The worst part about being a dog photographer

The Worst Part about Being a Dog Photographer

~ April 19, 2022 ~

Photographing dogs is easily one of the best jobs in the world, but you can never escape the worst part about being a dog photographer.

Before we dive into it, though, let’s highlight the best parts of working with dogs:

  1. Seeing a dog for the first time
  2. Petting dogs
  3. Playing with dogs
  4. Getting doggy kisses
  5. Seeing doggy smiles
  6. Seeing wagging tails

…and on and on. The list can go on forever, am I right?

The best part

For me, spending time with dogs is an absolute privilege. I’m of the mind that they’re almost too good for us. They love unconditionally, make the best of friends, and teach you all sorts of things about yourself. They’re truly special.

Dogs are also great for both introverts and extroverts, they make great travel buddies, and they don’t put you in a bad mood. Dogs can help you meet people (or repel them, whichever is your preference), help you clean up dropped food, and will watch all the same tv shows as you.

Because there are so many great things about dogs, there’s one huge counterbalance that makes things suck about dogs. And it makes for the worst part about being a dog photographer.

So, what is it?

The worst part

The worst part about being a dog photographer is that at some point you have to say goodbye to them.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a lot of good dogs throughout my life, and certainly know more now that I work with dogs. As a result, I have a lot more dogs I’ll have to say goodbye to at some point in the future.

The specific loss I feel when a dog crosses the rainbow bridge will never match that of the dog’s parents. But just like anybody that has known a dog that passes away, it really sucks to know they’re gone.

When I receive an inquiry for a session, I do all I can to learn about the dog. I go through social feeds to look at all the pictures and read about them in my session questionnaire. I then finally get to meet the dog for the session and spend countless hours staring at photos while I edit them. Even afterwards, I always try to follow and keep track of what the dog is up to.

Even though I only was able to meet that dog once, they have a piece of my heart.

Because of my affinity for senior pups and the package I offer to help honor those pups, I have a lot of sessions with senior dogs and dogs with a terminal diagnosis. And with that, of course, means I’ve seen a lot of rainbow crossings that come sooner than later.

It’s not just the pup that makes me feel helpless – it’s also the parents I’ve developed relationships with that are now grieving. I’ve been in their shoes enough times to know how much it hurts. And because I’ve been in their shoes, I’m always there for them.

While the passing of a dog is an unfortunate part of their life, the best we can do with what’s left is look back on our memories and celebrate the time we shared with them.

I find solace in the fact that my photography helps families re-live those memories and forever celebrate their pup. If I’m able to bring a smile to someone’s face 20 years from now, I’ve done my job.

At the end of the day, I love that I have the opportunity to know these pups in the first place. Every dog is special. Every single one.

This post is dedicated to Archie, Finley, Golding, and all of the other adventure pups we’ve lost over the years.

Hug your pups extra tight tonight for them.

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