I never wanted a dog
I didn’t want a dog. I have to confess to that. There were no yearnings for a best friend. Not once. I had no sentimental urges to personify an animal. I’d no interest in Black Beauty. I didn’t want to curl up in a sleeping bag with Timmy from the Famous Five. I couldn’t even fathom why people had dogs. I thought they were hairy, stinky animals who curled up on the couch when you weren’t looking.
So when I looked at dogs I thought “Yikes!” Yikes because I’d once run, adrenalized, through the fields as a teenager, away from what seemed to be a rabid wolf. Dogs saw you as prey, I thought, and given the chance, they would bite you. Wasn’t that a sign that dogs and I would never be friends? That some people are dog people and some people are….well some people are not?
And it would have stayed that way. I would have been happy without the chewed up rubber balls and the hellish mess in the garden. Only trouble was, my son Aiden had a dog shaped hole that just had to be filled. He asked if he could have a dog and I said yes, but only at a future date. And then I forgot all about it.
Then Aiden found Amber
I have to admit I was surprised when Aiden found Amber and fell in love with her. “She’s kind.” He said. “And she’s friendly. She is a very special dog.” Hmmm. She was beautiful. She was a trained Belgian Shepherd, too gentle to work as a security dog, and I had to admit I could see what he saw in her. People tell you, when raising a child, that there will be times when you have to choose between empathy and turning away. I didn’t want to turn away.
I couldn’t take it back
I couldn’t believe I was going to do it. I had a sense of unreality about the whole situation. But there was no going back. You can’t say to a small boy, a small boy counting the days until his dog comes home “Oh, ha ha, Daddy was only joking….I’m really not sure….” I could imagine him telling his future therapist “He said we could have a dog and then he TOOK IT BACK!!!”
Worse still, I could imagine the look on his face. I imagined the disappointment and the disgust and then the quiet disbelief that I would let him down so deeply. I would have to be an egomaniac to go back on my word like that. I kept to my commitment!
Amber came and everything changed
So Amber came to live with us. Aiden adored her from the very first. I was the one often alone with her. She’s golden haired, gentle eyed and perpetually playful. She will wander around with a ball in her mouth for hours. …or half of a ball. And she loves my clients. One of the happiest moments in her day is an alert that new people have come to visit. She’s called Amber, she was always called Amber, but I considered calling her Shadow because she’d follow me around all day.
Let’s just say I understand why dogs are man’s best friends. I know how many people do not understand this. I know because I felt that way too. I believed people project their own qualities onto their animals and personify them.
“She’s kind and friendly”…. “No, that’s you.”
“She’s beside herself when my husband goes away….” “Do you miss him?”….
Dog lovers would look at me with a faint feeling of disgust. As though I was mad! How could I not know!
“Peter is unreal, in every sense of the word. I could have never imagined the photos of my Yorkie turning out the way it did. I feel as if animals in general are a totally different ball game per say when it comes to photography, they move, act and just feel differently and to capture them in their element is a true art form.
Peter was perfect in every way during our session even when my usually well-behaved pooch decided to be stubborn he took it in stride and somehow made them look fabulous! I could sing his praises all day but I think more than anything his work speaks for itself and shows the talent he truly has!”
There are cat shaped holes too
It is no surprise that cat lovers are always depicted to be lonely and reclusive. As a dog owner, people speak to you in the park. They are friendly. People believe that by owning a dog, you are as bright, bubbly and affectionate as your pet.
AA Gill, the incredible writer, on e asked why our species gets a dog shaped hole, rather than a sloth shaped hole, or a beaver one or one shaped like Noah’s Ark. I don’t know. All I know is that this is what Aiden had, and that it seems, in the end, I had one too.
Evidence of my extended family is shown through my photography, through pictures of a boy with his dog, and through pictures of the dog herself. She’s captured my heart as I am sure your pets have captured yours.
I don’t know if you have a dog shaped hole, a cat shaped hole, or even a tortoise shaped hole. As a pet photographer I don’t care. I’m here to record the celebration and the joy your pets bring to your life. Long may it last!