Bishops Stortford Pet Photography

Senior Dog Photography – Remember your final months together

Last week I was shooting a senior dog session. Thankfully, it's a magical time of year when the bluebells are out, so it made for a truly amazing backdrop. These sessions are a wonderful celebration of an older dog, along with the heartfelt bond between them and their human parents. This session has been particularly poignant for me, as the subject was my furry nephew. My furry nephew is a 12 year old black Labrador called Buddy.

Portrait in the bluebells, enjoying a day with mum and dad in the sunshine - Bishops Stortford Pet Photography

In the middle of last year Buddy was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. After trials on chemo with undesirable side effects, his mum and dad decided it was better he enjoyed what time he had left, than spend that time making frequent trips to the vet.  In January of this year he was given 2 to 4 months to live. I am very pleased to say that as I sit here, near the end of April, he remains very happy, bright-eyed and still thoroughly enjoys a good meal - although we are aware he is deteriorating.

He may be 12, he may have cancer, but he's having a day out with mum and dad - as far as he's concerned he's happy!

This session has been a long time coming, like many who are faced with the news that their dog’s illness is terminal, the idea of a photo session had slipped by the wayside. After all, they had so many other things to think about other than a photoshoot.  Buddy's Mum (Jo), Dad (Alex) and I have been talking of doing this session for the last seven or eight months.  When Buddy got his terminal diagnosis in January they found themselves unable to focus on the idea of a photoshoot and the finality that came with admitting their beloved furry kid had a limited time left.

Senior black lab enjoying the sunshine in a bluebell wood - 4 Legs Photography

Realising that time was ticking on, and not wanting to regret leaving it too late, they stopped saying ‘later’ and we prioritised the shoot the next day. Considering they work different shifts, we were blessed with some beautiful sunshine on a rare day they both had off together.

Buddy is most definitely the definition of a furry kid.  He is utterly adored by his mum, and she’s aware that sometimes she tends towards smothering, rather than mothering!  The look on his face can be, ‘ok mum, enough is enough, have you heard of personal space?’  Other times he loves nothing better than getting a kiss on his muzzle. He is certainly one adored furry member of the family.

Black lab enjoying a kiss from mum in the woods - Bishops Stortford Pet Photographer

With Buddy also having arthritic elbows progress through the wood was at his pace. Like any photo session, the shoot is run by the dog and what they want to do, at their pace. Buddy was rather fond of eating the lush grass to start with so we had to wait a while as he got the urge out of his system.

Black lab enjoying the lush grass in the bluebell wood

We found a lovely place to sit and give Buddy a rest while we took some more posed shots, but ultimately it’s the moments where their guard drops that the true personality of their family shines through. 

Having a rest with mum and dad during a senior photo shoot - 4 Legs Photography

Jo and Alex have chosen to enjoy every moment they have left with Buddy and as a result the shoot included a lot of laughs and silliness.  After all, when they’re happy Buddy’s happy and they want however long he has left to be as happy as possible for him.

Senior dog photo sessions can be a happy celebration of a life , love and companionship - 4 Legs Photography

A senior session can be an uplifting celebration of life, a moment to capture the beauty of your beloved furry kid.

While wandering through the wood Alex came across a great stick that Buddy thought was AMAZING! Although a little large, he seemed it was a good opportunity for a little rest and a chew.

When you're a dog, sometimes all you need is a big stick!

The whole shoot was a fun filled celebration of the wonderful furry kid Buddy has been for Jo and Alex. He was so happy to be able to spend the day with both parents at the same time, especially as there were plenty of kisses. Could he be any happier!?!

Love is all you need! Black lab getting kisses from mum and dad at a senior dog photo shoot - 4 Legs Photography

If you have a senior dog, and you too would like to memorialise them and the bond between you, then please contact me and we can organise the perfect shoot for your beloved furry kid. If you know time is of the essence then please let me know and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure your shoot is prioritised and that these memories are captured.

Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised
How to manage the urge to hibernate as the days grow shorter

How to manage the urge to hibernate as the days grow shorter

It’s that time of year again, the clocks have gone back, the nights are getting longer and the days generally gloomier…there just aren’t enough hours left in the day to get things done!

With it comes this urge to hibernate, maybe it’s just me, but come 5 pm I’m fighting the urge to put my PJs on and just curl up on the sofa with the dog. It’s this time of year that many people get the first symptoms the winter blues. Please bear in mind I’m not talking full blown SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). If you feel like you are getting depressed, everything is too much and you really want to shut off from the world, then please seek advice from your doctor. For more information on SAD and its symptoms please click here.

The reduced daylight hours causes our bodies to produce melatonin, our sleep hormone, hours earlier than it would during the longer days of summer. It’s easy to feel like we need more sleep during winter as our bodies get confused with the longer nights, but our bodies sleep needs don’t change with the seasons….we just feel like they should! One way to help this is to try and get as much sunlight as you can during the day. This may mean going outside and enjoying that coffee break in the sun. The more sunlight you can give your body during the winter the better (even if this means working by a window).

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop for those of us that just have an urge to hibernate and slow down. It’s all go, go, go and with Christmas approaching there are presents to buy, relatives to organise…..and is it just me, or is Christmas day quite stressful? Anyway, I digress. It’s no wonder that with the world still running at a sprint and our bodies slowing to a crawl that we feel a disconnect, a feeling of overwhelm, lethargy and a hint of the winter blues. I do wonder, whether the stress of pushing ourselves to ‘just keep going’ causes us a certain amount of stress that only adds to feeling low.

So I propose this, how about we just embrace winter and slow down? Yes, I know things still need to get done, and I’m not suggesting that we throw our responsibilities out the window, stop exercising and eat what we like. But how about for at least 1 night a week we finish our working day, step away from social media and have some ‘me’ time. Some time to stop, have a long relaxing bath with a glass of wine and the lights down low….maybe even light a candle or two for good measure! We put on our favourite PJs, have a warm comforting meal (forgetting about the calories) and curl up under a blanket to watch a good film, read a book or just maybe listen to our favourite music. The world will keep spinning, and those things that need doing will still be there tomorrow, but for this evening it’s all about ‘me’. So relax, embrace the warmth, enjoy that snooze, give in and let yourself hibernate, just for tonight.

fire roaring in fireplace

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Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised