I seem to sense when it’s coming. I suppose being a veterinarian doesn’t help. Being friends on social media with past clients also keeps me updated on the health status of some of my past subjects – as was the case with Rusty. I often recognize that moment, while we’re all cheering for a dog to pull through, when I feel a small shift. A gut feeling. A feeling that sooner, rather than later, we’ll be saying goodbye.
I’ll admit I don’t stay in touch with all of my past photography clients. Many of them come into my life for a short while and then, understandably, drift away. After all, they hired me to provide a service – not to befriend them. But so many become lovely and good friends. I prefer to believe that bond of friendship develops almost exclusively because of the dogs.
As it was with Shawn and her boy Rusty. We first met Rusty during a barn session in late winter. You can see the results of that session here. He came to that session like a typical beagle – full of sniffs, adorable glances, and much enthusiasm!
We had so much fun, we welcomed Shawn and Rusty back that same fall – this time for a rollicking time through the farm property! Here is that session.
There have been so many more dogs in Shawn’s life – mostly beagles or beagle-mixes. She has a heart the size of South Carolina (she’s a Clemson fan) and gives so much to pets by opening her home to foster work. She recently brought home two “lab” beagles who she patiently taught the ways of the world outside of a laboratory. But her heart dog was Rusty.
To say he is missed wildly is a gross understatement. He was the “King,” the leader, the teacher. He gave every ounce of his heart to Shawn and her to him. Rusty lost his fight this weekend after an invasive surgical attempt to save it. To the very end Shawn gave everything for Rusty to have a chance. I know Rusty knew that. Rest in Peace sweet boy. You were one of a kind.