In the last couple of weeks I have become more interested in pet photography. What inspired me to investigate it was the loss of two of our dogs.
We were catching a plane to come home from our vacation, when the house sitter called to inform us that two of the dogs got out and were lost. Not good news to think about on the 6 hour flight home. We immediately made some posters proclaiming our dogs were lost. The picture on the poster was of two dogs on a bean bag. One of the dogs in the picture was one of the dogs missing, while the other dog was similar, but not the other missing dog. By the next afternoon we had recovered on of the dogs, the one on the poster. Some beautiful people had watched her run back and forth across a four lane highway late at night at least four times, so they stopped, cornered her (she was terrified), and took her home for the night and posted a flyer in the local dog park. We saw it and identified her as one of our lost dogs. It wasn’t hard to prove she was ours, she would come out of her hiding place in their back yard for no one else. We were very happy to recover her, as she is sight impaired and her chance of survival was less than the other dog.
At this point, we needed a new flyer with an accurate photo of the other missing dog. I just happened to take one for a flickr post I wanted to do. We printed off 250 flyers and began posting them in the area we found the first dog. By that afternoon we got a call that someone had spotted her at a local school. We searched that neighborhood and found nothing. We later visited the school and many kids had spotted her that day in the neighborhood. We were thrilled. But where was she now?
I had driven through this very neighborhood about 5 am in the morning and stopped at a corner crying and praying that their were so many houses in the neighborhood, how would we ever find her. I felt a peace come over me and a thought that God knows where she is came into my mind. I drove off to work.
After work I drove back to the neighborhood to meet my daughter. She had talked with several people who had helped our dog. Fed her, gave her water and a dry place to spend the night. But she was still no where in sight. As we canvassed the neighborhood my daughter got a call from a man who said he knew where our dog was. He told us to stay put and he would come to us and take us to her. He did exactly that. A school boy had taken her home with him and kept her warm and safe until her owner was found. She was just a block away from the spot I had stopped at 5 am in the morning.
None of the amazing people involved would take the offered reward. We were so blessed by all the beautiful people we met and how much they wanted us to find our dog.
What does this have to do with pet photography? We did not have up to date portraits of our dogs, except for the last one found. People recognized the dog from her picture. I have since taken a picture of the first dog found and we have 9 more dogs in the family that I plan to photograph.This is Christmas. She was found running back and forth across the four lane highway.
If you have ever lost an animal, you know that it is a most devastating time. It is akin to losing a child, however not as traumatic. I can’t imagine the pain of having a lost child and maybe never seeing that child again and not knowing the welfare of that child.
Pet portraits are something I think everyone should think about. Even if you snap a good picture yourself, you will have something to use if this should happen to you. I understand that most pets can be recovered through posting flyers with pictures of the dogs. Most people are animal lovers and will help the dog as well as the owner find the dog. We were so blessed to have them both back home within two days after they were lost.
I have heard of some other pet photography events, which include a contest on the cutest dog, cat or whatever. Also, as a photographer I am seriously thinking about taking pet portraits in exchange for dog food for the local shelter. Another photographer started this event in her area and it is quite successful. The donor pays a sitting fee as well and gets a 10 minute session and a 5 x 7 print of the animal. The local animal shelter gets 30 lb bags of dog food.
Don’t wait until you go through a traumatic event to capture an image of your pet.
Thanks for stopping by.