Friday, October 3, 2008

A Difficult Good-Bye

Usually when I see my friend Jan's name come up on my caller ID, it's like an early birthday gift. Jan is incredibly upbeat, kind and gentle-natured. She is, without question, one of the most positive people I have ever known. She herself is a gift.

Nathaniel & I met Jan because she is a fellow "crazy greyhound person," and though it was our mutual love of dogs that brought us together, her friendship has come to mean much more over time.

A few years back when we started our business, Jan was one of our first pet photography clients. She was one of the first people to have faith in us & our pet pictures.

I confess that initially I felt quite "Paris Hilton" about pet photography. I mean, I have always loved all my animals and over the years I have had dogs, cats, fish, frogs, a bird and even a horse. But pet photography? Still, we started a branch of our business exclusively devoted to documenting beloved furry & feathered companions and the lives they share with their people.

And of course, when you observe firsthand how much love is shared between animals and the humans they live with, you can't feel "Paris Hilton" about pet photography for very long. Our animals not only share our lives, they truly enhance it with their unconditional love, protection, companionship and incredible beauty.

When we first worked with Jan, she had two male greyhounds, Ben and Jerry. They were from the same litter and had never been apart. Until today.

Ben (in blue) and Jerry (in cherry red) go for a wade.

The boys pose pretty! This picture has been published in magazines, calendars & even a book!

Jan called me today and immediately from her voice I knew it was not the usual upbeat Jan I have come to know and love. Jan was crying. Jerry died this morning. He was eight years old with no known or discernible health issues.

While there is nothing I can say or do to take the pain away or make Jan hurt less, I still wish I could. It is never easy to say the last good-bye to a dear friend, no matter if they are a dog.

And even in the midst of her loss, Jan gave me a gift. She thanked me and told me that though she always valued the photographs of Ben & Jerry from the past several years, they mean more today than they ever have. In that moment I felt silly that I ever even thought for one moment that pet photography was "Paris Hilton." Jan gave me the gift of knowing that Nathaniel & I's pictures would keep Jerry with her always.

Jan ~ you are so, so welcome. I wish I could do more to make you hurt less!

Good-bye Jerry! Thanks for being such a sweet boy & providing my dear friend Jan with your friendship, protection and love for the past several years... I'll miss you!

~ Rissa

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