I received an e-mail stating that Elsa the German Shepard was losing her battle with Lymphoma and needed to be photographed. Elsa’s health began to deteriorate further and last Friday I received an alarming phone call that her photo shoot scheduled that night needed to be cancelled. She was immobile and Elsa’s Mom and Dad were afraid this was it – they were going to take her to the vet and set her free of her pain. During these painful and raw moments I witness, I am probably at my strongest. I push aside all sadness and keep fighting to preserve the memories of a cherished loved one. I asked Elsa’s Mom to please let me know if I could just come to their home (versus the original park location we planned) and visit her and see how she did in the comfort of her own surroundings. I encouraged her to keep an open mind and not cancel just yet. I dropped everything, went to her home and was greeted by a mobile, loving and happy furry girl who became my new best friend when she discovered I had treats in a pouch tied to my belt. She was an absolute joy. She was one of my best behaved models. I know it might sound odd to some people, but I truly believe the dogs I meet understand why I am there. I am positive they feel I am giving their human parents a gift and to help them cope with their loss. Her photo shoot went flawless. I captured Elsa inside on the cozy sofa and then moved outside where the evening light was so beautiful – sent from the Lord to glow upon her.
The next morning, I saw the news on Facebook – Elsa had crossed over the rainbow bridge and lost her battle with Lymphoma. The very next morning after her photo shoot. When I was photographing her – she did not appear ill. You would have never known it was her last day. It gives me chills because I know this is my calling. I can feel it deep in my heart that I was meant to be a strong and persistent person with a deep desire to preserve pet’s memories as a gift to their human parents, especially in those darkest moments when they need someone softly guiding them through the pain.
If you have a senior pet or a pet that has been diagnosed with a terminal illness – please consider having them professionally photographed. Visit my website www.petsgoingwithgrace.com where you will find memorials to all the dogs who have passed that I have photographed, in addition to some comforting and peaceful information for those grieving the loss of a pet.
Here are a few of my favorite’s from Elsa’s session. Until we meet again, sweet girl – I know you are having a blast over the rainbow bridge with all our furry companions who have also had to say goodbye.
I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said “it’s me.”
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew
… in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over… smile and watch you yawning
and say “goodnight, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out…then come home to be with me.