001 - Why pet photography?

For my first blog, I thought I’d talk about “why pet photography?”

Well I love animals, if I was to list the favourites equal first would be dogs, highland cows and elephants. Yes, I know you can’t keep an elephant as a pet, but they are awesome. Highland cows? Yes, they can be pets, and if I ever realise my dream of moving to the highlands or the Isle of Skye, I’ll be making sure that there’s enough room for a couple of those to roam around. So that leaves the last one of that trio, the dogs. I really am a dog person, when I’m out for walks I have to stop and say hello to the dogs I encounter, who cares if I end up with muddy paw prints. That’s just them leaving their mark, just like the way our pet dogs do with their paw prints on our hearts.

My first dog was a family pet, I was about 6 at the time. He was an unknown mix called Silver and was a puppy from a litter a neighbour’s dog had. Sadly, he was a totally destructive little thing chewing everything in sight, skirting boards, telephone cables he’d eat it. My parents took the decision to have him rehomed.

It wasn’t till about 11 years later I decided I wanted to have another dog. I was still living at home so had to talk my parents around to letting me buy one. Finally, they said yes, my dad was reluctant, but I think my insistence and research swung it. I was getting a Labrador, a kennel close had a litter so I went along to see them. Going into the shed that they in I was met with and excitable gang of yellow fur balls, how do you choose a puppy from all that was my first thought. But it was easily sorted, because he chose me. This little fur ball came over and basically tried to climb up my arm. That was it, he was going to be mine, tho I actually do believe it was the other way round. He honestly decided I was going to be his human. And Jack came into the family. 

We became best buds, I spent many a night downstairs lying by his safe area while he went to sleep so that he knew he wasn’t being left alone. He’d call shotgun in my car as we went for drives (always wearing his seatbelt) that passenger seat was his.

He didn’t get the easiest start as he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia as a puppy and had to undergo some heavy-duty operations to get him sorted but it never held him back. Proper little trooper.

I held up my end of the bargain and we had walks every morning before work, having to keep him clear of the river as being the typical Lab he loved the water. After work there were more walks. He was just the best dog, loved his cuddles and wrestles but was always gentle with his mouth, the only time he ever bit was as a puppy and teething.

As time went on, I’d get up to walk him and dad would’ve already taken him, my dad had really taken to Jack. In fact, it was dad who got him hooked on a cup (bowl) of tea, after Sunday dinner Jack would patiently wait for my dad to get up and make the tea and coffee. As soon as dad moved Jack was by his bowl waiting for that drink. He never got fed scraps from the table (he did).

Dad really doted on him and I was grateful for the help to pay for his operations as we couldn’t get insurance due to the history. The time came for me to move out, and I made the most difficult choice I had ever had to make to date, the hardest one was still to come. Dad had retired, mum didn’t work so Jack always had someone around during the day and was only left on his own for a couple of hours at a time. When I moved out, he’d be in a new place after about 8 years of being in his home and he’d be left alone during the day. I knew that wasn’t going to be the best thing for him, and I also knew how much he was loved by my parents so I asked them if they would mind looking after him for me. I could see how happy that made my dad, and I was going to be seeing the little guy a lot anyway.

When the time finally came say the final goodbye it was the hardest thing to do, to have to say that he’d had his time and we have to let him go was heartbreaking. He definitely left his pawprints on my heart. I can only hope he knew how much he was loved by me and everyone else in the family.

These are just a few of the hundreds, thousands of memories I have of him. Sadly, I only have a few photos of him, mostly snapshots taken in the garden. I have one of my favourite photos on the wall beside my bed and carry a little photo (the one shown here) in my wallet and have it on my phone. One thing I really wish I had, was more photos to go with the memories. Not the sort that you keep in an album, the sort you proudly hang on your wall for everyone to see.

So that’s my answer to “why pet photography?” to give other pet owners the chance to have lovely photos to go with their memories.


Alistair 🐾