The photographs never taken

By Benny Huckleberry as told to Liz Hoffmann | Oct 11, 2019

I don’t know how you feel about photographs, but if you’re like my human, you have a lot of them. Even so, I bet there are some photos that you don’t have and wish you did. Maybe of a time in your life with someone, or someplace special that will never happen again? I know there are photos that my human wishes she had. And because of this, she went ahead and signed us up for a “photo shoot” of sorts. It seems that a local photographer was kind enough to volunteer her time for the day, in exchange for donations to a local animal rescue organization. The money would go to help rescue pups like me and Ilsa, and so my human was all for it. She told me and Ilsa that all we had to do was to show up at the studio, smile sweetly for the camera, and then magic would happen! Poof! Just like that, we’d have real, professional images that would showcase my spotted fur, Ilsa’s black lacquer-like coat, and our sweet, soulful faces.

My human also mentioned that it was really important to get good photos of Ilsa, since she’s getting on in years. She’s 11 1/2 and for a purebred German Shepherd, that’s not young. Her fur’s all gray around her muzzle, and I’m aware of how cloudy her eyes are. Sometimes her back legs give out, and she gets tired a lot. I never say anything and pretend not to notice, but of course I do.

That got me thinking about many years ago, when my human had a similar photo shoot planned for “Spanky.” Spanky was the 130 lb. pup that preceded me, and he was very important to my human. She told me that he was only 8 years old when she scheduled the photographer’s time, so it never occurred to her that it wouldn’t work out. But as fate would have it, the week before the appointment, there was a tragic turn of events. It was the Saturday morning just after his 8th birthday that Spanky collapsed. She rushed him to emergency where he passed on within the hour. It was due to a ruptured spleen that had an undetectable cancer. The veterinarian said that there was no way to have known. My human was beyond devastated and said that she’s never forgiven herself for not getting any good, professional pictures of him while he was alive.

It’s the pictures that were never taken, and that’s what this column is about. We all seem to think we have so much time to do the things we plan, but who really knows? I don’t mean to be sad, but rather be reflective. It’s precisely because we never know how much time any of us have, that we all need to love each other more, wag our tails more and do things together when we can. We dogs are really good at this, but you humans sometimes struggle. I see my human ruminate on the past, wish for things in the future, and often push through her days as if to get them over with. Just like many other humans who only “live for the weekends,” which I don’t like at all.

While I’d like to think that we can get all the photographs we want, whenever we want, I know that doesn’t always happen. So, it’s my belief that always showing who we love, just how much we love them, at every moment when we are together is the only way to go. And, perhaps by doing that, it will almost be, or maybe even better, than the perfect photograph. With love, Benny H.

Benny H. is a 6-year-old mixed-breed dog who enjoys writing, meeting new people, and providing companionship to his loving adopter, Liz Hoffmann. They live in Connecticut. Liz has extensive experience in sales, marketing, and opening her heart to shelter animals.

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