As a business owner, I go to a lot of conferences and seminars and a consistent question is ‘what is your why?’ It’s a question I’ve struggled with constantly. I understood how important it was to my clients to have beautiful photo’s of their dogs, and I love my job, buy my ‘why’ was always elusive. Other business owners would give amazing responses and I always felt like a bit of a fraud because I just couldn’t answer.
Amy & Holly 🌈
As my business started to develop, the inevitable started happening. Every now and again, clients would contact me to let me know they had to say goodbye to their beloved dog. And it was hard, each time, especially when it was unexpected. Dogs have a wonderful way of connecting with you and making you feel special – so each shoot I left feeling like I had made a friend not only of the dog, but also I came away with a lot of human friends too.
And then, it happened to me. Two years ago I lost my own boy, Jasper. I’d initially fostered him and wow, he was a steep learning curve, but underneath his issues, this incredibly happy, smiley, barky dog was so eager to please. And wow did he put me through the ringer, he had months of rehabilitation after something ruptured in his inner ear and he lost a huge amount of blood. Then a couple of years later, he had a stroke which was terrifying to see and one of the only times I’ve felt complete loss of control. After that, he wasn’t the same, he was still a happy chap, but gradually he started to loose control of his bladder, and I’d find him staring into a corner, and he’d seem quite surprised to find himself there. My previous partner made the very difficult decision that it was time to let him go. He was with us both, and all the other dogs at home, and I thought I was going to break. In fact, with hindsight, I think I did a little.
Caroline & Bentley 🌈
He is my why
It was only about a year later, when I was looking at one of the photographs of him, that it really hit home. His final gift to me was realising that I need to go through the pain myself so that I could understand my clients more deeply. Having photo’s of him at his goofiest, his happiest, even the times when he came out of surgery, meant that I will always have very vivid memories of him.
Pals Maisy, Jasper & Woodley have been reunited. 🌈
Gone, but never forgotten
Our bond with our dogs is indescribable, I still feel like Jasper is just nearby sometimes and I find peace in that. Some people don’t understand it, and that’s okay. I’ve had to make some incredibly hard choices in the last couple of years, and having photographs of my dogs is priceless. So now, when people ask me what my why is, I can say, without a doubt, Jasper is my why.
Please do take some time to read Amy’s Story too – Holly was an a dog in a million and photographing her was something I will never forget.