Rosabelle’s Farewell Session – When love means letting go
It's taken me a while to write this post because I felt like I had to share my own story of re-homing my dog Lily first. It took me from last February when we last saw Lily until the end of December to write Lily's blog post. Now that I've worked through those emotions, I am able to also share a similar story of one of my dear clients Jheri and her sweet girl Rosabelle. Jheri adopted Rosabelle as a puppy in early 2014. She was the last in the litter of white boxer puppies at a local rescue. She was the last because she was overlooked due to being deaf. Jheri says she knew Rosabelle was meant to be hers. "The night of February 1st, 2014 was when my life really began because that was the night my girl got to come home to her new family." I first met Rosie when she was three months old for her puppy photo session. I would continue to see her and Jheri at each year's SPCA Dog Walk and in the following years as Jheri added Anubis and Nava to the family. We kept in touch often. Rosabelle reminded me so much of my Lily who I always suspected was a white boxer/bulldog mix. They were about the same size an had many of the same silly quirks. They weren't easy dogs, but they were OUR dogs and we loved them fiercely. After countless medical procedures to help Rosabelle stay healthy, Rosabelle started to show concerning signs of aggression. Jheri worked relentlessly with her vets to try to find a solution. Jheri, as any pet parent would, struggled with how to determine what to do. How do you protect your family, be a responsible dog owner and do what is best for your pet? All questions I had to ask myself in dealing with re-homing Lily. Jheri and I talked often. It was suspected that Rosabelle had a brain tumor that could be the cause of her aggression. At that time, she knew she would have to say good-bye to her sweet girl. Jheri shares her story in a beautiful, honest and heart-breaking blog post, that provides more details than my condensed version above. I encourage you to read it, and a grab some tissues. Jheri scheduled a farewell session in early June. We both promised each other we wouldn't cry. At least not until the end. Rosabelle was always a little weary about people, especially new people, but always remembered me. Since her condition had worsened, I went to see her the day before our session in hopes that might make her more comfortable during our shoot. Thankfully she came right up to me, plopped her paws on my shoulders and licked my face. Yep, that's Rosie. The next day we had an entire county park all to ourselves. There were clouds and some light rain drops that created a beautiful and peaceful backdrop. We recreated a photo I took of Jheri and Rosabelle during their first session together. Rosie was relaxed, beautiful as always and went about a million miles an hour when we put a long leash on her and let her enjoy some zoomies. That face! At the end of the session the skies opened up and the three of us crammed into Jheri's truck. I enjoyed lots of licks and snuggles with Rosie and Jheri and I shared tears. Soon after our session, Jheri decided to euthanize Rosabelle. I had Rosabelle's session edited a few days later but didn't want to send it and have Jheri look at it alone. I texted her, grabbed a bottle of wine and my laptop and went to her place to look at the images together. We cried, we laughed and cried some more. There are a million quotes out there that try to define and explain love. None seem to come close to really put the weight, the burden, the joy and the sorrow of love into words that do it justice. For me, this first photo below is love. If somebody asked me what love looked like, I'd show them this photo.