Posts Tagged Ginger Sessions
March 29, 2013

Meet Big Joe Louis Boxer, but you can just call him Big Joe.  Unless of course, he decides to be an 80+ pound lap dog, and then you call him anything you like as long as you’re giving him some love.  Pretty cute don’t you think?  Big Joe joined the McMillan family a couple of years ago when his original owners fell on hard times.  But if you ask Big Joe, he thinks it was fate.  Because at the same time his owners had to tearfully make the decision to give him up, the McMillan family was also looking for another boxer to complete their pack.   When Tracy, Greg, Angus and Amber met Big Joe, well, you can say they all knew there was no chance they’d ever leave without him.

Big Joe settled into the McMillan’s life quickly and became a family member instantaneously.  In his new home, along with his human family, he also had a new boxer sister, Amber and chickens.    The McMillans quickly found out that Big Joe barks like a Chewbacca from Star Wars and makes them laugh on a daily basis with his Chewy sounds and wiggly boxer moves.  According to his parents, Big Joe is a big love bug and loves nothing better but to crush mom, Tracy, at night when he ‘shares’ the bed.   However, knowing Tracy, and how much she loves this big boy, I know she doesn’t really mind.

So knowing the McMillan’s love for Big Joe, it was a very sad day when we talked about his Ginger Session.

In January Big Joe had to have emergency surgery to remove a large mass on his spleen (and the spleen itself).  To his families horror, the mass was malignant and was diagnosed as hemangiosarcoma.   The prognosis was bad.  And short.  So, after much research, soul searching and wanting the best for his quality of life, his family decided against chemotherapy and have decided instead to overdose him with daily love for the rest of the days of his life.

I knew as soon as I met him that Big Joe is an amazing dog.  He has a gentle, deep soul that is apparent in his handsome brown eyes.  When I was photographing him, I felt like I could just melt into those big brown eyes.   I think he was trying to tell me to let his family know that he’s going to be OK after his body wears out on this Earth.  I also think he wanted me to tell his family that he’ll always be nearby as their own personal guardian angel.   You see, Big Joe know the truth, love never dies.  It’s always deep in our heart and if close our eyes, we’ll feel it all around us.

I’m so happy that we got to get some great photos of Big Joe.  I know that his family will love them in the years to come when they tell funny, heartfelt, happy stories about the big, gentle, Chewy sounding, wiggly butt giant named Big Joe Louis Boxer.

~ Melissa

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.  ~Gilda Radner

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March 30, 2012

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, Filling an emptiness we don’t even know we have.”  ~ Thom Jones

The day we announced our Ginger Sessions, photo sessions for terminally ill pets, I got an email from Christine DeAngelis.  Her sweet pup, Bloom, had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and would soon pass.   With a heavy heart, Kristen and I met Bloom and her family just a couple of days later.   As we walked up to the family, Christine’s little girl, Kaya, came up to us with teary eyes and told us, “I told Bloom that she’s too beautiful to go bye-bye…”.  At that moment, I wasn’t quite sure I could pull myself together enough to do the shoot, but then I thought of this young girl in 40 years, showing her own kids photos of her first dog, Bloom.   And then I imagined her telling stories of Bloom and her growing up together, and those stories that unravel from looking at photos are what keep memories alive.

Arizona Dog Photography


I asked Christine if she would like to share more about Bloom’s story, so her sweet words are below:


“Our family had just moved to the White Mountains, Arizona from Phoenix in 2005. We purchased a house on 5 acres of land which was located on the outskirts of Show Low. The kids did not have any friends yet, and we lived on land that was known as coyote territory. We decided to head down to the local White Mountain Animal Shelter to adopt a large dog to help the kids adjust to our new surroundings, and give me peace of mind when John was out of town on travel nursing jobs.


Arizona Dog and Pet Photography


The whole family headed down to the animal shelter, and we were excited to pick out our family pet. I told the kids we were only picking out one large dog for our family. While we were walking a few dogs around the yard, and trying to decide which one to choose. The kids were taking turns looking at the puppies in their kennels. The kids saw a cute little Dachshund mix Jack Russell Terrier that was only 6 weeks only. They all wanted to hold her. I didn’t see the harm in that. She was so small, cute, and smelled like a baby.


Arizona Pet Dog Photography


We had decided on a black Labrador mix and then it was time to leave. Our boys Sage and Remy said good bye to the little puppy their were playing with, but Kaya our 3 year old daughter wouldn’t let go of her. We tried to pry the puppy out of her arms but she was holding the puppy so tightly I thought she was going to choke it. Kaya cried, and kept saying “Please mommy, please daddy!   Then the boys joined her and began begging us to take her home as well. That was it, John and I caved and that is how Bloom became a member of our family.


We have had Bloom for 6 years.  Sage our oldest son named her after a cartoon character. Bloom loves to explore, run and chase rabbits. She would bring home baby rabbits in her mouth, and mother them. She was a born mother at heart. She is a patient dog too that did not mind when Kaya dressed her up in her clothes or paint her nails with polish. Bloom just loves being with her family, and follows the kids around on they daily adventures. Bloom has brought so much joy into our family life, and I can’t imagine having a better and more loving family pet.


Arizona Dog Pet Photography


Bloom was recently diagnosed with lung and liver cancer a few weeks ago. Telling the kids was one of hardest conversations we had to have with them. There were lots of tears, and sadness in our house. Everyone’s heart feels heavy. We love Bloom so much, and it’s hard to let her go. We decided to have a birthday party to celebrate all the years we did not have one for her. My mother cook a whole steak especially for her birthday party, and the whole family celebrated with cake. In addition we want to have the kids pictures taken with Bloom to honor her memory in our home.  I am so thankful to Melissa and Kristen for offering Ginger Sessions. This made the kids feel at peace because they knew they would have beautiful photographs of them with Bloom to cherish for years to come. As a mother, it’s hard to see your children in pain, and I am so grateful to be able to give this gift to my kids.” ~ Christine


Arizona Dog Pet Photography


I was so happy that the DeAngelis family called us for this session and that we were able to get these beautiful photos of Bloom and her family.  And Kaya, you are correct, Bloom is much too beautiful to go bye-bye.  But sometimes, the heavens need the brightest star to light up the skies.   I try and remember that when I look up at the stars at night, all those stars are there watching over us.


Much love to you and your family, ~ Melissa


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