A Final Trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake | Heritage Session™

A Final Trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake | Heritage Session™

When I first heard from Buddy’s mum it was with a mixture of excitement and sadness. Buddy came all the way from Pennsylvania for what would be his final trip to Canada – a dog bucket list of sorts. He was facing some serious health issues and his mum wanted to enjoy travelling with him one more time. Niagara-on-the-Lake was chosen as the backdrop for this special occasion.

Niagara on the Lake dog bucket list photography session

As you can see above, we took some portraits on what is arguably one of the prettiest streets in the Niagara region.

From there, we moved to enjoy a picnic in the park. Buddy put on his best tie and brought a blanket. They spent some quiet moments together reminiscing about what a great life he had led.

dog picnic in Niagara-on-the-Lake

He even brought his best friends to join in the fun!

a corgi pup and his stuffed animals

But a new park is a place to explore and sniff. Even have a little run. But, most of all, times like these are reasons to smile.

a running senior dog
smiling corgi dog

Buddy still loved to get his feet wet in the gentle surf, so we spent some time on the little beach.

dog photography session if the water
corgi dog playing in the water in Canada

All too soon it was time to go home. A short while later, I received a note from his mum saying that Buddy was gone. I cried. This beautiful boy who had brought so much joy to his family was no more.

I was even more touched when she ended her note with the following:

“Through all of this my mother and I have said many times we do not know what we would do without your photos.  After they were taken, he started to deteriorate rapidly.  He looks so wonderful, healthy, and happy in them and that is the way we hope to remember him.

 

Thank you for everything.”

Run free Buddy. Always.

For more information on Posh Pets Heritage™ Sessions, see below.

POSH PETS® HERITAGE SESSIONS

Celebrating the life, love and legacy of your pet.™

starting at

$400

  • High-priority sessions are reserved for pets that become ill or are simply elderly. We make every effort to schedule these on short notice.
  • An opportunity to take time out of your busy schedule to spend some quality time together, celebrate the life you have shared and create images you will treasure forever.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • More information can be found here.
Coping with the loss of a pet through photography.

Coping with the loss of a pet through photography.

Celebrating the life, love and legacy of your pet.™

There are probably few things worse than knowing you are running out of time, especially when it involves someone that you love dearly. Sadly, we are often caught by surprise when we are told that our pet is seriously ill. In a moment, all that time we thought we had, suddenly disappears, and we realize that we need to preserve the memories of our relationship with that furry family member. Knowing just how important it is to remember and celebrate your relationship is the reason behind the Posh Pets Heritage™ Session.

When I first spoke with Olivia about her Bella, she told me that she was her 11 year old black labrador, that she had had her she had her since she was a puppy. These two had grown up together. She also shared that Bella had only just been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and that the prognosis was not good. Could I create a session that would celebrate their relationship?, she asked. Of course., I assured her.

We made arrangements quickly and Olivia chose the park where she and Bella regularly went for walks. We took our time since Bella did not have the energy she had once had. Although, the sight of a ball still brought a light to her eyes and she chased it once or twice. Treats were, of course, graciously accepted. So, we walked and talked, stopping here and there to photograph Bella in her element with Olivia.

Olivia wanted me to be sure to capture the white muzzle and beautiful eyes of her dear Bella in a portrait. The dried reeds provided a beautiful backdrop against her black coat.

black labrador portrait

Even though some would consider the weather less than ideal, we were able to capture absolutely gorgeous images!

formal black labrador dog portrait

We then went on to document some sweet portraits of Olivia and Bella together.

dog rolling on grass with girl

girl hugging black labrador dog

portrait of a chinese girl and black labrador

girl hugging dog

We even got in a few kisses! Olivia was Bella’s world (and vice versa), so this was no surprise.

black labrador giving a girl a kiss

Inky, Bella’s older brother, also came along so he could be photographed along with her. He may only have a few months on Bella, but he practically dwarfs her in size.

