out on walks and it popped out, he found he could turn a lot quicker as he could lower his centre of gravity on that side. Nothing stopped him.

Walks and talks

I held up my end of the bargain and we had walks every morning before work, having to keep him clear of the river as being the typical Lab he loved the water. After work there were more walks. He would happily wander along and listen to my moans about work and the likes, as long as he got to have a run and chase a ball he would be there to listen to me, seemed like a great deal to me. He was just the best dog, loved his cuddles and wrestles but was always gentle with his mouth, the only time he ever bit was as a puppy and teething. And damn was he happy to see you when you got home, the feeling was mutual. It really is the best feeling to be welcomed home the way he did.

As time went on, I’d get up to walk him and dad would’ve already taken him, my dad had really taken to Jack. In fact, it was dad who got him hooked on a cup (bowl) of tea, after Sunday dinner Jack would patiently wait for my dad to get up and make the tea and coffee. As soon as dad moved Jack was by his bowl waiting for that drink. He never got fed scraps from the table (he did).

Dad really doted on him and I was and always will be grateful for the help to pay for his operations as we couldn’t get insurance due to the history. The time came for me to move out, and I made the most difficult choice I had ever had to make to date, the hardest one was still to come. Dad had retired, mum didn’t work so Jack always had someone around during the day and was only left on his own for a couple of hours at a time. When I moved out, he’d be in a new place after about 8 years of being in his home and he’d be left alone during the day. I knew that wasn’t going to be the best thing for him, and I also knew how much he was loved by my parents so I asked them if they would mind looking after him for me. I could see how happy that made my dad, and I was going to be seeing the little guy a lot anyway.

The worst day

When the time finally came say the final goodbye it was the hardest thing to do, to have to say that he’d had his time and we have to let him go was heartbreaking. He definitely left his pawprints on my heart, I often think about him. I can only hope he knew how much he was loved by me and everyone else in the family.

These are just a few of the hundreds, thousands of memories I have of him. Sadly, I only have a few photos of him, mostly snapshots taken in the garden. I have one of my favourite photos on the wall beside my bed and carry a little photo (the one shown above) in my wallet and have it on my phone. One thing I really wish I had, was more photos to go with the memories. Not the sort that you keep in an album, the sort you proudly hang on your wall for everyone to see.

So that’s my answer to “why pet photography?”. Because the one thing I wish I had, was more photos of my jack, I want to give other pet owners the chance to have lovely photos to go with their memories. I also get to meet all the fur babies, if I come away covered in muddy pawprints and slobber… then that’s a good “day in the office” for me.