Including Pets in Family Photos
Growing up, we always had pets. I actually can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a pet around that we didn’t cherish. The first pet I remember was Dana, our trusty Heeler/Doberman mix. I’m told my parents got her the year before I was born and she was with us until she died when I was about 13 years old. I remember the day my Mum took us to say goodbye to her and then later being told she had left for the rainbow in the sky. I cried for hours. She was the best friend a kid could have. When I was about 5, we lived just down the street from a local corner store and every now and then I would disappear and my Mum would frantically call around the neighbourhood looking for me. She would always find me at the corner store with Dana. I had a habit of wandering off down to the store and chatting with the store owner. She used to call my Mum to let her know I was there “Yeaah, she’s here.” She would tell my Mum. “And Dana’s with her so you don’t gotta worry too much.” She would add. And my Mum would come rushing down the street to take us home.
———————–EDIT——————— Apparently I was much younger that I previously thought when me and Dana would go to the store, my Mum says “Cherrie, when you were walking to the local store you were only about 18 to 20 months old. Not 5 years, darling:”
When I was about 3 I was attacked by some nasty neighbourhood dogs and I remember screaming for my Dad to come and save me. He was in the backyard excavating the garden and rushed over to help but Dana was there first and she leaped in and got the dogs off me. Thankfully I came away unharmed but poor Dana lost a little piece of her ear that day. She never seemed to mind, though. She had done her duty and she wore her scar proudly.
Later on we had this neighbour we used to call “Eric the Brainless” and he had this horribly nasty big black dog that would drag him down the road, drooling and seething. He was that neighbour everyone has growing up. The one that all the kids are scared of and are convinced is evil. I can remember we all used to run and hide when we saw him coming as he hated children and always threatened to let his dog loose on us. And one day he did. My Mum screamed for help from the other neighbours and me and my brother ran inside our fence as Dana intercepted and got into the most ugly fight with this horrible dog. She had saved us, again and she again came away with more scars to show for it.
She was a fantastic companion and she was our protector and I can’t imagine what my childhood would have been like had we not had her as part of our family. I’m sure my Mum has a picture of her laying around somewhere, but I don’t. And I wish I did. I wish we had included her in more of our family photos because she was the truest member and I am certain she is the reason my brother and I have such a love for our animals, now. They are not just pets, they are family.
They are there for us when we need them and they never complain or question anything. They protect us without hesitation and they listen to us when we need them to. They offer us a paw and a hug when we’re sad and they are ALWAYS, ALWAYS happy to see us. They know their place as part of the family and to them, we are all they have. They give their hearts to us unconditionally and they never ask for anything in return. They deserve to be up there on our walls with our other family members and they deserve to be remembered just as much.
I’m sure most people out there have a story like Dana’s. The ever faithful companion whom we lost too soon. It’s such a shame that for being such a big part of the heart of a family, pets don’t get to stay around for longer than they do. This is all the more reason to make sure you don’t forget them in your family photos. I look back at our family photos now and think how they’re all missing Dana and all the other beloved pets we were fortunate enough to have in our family. I am so thankful that now I have my Bentley dog, we include him in family photos regularly and he was there during our engagement session, which we proudly hang on our walls at home, and he was there at our wedding. The photos, the memories, wouldn’t be complete without him.
So, the next time you think about getting some family portraits done, consider including the often over-looked family member, too. Years from now you’ll be grateful you did. Don’t worry that it will be too hard or too complicated or that your cat might scratch the photographer, or that your Jack Russell might not sit still. Include them. We may not have them with us for as long we we’d like, but we sure can remember them as the loyal family members they are.