dog best friends

dog family portrait

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again: I am always amazed at how a dog will rise to the occasion. Despite the fact that the medication and her illness left her fatigued, Bella showed us that she could still chase a ball.

premier-canada-dog-photographer

dog carrying ball

And, she still had the ability provide the loveliest of expressions for a portrait.

black labrador sitting in a pile of leaves

We ended the session with a few more images of Bella and Olivia together on a forest path.

girl hugging dog in a forest

richmond-hill-dog-photography

The final portrait was of lovely Bella herself. In her park. The way Olivia wanted to remember her.

black-labrador-dog-portrait-toronto

A week later, I received the e-mail I dread to receive: Bella had said her final good-bye, surrounded by the family she loved. I had already edited Bella’s images and ordered her folio box as well as her wall art, and Olivia was understandably eager to receive them. While they will never replace having Bella at her side, the images from our session will ensure that the memory of Bella stays alive in her heart.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, please do not hesitate to contact me and arrange a Posh Pets Heritage™ Session.

 

Bart – Posh Pets Heritage™ Session | Cat Photographer in Toronto

Bart – Posh Pets Heritage™ Session | Cat Photographer in Toronto

Celebrating the life, love and legacy of your pet.™

As a pet photographer, I get quite a number of requests for sessions with cats. I love our kitty friends – their quiet and calm demeanor, the grace with which they carry themselves and the nuances of their individual personalities. My sessions with them are always a joy.

I met Bart on a quiet summer afternoon in August. Those perfect days when it is not too hot, the sun is shining and no one is running tools to disturb the quiet peace of the neighbourhood. Bart was a 15 1/2 year old black beauty with a kind and gentle nature. He had been adopted by his humans when already full grown (I love it when people fall in love with the adult adoptables!) and had lived a wonderful life with his feline brother, Toby, and his human family.

When his mom first contacted me, she told me worriedly that Bart was a black cat and very difficult to photograph. He was exclusively an indoor cat, so he needed to be photographed inside. Additionally, he had recently been diagnosed with cancer and she really wanted some beautiful images that would highlight his gorgeous eyes and ensure that they had tangible, physical memories to hold onto when the time came to say good-bye.

We spent a couple of hours that afternoon photographing Bart in all of his favourite spots in the home. He was quite happy and was engaged for his photo session. I am always amazed by pets who ‘seem to know’ and therefore muster up the energy to give their families this last gift of photographs. As I was leaving his home, I gave him one quiet cuddle and told him to be a brave boy and let his family know when the time came.

Four weeks later, Bart said his final good-bye at home, surrounded by his loving family.

As I delivered Bart’s final artwork, we talked about what a great life he had, how hard the past couple of weeks had been on everyone, but how right the decision had been to have him photographed professionally. As always, I left the meeting with tears in my eyes.

“Bart, you have left a huge hole in the hearts and lives of those who loved you. I was privileged to have met you and to photograph you. I will remember you with fondness, always.”

POSH PETS HERITAGE™ SESSIONS

Celebrating the life, love and legacy of your pet.™

  • High-priority sessions reserved for pets that become ill or are simply elderly. We make every effort to schedule these on short notice.
  • An opportunity to take time out of your busy schedule to spend some quality time togehter, celebrate the life you have shared and create images you will treasure forever.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • Examples of portraits from Posh Pets Heritage™ Sessions can be found here.
Magic – Heritage Session | GTA Pet Photographer

Magic – Heritage Session | GTA Pet Photographer

What is a Posh Pets Heritage Session, you ask? Simply put, it a unique session where we take whatever time is needed to celebrate the life of a special dog. No one likes to think about it too much, but the reality is that we will often outlive our pets. And when the time comes to say good-bye, photographs can often be the way to forever capture the memories we hold dear.

