I’ve photographed plenty of old dogs in my many years as a pet photographer, but Perrin was the first dog I’d been booked to photograph who was days away from being given his wings. He was old and had arthritis and it had become impossible to manage his pain. His quality of life was diminishing so his family made the toughest, but kindest, decision any pet owner will ever have to make.
Between several days (maybe even weeks) of rain there was a brief gap when the sun came out and as fate would have it it was the only day that we could have done Perrin’s session. Knowing he’d probably be tired by the end of it I arranged to meet and park at the last location, which meant we had a slight walk to get to the first one. He seemed ok with it all, but when we arrived at the spot he was spent and just wanted to lie down … until he realised there was food involved in this whole process and he found he was actually able to sit up after all!
I didn’t know if action shots were going to be on the cards, but I was told that tennis balls were Perrin’s favourite toy so I brought one along for him to have, even if we didn’t get to use it at the shoot. His eyes lit up when he saw it and he mustered up enough strength to fetch it a few times before deciding it was his and no one was allowed to take it from him. I certainly wasn’t going to argue.
Who’s the boss?
Perrin was Mario’s 16th birthday present and they were best mates for 12 lovely years. I can only imagine the trouble they got into together!
Mario’s mother had a photo with Perrin too, just as the sun started to set and the light was perfectly golden.
I’ve done photos on this little bridge before and wanted to take a few last shots here before wrapping up.
Perrin had become quite audibly over it so I just took a handful of pictures before calling it a day. When I got back to my desk and downloaded the card and found this was the very last image I took, I smiled to myself – he really did save the best for last. (This image will be at the centre of Mario’s wall collection. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page for a photo of the finished products which should be arriving back from the lab this week some time.)
Mario said goodbye to Perrin just two days later. I’m so honoured that I was chosen to capture these memories for his family, I know how much they’ll mean to them in years to come.
“If you don’t think photos are important, wait until they are all you have left.” – Missy Mwac