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another sad farewell ~ {tribute video, Toronto, Ontario pet photography}

this morning i want to share with you a slideshow i put together yesterday of Topolino.  this little man was one of the most incredibly well-loved scruffies i have ever met.  it was back in July of 2012 that i first met the amazing Topo and his equally amazing family … his strolling session through the park was one of my most memorable, due to Topo’s lovely and willing nature, but also through the laughter that Melanie and i shared throughout. Topo’s second session came after his difficult diagnosis of pancreatitis , and Melanie chose to bring her little man here to add even more wall pieces to her Topo gallery. Melanie is one of those clients i now consider a friend, and as such, i feel deeply for her loss today as she released her little man from his suffering. i know this struggle, this pain, and the emptiness all too well. i don’t wish it upon anyone, much less the amazing person and spirit i know as Melanie.

yesterday as i put together this video, drank my coffee out of the lovely Topolino ‘namesake’ ceramic cup that was given to me after our first session, my thoughts were firmly fixed on little Topo, Melanie and her entire family … and i cried as i imagined them letting go of him.  it’s one thing to connect with clients and their scruffies during their sessions … but that connection becomes even deeper during the hours of editing and working on the images of these faces, expressions, and movements of joy.  people always say that they believe they can see these dogs’ spirits and characters in the photos that i take … and i now realize that there must be some truth in that, since i DO feel i get to know these scruffies on an even deeper level through their images.

i miss the presence of little Topo on this earth, because while he was here i knew he was taking care of one of my favorite people.

Melanie, i know it may not feel like it, but i have to believe that our lost dogs stay with us.  that their spirit stays with us, surrounds us…  some people will tell you that when you think you see them out of the corner of your eye, lying in their favorite spot or walking into a room, they say that it’s really their spirit.  i’m a little more pragmatic than that; i’ve always believed it’s just the light teasing old habits from my eyes and memories out of my synapses.  but where i do see my Murph’s spirit every day, is in Merrick … and even Morley a little bit.  i believe that our dogs live on in our future dogs … and with our future dogs.

Topolino from illona on Vimeo.

i don’t think Melanie will mind me sharing her words here:
“I am surrounded by the awesome images you captured of Topolino over two sessions. I smile as I look through the many photos and remember. And I cry for the same reason. His spirit radiates from these pictures, a spirit that has been dimmed by pain and discomfort over the last few months.

I am comforted (somewhat) knowing we have made the right decision to end Topo’s suffering. We will be saying good bye to him on Saturday – a day I dread but knew was imminent.

Thank-you illona – for creating so many wonderful memories of my little guy – memories I will carry forever.”

please, whatever you do, please take photos and videos of your animals.  if it’s in your budget to hire someone to create artwork from photos of them, wonderful … but don’t be shy in taking photos of them yourself … crappy photos, blurry photos, funny photos … they will all mean something.  it is so very important to have a visual record of these incredibly important members of our families and our hearts, who are with us for far too short of a time.


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  • BrookeWhat a beautiful tribute to what was obviously a beautiful, and much-loved canine spirit. Our hearts go out to Melanie and her family for their loss.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret Chekouras DuerrThis was so incredible. What a beautiful tribute to a sweet sweet boy. His family will treasure these photos and this video forever.

  • Bobby ClarkBeautiful pics and video for a beautiful dog. Run free Topo!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie Pwow….such a sweet and special tribute to Topolino filled with love!ReplyCancel

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