This week has been especially hard for me. I had planned my fantasy post around these images.

Instead, the fantasy theme came to mean something else to me this week. We said goodbye to two of our long term foster dogs. And so, this week’s theme of fantasy is particularly poignant.

Missy has lived with us for more than four years. She’s suffered from severe seizures for even longer. Over the years we managed Missy seizures with many medications and while we were never able to fully stop them, as she had breakthroughs anytime the weather changed or a storm came through, we were able to keep her comfortable.  Last Friday night Missy had three very long seizures and then passed away a bit later that night.

My fantasy for Missy was always that she would be happy and healthy and seizure free. All of my photos of Missy are snapshots as she was always on the move and never on to look when you called due to the brain damage from untreated seizures before being rescued, but this is my favorite photo of her. I hope that she has a big porch to lay on, plenty of sunshine, and nice breeze to enjoy now in a body that is no longer racked with seizures.

We also had to say goodbye to Archie this week. I think we all begin in rescue with the fantasy we can save them all. With enough love, enough training, enough medical help, we can make every dog whole. The reality is that we can’t.

Archie arrived after being abandoned in a dog park. Despite all efforts to find his owner’s no family came for him, and so we took him into rescue. Immediately we knew Archie was a very anxious dog. Archie’s first option when overwhelmed was a hard fast bite. We began working to rehabilitate him. We worked with our vet to rule out medical conditions and find medications, we worked with our trainer to teach Archie new coping skills, we had a consult with the behaviorist at the University. Unfortunately the consensus was all the same. Something was wrong with Archie and none of the medications or training or management could fix him.

I only have cell phone photos of Archie. I never felt safe enough to get down low with my big camera and him.

Making this choice for Archie is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in nearly 10 years of rescue. I am a fixer and I feel like I failed him while at the same time I know I tried everything I could.

So my fantasy for this week is that we can save them all. We can get rid of seizures and cancer and old age and mental illness and accidents and disease. So while I dream about that, I’m going to celebrate the ones we can save. I am going to enjoy every moment of happiness and each success with my dogs.

The Pet Photography Project 52 posts are part of a blog circle. To see what the next pet photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Fantasy” head over to Cheryl Gottschall – Gott Dog Photography in Raleigh, NC. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle and you’ll eventually find your way back here.