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The Equal Opportunity Pet Owner Family
I recently had the opportunity to photograph the most diverse family - an equal opportunity pet loving family. When I initially received the inquiry, I thought a friend was pulling a prank. I mean, who gets a call for a family portrait consisting of mom, dad, a kid, 3 rescue dogs, a cat, 2 guinea pigs, a house pig, chickens and honey bees? (Right?) Well, there is such a family, and I got to meet them and schedule a photoshoot to make images they can treasure for generations.
Did you know that roughly 45% of homes have dogs? And roughly 35% have cats? I’d have to look up the %s for guineas, chickens, pigs and bees, but my guess is they are not that great - especially all together under one roof. (Well, the chickens and the bees, I don’t believe are allowed in, but the others certainly are.) So I feel pretty lucky to have been called to capture these memories.
People talk about designer families in terms of their humans - I would suggest this family is a designer family in terms of it’s human & fur baby composition...(do pigs have fur?) What and who made up this family is about all I knew, after all, I’d only met them once briefly for a consultation, then the shoot. They seemed like a nice bunch of responsible pet owners. What I didn't know, was the immense love and compassion they have for their animals. Sure, we all love our pets but in the case of this family, what I’ve witnessed in the last couple of weeks is that these pets are not just luxuries, but an integral and deeply loved part of their family. Sadly, not long after our shoot, the family was on vacation and one of their dogs slipped away and was lost.
I learned through Facebook posts that they would spend the last few days of their vacation on the hunt to try and find Peanut - the smaller member of the pack. A scruffy little oatmeal-colored sweetheart. Of course she is chipped and of course every call was made to alert the community and local shelters - Facebook posts were made and shared and tweets were posted, but unfortunately the family had to return without their beloved Peanut and hope that someone would call. And there was a call!
Mom drove back to the coast (some 4 or 5 hours), along with Cooper, another one of the pack, to re-rescue her. But Peanut would not be caught by anyone. She only allowed for 'sightings'. Sightings that were recorded and shared which is how I know that Mom spent days in the area looking for her. Daily she walked miles, spoke to locals, SPOTTED HER a few times but something in Peanut told her to keep running. Its been very sad to follow this story but I'm SO glad that we made images that included her before she was lost. And we continue to hope that Peanut will find her way home soon.
Adopting pets and bringing them home is one of the few available outlets in today’s urbanised society. They require a lot of care and attention. We should hope and pray that all pet owners show that same sort of love, affection and responsibility for their pets - no matter the type!