Nelson has been by his Mum’s said since she was just nine years old. This little, old man loves the sun, doing his own things and above all else - his Mum!

His photoshoot(s!) were really special to me, an experience that I will recall and treasure in the future on the days that this job gets tough. See, for all the exciteable zoomies and adorable puppies that I have the pleasure of photographing, my job also involves the heartbreaking art of capturing the bond between pets and their people as they near their goodbyes. 

It doesn’t get any easier. I’ve been doing this for 8 years and I still bawl my eyes out when I learn that an animal I’ve photographed has crossed the rainbow bridge.

I believe that to be a good animal photographer, you need to be highly empathetic. You need to be able to see and love that pet through their human’s eyes, to be able to capture their bond together and allow their personality to shine.

While this means that I quickly fall in love with (and would totally dognap) every furry soul that graces my lens, it also means that the sad sessions are HARD. But this time is not about me, so I blink back tears and desperately try to compose myself behind the lens, while I watch my clients cuddle, kiss and love their old souls. We all know that probably, within weeks or months, they’ll be gone. It’s not easy, but it’s an honour and one that I am proud to do.

On the day of Nelson’s first shoot, he was not well. He was diagnosed with renal failure when he was ten years old (he’s now 18!) and it looked like these were his final days. Photographing him snuggled tightly in his Mum’s arms, tired and small, was a beautiful but sad experience. I said my goodbyes at the end of our afternoon together, expecting that Nelson would be gone by the time we had our Session Reveal two weeks later. 

Imagine my complete shock and utter joy, when into the showroom walked a pleased-as-punch couple of furparents and one tail-wagging, bright eyed, happy, little Nelson! A change of medication had given the old man a new lease of life. Never have I seen such a transformation in a dog I’ve photographed! His Mum has been given the gift of more time with her life-long pal and we promptly organised a reshoot to capture happy Nelson (sans medical boot!)

So thank you Nelson, for teaching and reminding me that you never know what gifts and sunshine life might have waiting for you. You little champ!

Caitlin McCollComment