These sessions are some of the worst... yet some of the best sessions I have the privilege to do. I love them, and I hate them. Having the opportunity to capture so much love and emotion is the epitome of why I do what I do, but my heart aches during the session, and even more when I am editing.
This morning I went to the Goldberg's home to capture images with their dog Kodee to celebrate her 13 years of love, happiness, and devotion. When they let her out, she still wanted to smell the new smells of the day, and wander through the wilderness of the backyard. You could see her many years wearing on her body, but she was still so full of joy and love for her family. Boy, did they love her too. She got many hugs and kisses, head pats and butt scratches, and SO many treats. She even got the celebration of life parade from her little sisters (complete with bubbles). You could see it on her face, she knew it was a special day to celebrate her, and she was soaking it up.
Dogs are truly incredible beings. I think they can sense that their time is coming, but they don't fear it like we do. In fact, they embrace it. They always live every single day to the fullest, from the day they are born until they cross the rainbow bridge. They chase the ball, even when it hurts. They get in your lap for love and cuddles, even when their bones ache. They walk by your side through any pain and don't show it, because walking by your side is the greatest joy in their life. Getting to do life with you is everything.
Even as you are saying goodbye, they comfort you (which is so backwards, but also so representative of a dog's love). They lay their head on your lap to say "it's going to be ok", because all they want is for you to be happy, even as they close their eyes for the last time. They are selfless and loving and devoted until the very last breath. And as a pet parent, our job is to be there to hold them when they do. No matter how hard and painful it is for us. We must be just as devoted to them in this moment as they have been to us for all their years. To hold them and love them with our whole heart. To gently stroke their head and let our tears roll off our face and soak into their fur. And then, we must learn something from their presence in our life. We must learn to have the same devotion and love and selflessness, and to live each day to its fullest, just like they do.
Today I am sending prayer for comfort to the Goldberg family as they mourn the loss of this sweet girl.