© Heidi Marcinik—All content and images . Powered by Blogger.

Transcending the Grief of Losing A Pet: A Bucket List Celebrates Life

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My dog, Josie, was a New Year's Eve puppy, and she would have turned 10 years old this past New Year's if the disease hadn’t taken its toll on her. When Josie exhibited unusually sick symptoms, I quickly took her to see our vet. Lab results reported chronic kidney disease, and my heart sunk to, what I thought at the time––a point of no return. The connection shared between Josie and I felt atypical regarding a human-animal bond––even the animal communicator we visited sensed the bond between us. To think of losing her ‘soon’ to kidney disease wasn’t something I was ready to hear or think about, let alone accept.

I remember feeling numb with grief and could hardly look at her without knowing I’d be saying goodbye much too soon. Surprisingly, there was a turning point in this grief process that made all the difference in preparing to say goodbye. I no longer recall how the idea came to me; one day I decided to make a bucket list of things to do with Josie while she could still enjoy life. I knew this would allow me to move beyond the grief and celebrate our time together right now––now is all we had.

It almost goes without saying that being a pet photographer photographs were an immediate priority. They were no fuss photographs; they captured her as she was right then and there. That’s what was important to me. I gave myself permission to photograph the good times and the not so good times as I wanted the photos to reflect real life. As difficult as it was, I even photographed her last day living on this earth doing what she loved to do––sunbathe.

Once the bucket list contained some of my initial ideas, I shared it on Facebook encouraging my friends to add their own thoughts. Many jumped at the opportunity and suggested practical and humorous thoughts such as: making a debut on the cover of a dog calendar, eating cat poop, enjoying a huge bone, traveling to NYC, swimming, exploring local wildlife areas, visiting drive-thrus that hand out dog treats, and the list goes on. Engaging my friends in this way was very enjoyable and comforting, and the feeling of support was immeasurable.

Pet Friendly Embassy Suites
At the top of this bucket list, however, was my personal desire to bring Josie to see the ocean and run the beach for the first time. So friends and I headed to the east coast beaches where Josie not only ran on the beach, but also met a few long-time friends and family members (with a surprise introduction to a family member’s cat!). A few months later, when it came time to say goodbye to Josie, I was thankful for my friends and family to have had the chance to meet her and know how important she was in my life. 

Everyone has his or her own way of dealing with grief and loss; some of you may find this idea very helpful in transcending the grief of losing a pet––I certainly did. Creating the bucket list helped me move from grief to celebrating the remaining time I had with Josie. While I still have the ache in my heart, I always carry those bucket list moments that made all the difference in the world––our little world.

Website: www.sundogpetphotography.com
Visit me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sundogpetphotography
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sundogpetphotog

(c) 2012 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Heidi Marcinik.

Wild Mustangs in the Flint Hills of Kansas

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Flint Hills in Kansas are the home to thousands of wild mustangs who live out their days on privately owned ranches. Fortunately, there are public roads cutting through the ranch land allowing the opportunity to observe these beautiful horses...if they happen to be in an area viewable from the roadside.

It's been on my photographic to-do list — to take a day trip to see and hopefully photograph these wild mustangs. There was no guarantee the herds would be close enough to photograph. It was high noon when a fellow photographer friend and I arrived in the area...not the best light, really, but I thought any photograph is better than no photograph. I was really going more for the experience of seeing these amazing animals. If a photographic opportunity presented itself, I'd certainly take it.

I believe the universe was on our side because we came upon two herds that were in range of our zoom lenses. Here are some of my favorites.

Website: www.sundogpetphotography.com
Visit me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sundogpetphotography
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sundogpetphotog

(c) 2012 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Sundog Pet Photography.

Pet Photography Adds Charm: Westie Bath Series

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I'm excited to remodel the bathroom which includes replacing the existing tub with an antique claw tub from the early 1900s. Such a historical treasure really deserves to be the focal point of the room, and I'm looking forward to having that added charm transform the space.

Of course, a room doesn't have to undergo a major remodel in order to make it your own. Adding new accents to a room can lighten and freshen it up and applying a new wall color can further that personal style and taste. Changing out wall art, or making your own is another way that brings your style into the space. Any of these decorating changes can be great conversation pieces with your visitors and will likely spur other ideas.

So, still feeling inspired by the New Year as a time to work on my own creative projects, I grabbed my dog for a quick session focusing on bath photos. It was bath day anyway, and the natural light entering the large block window was incredibly bright yet soft and beautiful -  ideal light for a series on bathing dogs.

Below are some of those photos. While these may not be my final choice by the time the remodel happens (photos of them in the antique tub surely would be charming), they make me smile and, in the meantime, will add that personal charm to the room.



Website: www.sundogpetphotography.com
Visit me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sundogpetphotography
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sundogpetphotog

Clever and Creative Holiday Pet Photos

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another year of successfully NOT photographing pets with a Santa hat.  Don't get me wrong — pets are cute with a Santa hat, and I *almost* succumbed to that photographic solution myself. It's just that it's an overused concept, and as a designer and photographer, the expectation is to find new creative ways to a visual solution. Someday, I may eat my words (as is often the case in life :), but for now I accept the personal creative challenge to find more clever and creative ways to photograph (my) pets for the holiday than resort to the Santa hat.

Christmas 2011 proved to be that challenge. My idea was to photograph my dogs depicting holiday related themes. I challenged myself to fairly simple ideas that could be photographed on a daily basis with minimal set up.

Click here to buy my holiday images as cards from my Fine Art America page here.

Here are some of my favorites:

I own a cairn terrier — a.k.a. "Toto" dog — and in lieu of "photos with Santa" I chose to photograph him with someone more familiar...Photos with Tin Man :)

Cairn Terrier Holiday Photo with the Tin Man
The Tin Man can be found in Clifton Square in Wichita, KS outside of All Things Floral located at 3700 E Douglas Ave Ste 1, Wichita, KS 67208

Inspired by the lyrics from The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) - "Every mother's child is going to spy, to see if reindeer really know how to fly."

There's the holiday labor of love in writing and sending Christmas cards...

The trimming of the tree...

Christmas shopping at the Karg Art Glass Gallery in Kechi, Kansas...

No holiday would be complete without reading, "Twas the Night Before Christmas..."

...or singing our favorite Christmas carols - in this case "Silent Night" :)

Well all know the feeling of not wanting to wait until Christmas to dig into our goodies!

...and leaving goodies out for Santa Paws.

I had hoped for snow in order to create other holiday shots, but there wasn't any this year. Therefore I had to make do with what I had on hand for this final photo.

So you see, there are plenty of other holiday ideas for pets rather than the common use of a Santa hat. Little did I realize what I would accomplish when I set out to do this project. It was a belated idea that engendered a new sense of holiday spirit.

All images ©2011 Heidi Marcinik - Sundog Pet Photography. All Rights Reserved. No image may be copied or reproduced in any manner without expressed permission of Heidi Marcinik.

Happy New Year 2012!

I love new years. They are times where I feel a sense of renewal, and am ready to create, grow, and try new and different things. It's a time for discovery. This year, I'll discover what it's like to be a photographer who "writes" a blog. My professional writing friends have my admiration for their cleverness in wit with language. I'm completely in awe of their articulate and powerful writing; I prefer communicating with visual images.

This year I will try something new...blog...and see what I discover.

Happy New Year!

Most Reading


Blogger news