Magic was a good dog. He had been diagnosed with cancer and his people knew that their time with him was short. In fact, when we initially spoke, they were not sure if we had enough time to schedule a Session. I assured them that I would make it happen. A couple of days later, on a bright Sunday morning, we set out to create incredible memories.

I’m always amazed at how animals just know. In these situations, when I first arrive, I want to take the time to see how the pet is feeling. We want to work at their pace, taking into account their limitations. And yet, each time, the pet always rises to the occasion, as if they want to give this last gift to their people. Magic was no different. We spent time creating images both inside and outside their home and then a final last walk in his favourite park.

As our Session came to a close, I hugged Magic, kissed him and said my good-bye, knowing we would not meet again. He was gone some 24 hours later, surrounded by the people he loved so much.

Of course, our Ordering Session was an emotional one. We cried. We hugged. But, in the end, Magic’s family chose two gorgeous Folio Boxes filled with memories of their special boy, and lovely pieces of Wall Art.

shetland sheepdog head portraitblack and white photo of sheltland sheepdogfamily portrait with dog in Canadawoman and dog huggingToronto pet photographershetland sheepdog sitting on couchcollie being held on bedblack and white photo of dog with familyToronto dog photographydog sitting on large tree trunk

 

POSH PETS HERITAGE™ SESSIONS

Celebrating the life, love and legacy of your pet.™

  • High-priority sessions reserved for pets that become ill or are simply elderly. We make every effort to schedule these on short notice.
  • An opportunity to take time out of your busy schedule to spend some quality time togehter, celebrate the life you have shared and create images you will treasure forever.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • Examples of portraits from Posh Pets Heritage™ Sessions can be found here.

Lady Jane Grey | Toronto Cat Photographer

Lady Jane Grey | Toronto Cat Photographer

They say the camera does not lie. And yet, I look at this photo of Lady Jane taken just yesterday, and I am stunned by how good she looks. She was always a pretty kitty and even at 17 years old, Lady Jane was a beautiful old girl. But, what this image doesn’t show is the sadness that surrounds it. For, it was taken during the brief space of 5 minutes yesterday when she had stopped vomiting, we had already contacted the emergency vet to say we were coming and were about to place her in her carrier for her final car ride. I got her to relax on our bed (truly one of her favourite places) and took a few final pictures. Within 10 minutes of this image, we were on our way.

grey and white cat on bed

Lady Jane was a wonderful girl and such a trooper. Cats often are. She had been diagnosed in early October with Chronic Renal Failure and her vet had warned us not to expect more than a couple of months. We were understandably shocked and it took us some time to process the information. We knew she had been losing weight, but I don’t think either my husband, Dean, or I were prepared for the severity of the issue. But our vet kindly answered all of our questions, sent us home with lots of information and medication to stabilize her, and we determined to simply cherish the time we had left.

And you know, we got into a rhythm with giving her her medication and ensuring that she ate properly. It was at that point that we realized that Lady Jane had probably been feeling unwell for some time, because the medication helped her to rally. In the 6 months since her diagnosis, Lady Jane has done things and explored area she had never done before. She learned how to climb onto the desk in my husband’s office so that she could sit on the windowsill and watch the world go by. She no longer used the stool beside our bed which had been placed there to help her old bones get up more easily – she bounded from the floor and back off again. And then sometimes, she leaped from the bed onto the dresser. Her greatest success was when she propelled herself from the couch onto our dining table. Most of these things would certainly would have been unacceptable in our house (no getting up on the dining table!), but the fact that she had the desire and the ability to do it astounded us. For a cat who had lived most of her life on one level (she had been a little portly in her younger years), it was a joy to see her enjoy herself.

And then there was her personality. When we adopted her brother Baxter 18 months ago as a companion to Lady Jane, we could not have picked a better boy. Baxter has confidence, without a hint of aggressiveness. His patient encouragement combined with her feeling much better, and Lady Jane had come out of her shell. She travelled easily and adapted to new environments. She greeted visitors when they came into our home. She stepped outside onto the balcony and felt the sun on her face. It was like she had a bucket list of things to do and we had the joy of seeing her cross things off the list.

