When Ashley approached me for a photo session for her dog, I was incredibly delighted; I love dog photography. However, her dog Caroline was dying of cancer and this was the ultimate reason that she wanted photos of her. My heart immediately felt heavy, but I knew that I had to do this shoot. Being a dog person my entire life, I know the pain that comes with having a dog as your companion: their lives are fleeting.
The shoot was beautiful. We went to the Martinez Marina where I met Ashley, Everett (Ashley’s boyfriend), and the sweet Caroline. Caroline is walking around with Ashley on the lawn sniffing at everything and walking at a slow pace. Her whiskers around her mouth and nose are gray with age and her eyes are filled with gentle light. She walks up to me as I squat down to give her a nice scratch behind the ears.
We begin the session slowly, letting everyone adjust to having photos taken at this difficult time. Eventually, Ashley pulls out a purple feather boa and a plastic pearl necklace. It’s so adorable that I can hardly handle it. Caroline lays down and is as happy as can be, laying her head in the grass and grabbing at the purple rose that Ashley had laid down beside her. And she shows me her toothy grin (I swear to you Caroline smiled with her actual teeth, like a human.). My heart is melted. Ashley and call this photo “teefers” because of her signature toothy grin.
The shoot was lovely, and sadly, Caroline passed away a few weeks after our shoot took place. Enjoy these photos of one of the sweetest, most beautiful pups I’ve ever met.
Sometimes, as a photographer, the circumstance of our work isn’t necessarily always joyous, sometimes it’s sad. But it’s always worth it.
If my work brings joy to someone who is grieving and can capture the life of a loved one, then I will never say no. Photography is about having heart and telling stories that no one else can tell.
Rest in peace, sweet girl. I know you are loved, missed, and your life is celebrated.
Enjoy some of my favorite shots from the shoot below.