Beautiful Beasties is an online resource and forum for professional pet photographers where we can share and learn from each other. 52 Project is a group that is provided a different theme each week to stretch and grow our creative minds.
This week's theme of "Reflections" is incredibly important for me right now. On the morning of June 19th, right after I left for work, a fire broke out in my home. Within 30 minutes I lost 6 of my 7 pets. Buttercup (my 52 Project muse), Jethro, baby Peanut Butter, Sabrina, Wilson and Geraldine. All gone. It still does not seem real to me. Thankfully, our local fire department was able to save my beautiful Lucy. Miraculously, Lucy did not suffer any significant injuries. She is doing really well, but like her mom and dad, she misses her pack terribly.
This week I will be reflecting on my sweet angel babies. I want to remember their unique personalities and incredibly good temperaments. I will not be participating in the 52 Project for some time. All of my camera and editing gear needs to be replaced. And I need to heal my heart. Please look at these beautiful faces and make sure you have plenty of photo's of your own pets. I encourage everyone to hire a professional pet photographer to help you do that.
Buttercup was my sensitive one. She was very tuned into my feelings and mood. She loved to burrow under blankets and a couple of times I caught her pulling the blanket over her with her teeth. She would also lay her tail over her nose when she slept. I loved when she did this. She was my Southern girl through and through and would race to the chaise lounge and sun herself when let outside. She also would sit in a chair like a human and stick her belly out. I'm going to miss the way she would snuggle up to me on the couch and place her snout on my shoulder. I had a silly, made up song for each of my dogs and Buttercups was sung to the tune of "Lollipop". "Buttercup, Buttercup, who loves my Buttercup?". Of course I always ended the song with "ME"!
Jethro was a true Beagle. He was loud and proud but we loved his baying (most of the time). He was the instigator of play and was fast as lightning when being chased in our backyard. He could out maneuver the best Running Back but would come to us for protection when the play became too rough for him. He loved resting on the recliner between his daddy's legs. He was his daddy's boy. But, I loved when he would wiggle in between his brother and sisters to lay on his mommy's lap. Jethros' song was all made up; but the words went like this, "Jethro Bodine is a bug-eyed Beagle, a bug-eyed Beagle".
Oh my baby Peanut Butter. How I will miss your scruffiness and little beard that always seemed to be dirty. Peanut would "wind up" to jump on the sofa next to me and would grumble at the other dogs if they jumped up next to him and disturbed him. Sometimes I would pick him up in my lap and he would snuggle his little head on my shoulder and lay like a baby in my arms. He was the only one allowed to sleep in our bed and if I stuck my feet out from under the blankets my toes would get licked. He loved, loved, loved his brother Jethro and would try to chase after him in the yard. But his little legs were just too stubby and short and no match for Jethro's speed. He was always a happy little guy and had such fun on our walks. Everyone that met Peanut Butter fell in love with him. Peanut Butters' song was also all made up. His went, "Peanut, Peanut Butter. Mama loves you, like no other".
Sabrina was the only one of our 3 cats that we adopted on purpose. I wanted a mouser for our shed but I couldn't bare the thought of such a little baby kitten being outside with all the dangers of a wooded yard. So she became an indoor cat. She was my photo editing buddy and would sit on my lap for hours while I processed images at my computer. I think I still have scars from her nails digging into my legs while she kneaded and purred and I petted.
We found Wilson in the parking lot of our local Home Depot. He was scared, hurt, starving and crying under a flatbed trailer in the parking lot. Obviously abandoned. I looked at my husband and he said, "we'll take him home." Wilson was more dog than cat. He would follow us everywhere and loved going in our basement which we were remodeling at the time. He was the cat that came running to the front door (instead of away) whenever someone came over. He loved going into the shower when I first turned it on and jumped on the bathroom counter to get his "kitty massage" every morning. I loved his white whiskers against his black fur.
We were only supposed to keep Geraldine for 10 or so days while my husbands Aunt recuperated from a broken hip (we think caused by tripping over Geraldine). But Aunt Sally was not able to come home for some time and Geraldine grew on us. Geraldine was the first cat I heard spit. She was not used to other pets in her house and we had 2 other cats and our elderly Springer Spaniel, Hillary. Geraldine would always come running if she heard yelling or carryings on. We nicknamed her "The Enforcer" since it seemed she was ready to kick the booty of whoever was making the racket. Be it human, canine or feline. "Ger-bear" was getting very elderly and feeble. But, she always wanted to be petted by her mommy and every morning I would pick her up and carry her around while I made breakfast for everyone.
My intention for my "reflections" is not to be maudlin or sad. But to honor each pet, briefly, and to give you a glimpse of what they meant to me and brought to our family. Each one will be deeply missed for their own uniqueness and light. I wish I had had more time with them. They were all taken way too young and that is my deepest sorrow. I used to dread thinking of them growing older; but now I realize it's an honor and privilege to be able to make that journey with them and to provide loving words and comforting arms as they cross the bridge.
My biggest regret is that I did not get my photo taken with all of them together. I always thought I would have more time. But, we never know how much time we will be gifted. Again, I urge you all, whether you are a pro photographer or not, to have a family photo taken by a professional.
I have one more image to leave with you. This is our Lucy, the last remaining of our pack. For some miracle, she survived. I'm sure it is to help my husband and I overcome our grief and to help us move forward with our lives. She is missing her 4-legged family but we are all helping each other get through it. Day by Day.
Until later, hold your babies close to your heart.
Please continue through the blog circle by visiting Emilee Fuss Photography of Sarasota, Florida, and keep following the circle until you end up back here.