I’d never met Coco, the 6 year old Rottweiler until we did this photoshoot together, but I had an idea of how big a part she was in Claire and Ed’s life. Claire was always posting photos of their adventures together, beach walks, woodland walks, pub visits and everything else you can imagine doing with your friend or with a dog. I’d known Coco had been recently ill with an osteosarcoma and she’d had one of her hind legs amputated, but she’d taken it in her stride and was getting around ok with her three good legs and her prognosis had been good. Unfortunately, the cancer had spread to her lungs and Claire and Ed were given the sad news that she would eventually succumb to the disease. Claire took the tough decision to stop Coco’s chemotherapy medication and let Coco enjoy whatever time they had left together, whilst going anywhere and everywhere together and capturing it all.
When I found out about this I suggested we did a photoshoot together, and take some photos of Coco with Claire and Ed. I decided, partly due to the weather at the time to do the photos as a studio shoot. I knew Claire had taken so many photos of Coco on the beach where she loved to be but I didn’t want my photos to compete with those memories. I thought a studio style shoot would give Claire and Ed some photos of Coco totally different to what they already had, and also provide another adventure for them together.
I’m a professional wedding photographer and usually photograph my clients interacting with each other and I did wonder how I’d get on photographing a dog in a studio environment but the relationship between Claire and Coco was wonderful to see. Once Coco was lying down where she was comfortable after sliding around on my paper backdrop she was far more at ease and she loved having Claire lying next to her.
We then got Ed in, for some family photos of the three of them. It turned to me to keep promising Coco going for walkies, to grandma’s for some chicken. Every time this got her attention and she did some great head tilts for me.
Ed often gave up his seat on the sofa so Coco could sprawl out and relax on her back. Tired after a day of stealing Claire’s socks and ripping up toilet rolls! Claire got Coco as a 8 week old puppy and in the 6 years she rarely spent any time alone, she’s spend the day with Claire’s aunt or Ed’s mam whilst Claire and Ed were at work so she was a very sociable dog, who loved people and the attention they lovingly gave her. She also loved the chicken, biscuits and kebab meat people gave her too!!
Coco passed away two days after our photo shoot together.
Anyone who knows Claire knew how much Coco meant to her. Our studio time showed me that the reverse was also true, and hopefully it shows in my photographs how much Claire meant to Coco.
I always try to take photos that mean something to some one, I’m grateful that Claire and Ed chose to spend a little bit of their final times with Coco with me so that we could create some lasting memories of the love that they shared.
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