This is one of my favorite photographs.
I remember this day so well. Rhys had run through the morning frost with such joy. His body required that he adjust his gait and he wasn’t as fast as he was in his prime, and yet he moved with grace.
There is a series of photographs of him in the moments before this one where he is running while gleefully clutching a branch (because a stick is too small for a Dane). In some he is completely airborne. What a beautiful thing to see his body move in that way.
For years we associated Rhys with movement. He ran, he jumped, he wiggled. He loved motion.
As motion became more difficult for him, I saw more of what I had been blind to. I saw how much he loved us. Specifically, I saw how much he loved me.
I had seen his love for The Man for years. They had their own thing and we joked that Rhys was The Man’s dog. They were closely bonded.
This look, however . . . this one is all mine.
Here I see everything in our history. Every moment is right here.
This is why connection matters in art, whether it is photography or paint or sculpture or anything else. I feel so many things looking at this. That’s what makes it beautiful.
This is the kind of connection and reverence you already have with your animal family, and this is what shows up in documentary photographs. This is why me sitting with you on the floor and going with what ever is happening is much more valuable than setting up poses and props.
When you are ready for this kind of photograph of your own love, I am ready to give it to you. This is something you deserve to see.
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I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.