I didn’t grow up with pets – this is not a secret. I think my brother had 1 or 2 fish when he was in the third grade (I obviously wasn’t attached to them as they don’t stick out to me) but that was it. I pretended stuffed animals and other inanimate objects (ask me to tell you about the pool-noodle-horse) were live animals, and once-upon-a-time bought one of those ‘imaginary dog’ leashes at the local art festival. You know the kind… the ones that have structure – like there’s a wire in the ‘leash’ that holds it out at a curve… just the right height above the ground like you have an imaginary dog.
I even went as far as buying a leash (and maybe even a collar?) in hopes that I would come across some magical stray dog I would be able to keep. These items later became part of the ‘tack’ for the pool-noodle-horse.
It was simply part of the house rules – no animals.
Then I moved out. My first year away at college the ‘no pets’ rule was flexible to fish. So my roommate and I got an entire tank full. There was one fish who slowly killed off the rest of the school, and then (sadly) became mentally ill/narcissistic and killed himself. I’m not sure I still understand it, years later, and have no more scientific explanation for you… it just is what it is. The next year I lived in a single dorm setting and got a dwarf hamster. Parents, let me forewarn you, if you are thinking about letting your kiddos get one of these because they’re smaller (and therefore less of a mess) be very, very sure that you get a male. The pet-store attendant was sure mine (who never even got a name because she (yes, she) was so vicious) was male. She was not. The females tend to be aggressive.. and mine was no exception. Feeding her was a challenge and I had daily battle scars to prove it. We never became friends, and my pet luck was failing quickly.
During my junior year at school, I moved into an apartment with my high-school-best-friend. Having had terrible luck with my previous two pets, and no dog experience other than the minimal pet sitting (and babysitting for families with pets) I had done as a teenager, I figured it was time to get a dog.
Flash forward a couple of years and Brad and I started dating. Brad had a cat. I love both of our pets tremendously. We lost mini shortly after moving to Indiana. He stayed with us just long enough to flick massive amounts of litter all over the car as we drove cross-country from Colorado, and took advantage of traveling with plants (oh the things you can’t send on a moving truck) to consume as many leaves as possibly, while promptly vomiting them all over the car. Yay, roadtrips. I knew Mini wouldn’t live forever – he had lived a hard life in the beginning and had likely used up some of those 9 lives. He was old, he was overweight, and he was happy. What I didn’t expect is that losing him would be so devastating. Having not grown up with pets, I didn’t realize what effect they truly have on you… both when they’re here and when they’re not.
Needless to say at this point, Pogo, our dog, is a part of our family. I knew this before losing Mini, but it really hit home afterwards. I can now relate to and understand all you pet-parents who call these guys your furry kids. Pogo is far from perfect – the list goes on and on and is mostly due to my lack of experience in owning/training a dog prior to Pogo, but she’s perfect for our family. And it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that families with pets should include these family members in their photos.
I don’t have many photos of Mini – mostly because he was fast moving, hated the camera, and forever looked grumpy. Pogo, on the other hand, doesn’t mine the camera and has the most expressive dog-eyebrows of any K9 I’ve been in contact with. When she’s not here anymore (sad, but true… she’s getting up there) I want to be able to look back and laugh at all of these oddities that make her the most perfect doghter, as we like to call her. And so, The Pogo Project (as I’m calling it) has been born.
This project is for me, and I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of it with you along the way, but it’s also encouragement for all of you with pets to be more like The Kunz Family, Jordan & Daniel, or Olivia and get those furry babies into come photos with you. So for all my families with pets – I hope to see some of you this spring and fall…. let’s get the whole family into a photo, ok?
High five, everyone.
casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Family Photographer specializing in family, couple, lifestyle, senior, and wedding photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.