As a pet photographer, one of my passions that drives me the most is capturing the bond people have with their pets. If you are a pet lover like I am, then likely your phone is filled with endless snapshots of your pets. But how many beautiful images do you have of you with your pets, images that capture your unique relationship that is like no other?
Meet Spike and his girl Sarah. These two have long been a staple at Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, and are dear friends of mine. Spike helped his mama save the lives of many, and he took his job as a Perpetual Protector Of The Kittens very seriously.
Blessed with a gaggle of special-needs rescued pets — despite being the oldest at 18yrs of age — Spike was always Sarah’s healthiest and her rock. There was a long running joke that Spike was like a cockroach and that nothing would take him down. He would outlive us all!
So that’s why when Spike had a vascular event that he was unable to recover from, it hit hard.
We quickly scheduled a Rainbow Bridge session. I met Sarah and Spike at their house and then we went to a nearby park. Spike was unable to walk by this time, and so Sarah carried him throughout the park, not once showing fatigue despite his heavier size. True love is strong.
Spike was later released from his failing body, in a beautiful place surrounded by all those who loved him, including myself. Here is what Sarah had to share:
“My sweet Spike. Yesterday I laid to rest my champion, my protector, my goof, my boy. An underdog in every sense of the word. Nearly 8 years ago, Motley Zoo Animal Rescue brought into my life a feisty 10-year-old foster dog surrendered by a frat house. A year and no inquiries later, he became my own.
My all-American bruiser boy was devoted to his momma from the very start, learned to tolerate his brother Charlie, and filled every space he entered like a shiny disco ball with his gregarious presence (and maybe some pee).
He didn’t like to share, but he loved being a part of mom’s animal rescue mission. (Maybe he liked scoring brownie points, or maybe he just hoped he’d score brownies?)
He helped to foster more than 200-or-so dogs and cats, though he loved kittens more than anything else. Every time I fostered little ones, he appointed himself Perpetual Protector Of The Kittens with the diligence of a guard on duty at Buckingham Palace. He schooled rowdy puppies in how to win at barking and be the best at peeing on things, and he let seniors sleep in his soft-bedded crate without complaint. He was champion snuggler, a passionate foodie (bacon and gizzards were perennial favorites) and battled illnesses with such ease he became known as the dog made of steel.
Now he’s gone. His spirit was set free.
He died in my arms, in the yard where my dear friend’s dog Zelda is buried. The sun was bright, he had just eaten an apple fritter and he was surrounded by his people, his rescuers — his family.
He left this world as I met him … with an ornery, unapologetic spirit full of feisty goodness, dignity, loyalty, perfect comedic timing, profound devotion and love. So much love.
My darling Spike, may all the pets we’ve lost before be there to greet you at the Rainbow Bridge. May there be an endless supply of pepperoni, warm sun for napping, soft blankets and knee-high fields of unkempt grass perfect for mid-day snacking. May you always have landscaping to pee on, and maintenance men to chase.
RIP sweet Spike. I love and miss you deeply.”
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
– Winnie the Pooh.