On April 16th, 2012 my heart shattered. I had to let my Sam, my heart and soul, go. It still hurts like it was yesterday. Samantha got me through the toughest times I’ve ever faced. She had a knack for making every day worth getting up for.

To say I miss her is the greatest understatement of all time. I think of her every day—how she would curl into the crook of my knee on the sofa when we’d watch TV, how she’d navigate on the console beside me in the car (I swear she rode a motorcycle in a previous life) leaning into the curves, and me.

Endearing quirks and tough times

She had the most endearing quirks. The muscles in her front legs never grew properly, so she resembled a ballerina in a perma-plié. She’d rest her front paws on her back legs when sitting, it was distinctive and adorable – and probably evened her out a little. She would tap dance for treats and that never failed to make me laugh.

Sam unfortunately had to wear the mantle of Frankendog more than once. First, after a devastating dog attack at a park in Toronto and then post surgery to remove a tumor on her thyroid. She was a trooper though, she never gave up and inspired me.

I honestly don’t know how I would have handled my own losses without her pressed close and giving me reassuring licks as I cried into her fur.

From loss to inspiration

Sam led me to Indy and to pet photography. I had tons of phone shots of her, and I even printed a bunch of them out at a big box store after she was gone – they’ve yellowed and faded now. It killed me that I rarely had broken out my camera to capture “proper” photos of her, but I never imagined she wouldn’t be there. I have no special portraits of my best girl.

A couple of months after she was gone, the house felt too quiet, and was still filled with sadness. I started looking at rescue web sites for another calm, adult female. Well, the joke was on me. Sam’s comedic timing was always good…she sent me Indy instead.

A new purpose

Indy needed me, and I needed him. He needed to build his confidence and required a whole new level of energy from me. I had to learn much more about dog behaviour to help him with his demons. He was a personality-packed, troubled, one-year-old. I had to focus all my attention on him, and I did. While he wormed his way into my heart, I felt compelled to break out the camera and capture his antics. He became my muse, and I started to up my photography game.

Preserving precious memories

Eventually, I photographed other dogs, and it felt like I was connecting with the essence of each of their souls. It was too late for me to have the portraits of Sam that I wanted, but I wondered if this could be something I could do for others… as a way to preserve that special quality of a beloved best friend.

Celebrating our heart dogs

This is why I’m so passionate about what I do. I wish I had big, beautiful portraits of the dog that stole my heart on my walls, making my heart sing every time I look at them. I’ve long since forgotten the man who broke my heart, but Sam will be with me forever.

I’d like to help you celebrate your heart dog. When you’re ready, let’s celebrate their inimitable spirit together and create memories that make your heart sing. Take a peek through my website and see the many ways we can capture this for you. Then book a discovery call and I can answer any questions you have.