July 10, 2010
Anyone who’s lost a dog knows the quiet; in a house that used to hum with the sound of clumsy feet running after a ball; the clicking of nails on hardwood floors in the middle of the night; or the comforting, rhythmic breath as you drift off to sleep. These are the sounds that go missing in a house where a dog once lived.
I doubt that there’s anything that has touched me more deeply, or changed me more profoundly, than the loss of my dogs; in particular, the loss of Gracie (my mija), Lola and Buzz all within an 11-month span. So when someone calls me about a session with a dog who is terminally ill; I have to brace myself for the rush of memories; the reddened eyes; the sighs of people who haven’t slept in days. These are things that we all have seen and felt in a house of dogs.
Pelei has cancer. Her girls–Katherine, Victoria and Mary–have decided not to put Pelei through the pain and discomfort of chemo. They’ve decided that this is life, that this is Pelei’s life and that they will respect that life and make it as meaningful as it can ever be in the time she has left.
These shots of Pelei are meant to show her life, how much life she has in her, and how much life she gives. They are meant to hold back the quiet that will come. To fill these girls’ hearts with enough memories of Pelei the goof, Pelei the love, Pelei the elegant and Pelei the silly so that when she is gone, it will be only her body, her physical presence that will be missed.
When you walk through the quiet house where a dog once lived, you are walking through every moment, every breath that dog took in that house. And it surrounds you and comforts you and angers you all at once. Such is love. Such is the state of house where a dog once lived.