We almost convinced ourselves that she would be with us a long time. Our friends would ask how she was doing and we would answer that she was doing remarkably well. Deep down, we knew the disease would eventually get the better of her, but given her newfound love of life and adventure, it seemed a long way off. And, we were not prepared for how quickly it would happen.  It seems like on Friday the medication stopped working which translated into Lady Jane being extremely picky over her food. We had been very fortunate that throughout everything she was a great drinker – bowls and bowls of water helped flush her ailing kidneys and kept her happy. But, by yesterday morning, she had stopped drinking, stopped eating and begun almost non-stop vomiting. She also found it very difficult to use the litter box. I gave her her medication to help with the vomiting and offered her her favourite ‘treats’ – chicken and lactose-free milk. She refused the chicken, but lapped up the milk. Only to bring it all up within 10 minutes. It was as if her digestive system was shutting down.

Seeing her suffer this way helped us making a heart-wrenching decision. Of course, not only was it a Sunday but it was a holiday and therefore her regular vet was closed. Which led us to the wonderful people at Vaughn-Richmond Hill VEC who helped her pass, surrounded by the people who loved her most. I got to hold her and I hope that she felt me stroking her and that the last thing she heard was me telling her how much I loved her.

Seventeen years is a long time.  A small furry kitten originally from Brampton Animal Shelter left her mark on our lives and on our hearts. She made us smile. She made us laugh. There is now only a gaping hole that she used to inhabit.

Lady Jane, our little furry face. You were loved. Please know, we love you still.

“You’re the one that I love, and I’m saying good-bye…” ~A Great Big World (Say Something)

beautiful cat

One Year Later… | Pet Photographer in Canada

One Year Later… | Pet Photographer in Canada

Today marks a sad anniversary – it was exactly one year ago that we said good-bye to our Ripley. It was a bright, sunny spring morning, much like this one. But for Dean and I, it was the end of an era.

It seems like yesterday that the three of us made that last car ride together. In fact, we still tear up when we think about him, as the pain is yet just below the surface. But, in reality, a whole year has passed and I realize that so much has changed since then.

For one thing, there is no doubt that the sharp pain has eased for all of us. We no longer come through the front door expecting to have Ripley greet us, nor do I wake up in the night looking for the feel of his soft weight against my legs. Lady Jane, too, finally stopped grieving for her brother and began to be her old self again. And, as I always secretly knew, we were in time, ready for the biggest change of all. We welcomed 2 year old Baxter into our home and into our hearts. (One the unexpected results was that, as a result of the new playmate and the increased physical activity, Lady Jane has lost some weight. She now runs and just a few weeks ago, managed to jump on the dresser in our bedroom – a place she has not been up on in over 10 years. Talk about a change!)

Initially, my biggest fear was that I would forget about Ripley – his little habits and the stories we shared. I wanted so desperately to emblazon his memory in my mind. Consequently, right after his death, we took a notebook and through our tears, wrote down all of the things that had made him special. Every memory we could come up with, even the small, silly ones. And, as Dean and I would remember additional stories, we would continue to write. It helped in the healing process and allowed us to slowly let go, knowing Ripley’s life story was safe. However, we soon realized that we should do this for all of our kitties, keeping records as we go. So Lady Jane, and now Baxter, have their own special memory books. And we take photographs…so many photographs.

But, for all of the progress we have made, the truth is, I don’t think there will ever come a day when I don’t think about our Orange Boy. He was our very first pet together, and because he came into our lives just 3 months after Dean and I were married, Ripley had been there practically from the beginning. We loved him so much, and he, us. He will always be a part of our story.

Ripley, for all of our brave faces, how we still miss you! But, this I promise you: you will never be forgotten. Afterall, you never forget your first.