I don’t usually do this. It is true that I love the pensive, thoughtful images of animals, but for the shelter where I volunteer, I usually aim for cute and adorable. It helps them find homes.
So, when we were given our theme for this week, I had in mind to take an image of a happy, tongue hanging out, tail wagging furry face. Happiness and joy…that is the mood that I wanted to illustrate. And, I was able to do that with the majority of the guys and gals I met this week. But, my heart broke when I met Patches and April. “Sisters” who have lived together for who knows how long, they were owner surrenders. Now, I won’t go into the details of why their owners decided that they could no longer take care of them – there is little to be gained by trying to collectively judge whether they had a good enough reason. All I do know, is that for Patches, a 9 year old Jack Russell/Beagle mix and April, an 8 year old Shiba Inu, just 48-hours ago they knew what it was to live in a home, to have a bed and the love of a family. And now, they don’t understand why one day it all changed. Confusion. Loss. Fear.
I talked to them soothingly, gave them gentle pats on their heads…and they tried to wag their little tails for me. But they were not interested in the treats we brought or the toys we tried to play with. They simply tried to look past the door to where they know their former home still exists.
Now, most pet photographers and pet owners in general will tell you that they often speak to animals. All kinds of silly things. And so, I spoke with Patches and told her she was a good girl and so was April. Whether she understood me or not, I will never know. But at the mention of her sister’s name, Patches turned to April and nuzzled her. Maybe to make sure April was still there. Maybe to assure April that she was still there with her. And it broke my heart. Because, for these two older girls, the future probably has only two choices. One, that they are not adopted. Two, they find their forever homes, apart. Neither path will replace what they have lost.
And, so I leave you with the image of Patches softly nuzzling her sister, April. Maybe, for one of the last times. This image is one of loss.
If you are at all considering adopting a pet, please consider the older ones. They really have so much to offer and ask for so little in return. And, if you are considering getting a pet, remember that they will rely on you for the rest of their life. They cannot simply be returned when it becomes inconvenient or even if it becomes hard.
I will leave you with a couple more images of Patches and April…if you know anyone who is looking for a pair of girls, please pass along their images and story.
Now, this a blog ring, so please check out Sweet Silver Photography located in Nashville, Tennessee! I’m sure the talented Kelly Coyle has something spectacular to show us this week!