Do you have a pet who is chronically ill? Even if the answer is no, have you ever let the horrific thought of losing your pet cross your mind? Most pet owners assume their furry children will have a typical lifespan correlating with its particular breed and size. However, we don't plan on something tragic occurring, such as being hit by a car, running away or being diagnosed with incurable diseases such as canine lymphoma or other types of cancer. Unfortunately, in my journey as a pet photographer, I have learned many people do not realize the importance of capturing their furry child (professionally) on camera until it's too late. Or they wait until their pet is too sick or increasingly aged and wouldn't want them documented in such a weak physical condition. To see memorial blog posts of all the pets I have photographed that have passed, click here.
I recently was given the honor to photograph TJ's boxer, Sugar Ray, on his last day on earth before he crossed the rainbow bridge. TJ and his sister Stacy have written some touching words about their experience and I hope you will read these heartfelt stories and reflect on your own pet and their life. Even if it's not me that you choose to document your pet, please consider having your beloved companion photographed by a professional. Our pets are priceless and can never be replaced. However, photos are really all we have left when they have crossed over and can help us remember and cherish our pets for a lifetime.
From Sugar Ray's Daddy, TJ Johnson
Losing your pet is not easy, especially when you are out of the country and have been away from your pet for 4 months. When I got word that Sugar Ray had lymphoma, I immediately prepared myself for the toughest decision you have to make about your pet. Do you spend a lot of money and keep them alive, or do you listen to your pet´s heart and soul and let them go? I chose to let him go as his cancer was in a severe stage & he didn't deserve to suffer. My family, caring for Sugar Ray while I was away, was devastated, as he was my furry kid in the USA. He had my spirit and was a good protector and companion to my parents and family while I was gone. When I decided to put him down, my sister arranged an emergency meeting with Jennifer and the photos she took made me realize I was doing the right thing. She captured his spirit that night before we put him to sleep and I cannot thank her enough for the effort she put forth. If you love your pets as much as I loved Sugar Ray, you need to use her services, because as I learned, you never know what might take place. I am in debt to her for helping me cope with the loss of my best friend and loyal companion, Sugar Ray - and am very grateful for her generosity, her time, & going above and beyond for me and my dog. Sugar Ray touched so many lives throughout our many travels across America in our almost 9 years together. He made everyone smile & brought joy to so many, & thanks to Jennifer, she allowed his spirit to touch many more lives even after he passed because of her talent for pet photography - capturing his true spirit & soul in his final hours. GRACIAS Jennifer!!!!!
From Stacy Johnson-Sweany, Shane & Emma Sweany & Richard & Martha Johnson
I found Jennifer Hague thanks to social networking, and just in time. My brother's dog Sugar Ray had just been diagnosed with lymphoma and it was a very late, severe stage. My brother works and lives in Mexico and had to leave his best friend & loyal companion of almost 9 years behind in the USA with our parents, until he could come back for him in a few months. After hearing of Sugar Ray's diagnosis and speaking to the vet, my brother made the painful decision to put him down. It was recommended the sooner the better due to how sick Sugar Ray was. He didn't deserve to suffer- not Sugar Ray. My brother asked us to put him to sleep on Saturday & he would Skype with us to tell Sugar Ray goodbye on Thursday night. Friday at work, I was on Facebook & immediately thought of Jennifer and sent her an "emergency" email asking if she had about an hour to capture Sugar Ray. I knew it was a long shot, but I received an immediate response. I was amazed at her prompt response & willingness to help me.
Sugar Ray was very sick, but had been on a medication for a few days that seemed to make him feel a little better, so when we got to the winery, he was in rare form and got to run free through the vineyards, and his spirit shined. Jennifer went above and beyond, not only for us, but for Sugar Ray, who was able to run free and be himself as we all knew him on his final day with us. We want to praise Jennifer and her talent & skill as a photographer, and her special way with pets. My brother will now have Sugar Ray's spirit forever captured. We are so thankful for Jennifer and her husband, Dan, who also gave up his time that evening & assisted Jennifer with the session - her generosity, talent, and professionalism we will be forever grateful for. Sugar Ray will never be forgotten and will live on in our hearts forever. If you have a pet, or not, you should make it a point to contact Jennifer. She is truly a blessing to all who meet her. Thank you Jennifer from the bottom of our hearts.