Before I quit my job to become a full-time photographer, I had a few really great coworkers (not many, mind you, but a few…ok, maybe a couple) and Rusty is one of them. We’d trade dog stories; at the time, my stories were all about Buzz, Lola, and Gracie, and his were mainly about Nacho, his Chihuahua. Now, even at the time I was pretty sure that Nacho was an elderly little man, and a crabby one too, but I think that’s just how I think of all Chihuahuas in the back of my mind. Old and crabby. Probably because I’ve rescued a few and that’s how they’ve always been (one in particular off Western Avenue in Gardena at 5pm on a workday, and if you live in the area you know how totally insane it is that a 4lb. dog could dodge certain death for even a few minutes).
Anyway, I’ve been offering to come and take pictures of Nacho for years, but then I left that company and Rusty and I lost touch. Enter Facebook, Hello! Here come all those people I used to really like hanging out with while dodging work (and guess what? They’re still good for just that reason!), and Rusty and I connected again, and again came my offers to come and photograph Nacho. But by then, I really really wanted to meet Nacho. He seemed larger than life (even though he’s quite petite), this ancient little dog who knew how to keep on keepin’ on. We scheduled and rescheduled several times because Jack got sick, but eventually I made it to his (much closer) apartment and I finally finally got to shoot Nacho.
Turns out, Nacho *was* old when we were talking about him all those years ago. So now, he’s super old. He can’t really move around a lot, he likes his crate and his bed and he likes to just be. So there would be no posing, obviously; I had a short amount of time and a very limited range. I think this is the reason a lot of people with older animals don’t get their photos done; they think that the dog is just too old.
Your dog is never too old to get good portraits! That’s important, so I’m going to repeat it. Your dog (or cat, or whatever beastie you love) is never too old to get good portraits!! In fact, the older your animal is, the more important it is to schedule that time, so get on it, whether it’s with me or not, it’s super important and you’ll treasure those photos once he/she is gone.
Back to point: you can get really lovely photos from your senior pet, and they don’t have to be action photos, or outdoors, or even in different locations. Sometimes, snuggle time is the right time to get the most meaningful photos.
Here are some from Rusty and Nacho’s session. That other dog with the Sister Bertrille ears is Iris. She’s a doll, but Nacho clearly knew that this was his moment in the limelight and he didn’t really want to share.
(ps: I’m serious about getting photos with your senior animal…it’s so so so important. Don’t keep putting it off!)