I received an e-mail from Debbie who is the director of K9 Kindness in Davenport Ia about doing photos of her dog Hunter. She sent a very detailed e-mail of all of the health problems that Hunter has faced through his life along with photos of him sick and in his recovery. I was honored to have the opportunity to serve Hunter and his mother.
Hunter originally was suppose to be a retrieving dog for Debbie's son who wanted him to duck hunt. It was quickly learned that Hunter wasn't a Hunter at all, in fact he was scarred of the gun shots. Hunter became Debbie's dog and their bond is very tight.
Instead of trying to tell Hunter's story in my own words I'm going to copy part of the e-mail Debbie sent me.
"Hunter has pure red cell aplasia, a rare blood disorder that kills the immature red cells before they enter the blood stream. We learned this around Christmas of 2009. My vet said, sorry, you might have 2 weeks left, if you are lucky. Several phone calls to the best specialists in the country, and driving through a blizzard to a Des Moines vet specialist, 2 blood transfusions, enough prednisone to make his head cave in, and then the reactions to all the meds....inability to empty his bladder, not able to get up and walk, swollen feet, not able to close his eyes or blink....and we thought we had made it over the hump.
We were wrong.
His red cell count plunged again in the fall of 2010. Another specialty clinic, 2 more transfusions, total loss of muscle mass (could not stand or walk), syringing water into his mouth, giving IV fluids, fever, pneumonia, joint swelling, and we made it. I prayed. I sent out emails to everyone to pray. People from coast to coast were praying. I cried all the time, but kept praying. I took him out in a sling (all 80 lbs of him) 4-5 times a night to go to the bathroom in below zero temps (he couldn’t walk). I was tired, but I did not give up, and neither did Hunter. 3 times we thought we might have to put him down, but his thumping tail and bright eyes let us know that he was not to be counted out yet. And we got a new veterinarian, Rob Garro, from Animal Family in Davenport, who researched Hunter’s disease and worked up the treatment plan for him. My faith walk with Christ grew tremendously through all this, and today, Hunter, although he has arthritis and is now getting pretty gray, is 10 years old and sleeping on his bed next to me as I type this. He charms everyone he meets to this day. His tail never stops wagging, and he LOVES swimming, fetching toys and tennis balls (although he can’t rum very far), and tummy rubs."
Hunter is a great dog! He's very calm and moves a little slow but he knew when to lay down and how to pose for his photos. I know that the photos I took of Hunter will be cherished by me and Hunter's family for years to come. There were kids and other people around while we were doing the photo shoot at Vander Veer park and Hunter just minded his own business and kept his mind on task. The bond between Hunter and his mother is strong and very obvious. Debbie told us all about Hunter's struggles and I was just in aww that one dog could go through so much and come out the other side.
My wife and I really liked Hunter and his mother and are both very happy we got to meet them. A lot of people wouldn't or couldn't put the time or financial responsibility in that Hunter needed to live and Debbie showed me that she isn't most people.
Vander Veer park was the setting we used for this photo session and I really like that park. There's lots of great settings for photos and the park is kept in nice condition. I'm looking forward to shooting there again and I already have some ideas in mind for the next session. This session ran for just a bit over an hour and I was happy with the number of good photos that I got from the session.
If you are interested in your dog having their own photo session please contact me. Johnwangelin@gmail.com or 309-335-0078. You can also message me through the website.
Author's note: The first 2 photos were provided by Hunter's mother Debbie and some of the text from the e-mail she sent was used in this blog post.