I have loved animals all my life. My house has not been without a pet for 20 years. We've seen all kinds, too: cats, dogs, birds, lizards, turtles, fish, mice. My dog Basil, though, was the first dog I adopted as an adult. He wasn't a family pet. I picked him out, I cared for him, I bought his fancy food and he took up a lot of space in my bed, and in my heart. For 4 amazing years, he was mine all mine.
Basil didn't have an easy life. Before I adopted him from Southampton Animal Shelter, he lived in an animal hoarder's apartment with over 100 other dogs, in disgusting conditions. His teeth had been ground to nubs, probably from trying to escape. He had scars, physical and emotional. The tip of one of his ears was missing, possibly from a fight with another dog. He was very anxious. I decided I wanted to adopt him when we went for a walk outside the shelter and he let out a happy howl. I fell in love with him while I was filling out the paperwork and he jumped into my lap, despite the plethora of laps in the room he could have chosen.
From that day, Basil was my constant companion. Since I work from home, I really do mean constant. Basil made me happy every day. I don't have the words to express how much he meant to me.
In February of this year, Basil was diagnosed with cancer. By the time he showed any symptoms, it was too advanced to treat. The vet sent me home to make him comfortable until it was time. We spent a few days checking off items from Basil's bucket list, and on February 18th, when Basil began to have trouble walking, I made the decision to let him go.
It will take a long time to get over the loss of my best friend. The one bright spot is that his death gave me clarity on something I have wanted for a long time: to expand my business into offering pet photography. I believe that pets are members of the family and should be memorialized as such. Now that he is gone, I treasure all the beautiful photos I took of Basil. Our pets stand by us through life and their portraits should hang on the walls next to ours as well.
I'm announcing this today for a special reason. April 3rd was the day the shelter told me that Basil arrived there from the horrible place where they rescued him. I figured that was the day he started his new life, so I decided back then that April 3rd would be his birthday. In the next few weeks, I'll be relaunching my website to reflect this new venture, but rest assured I'll still be serving my human clients faithfully. Follow my journey into pet photography on Instagram, and I'll be updating you here about my progress.
This is a new logo I will use for my pet photography. It's a sketch I did from my favorite photo of Basil, right down to the chunk missing from his ear.
To end, I'll urge you to give your pets a ton of hugs, and take a ton of photos while you're blessed with them.
As Anatole France said, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened".
I wholeheartedly agree.
Rest in Peace, Basil.