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Everybody goes through heartbreaks, deaths and illnesses. But when you add that to school and photo assignments, sometimes working through the tears and pain is a struggle. If you do not have kids but you do have pets, than you know that your pets are your kids. You love them like they are your baby. No parent wants to say goodbye to their baby, which is why when pet owners have to put down a pet they are heartbroken because they just had to put down their kid. August 3 2001, my family picked up a 6 week old Beagle-Basset hound mix in Suffolk, Virginia; I was just 10 years old. I named him Boomer and treated him like a baby. I potty trained him, played with him, walked him, everything and anything I could do with him. Than we moved to Hawaii and I refused to move if Boomer did not get to go with us. Luckily he was able to come and live in the beautiful Aloha state.

Our young active hunting dog quickly adapted to the island lifestyle and became very lazy. Although he did not like the water, we still brought him to the beach a few times and with the help of a boogie board we got him in the ocean. Than we moved to Texas and he brought the Aloha lifestyle with him and continued to be lazy. He still loved going on walks and out to the country where he could smell out dears and other creatures. We adopted two more dogs so he could have friends to play with, but he was just so old, that he sometimes just wanted to sleep and not be bothered.

On April 24, 2014, my worst nightmare became true. He went on his normal walk, ate breakfast and was just being himself. But by the afternoon something changed and his health went south. We rushed him to the vets to get tests done to see what was wrong, but nothing was wrong. While we were at the office, he started having seizures and that’s when I knew I was not leaving the office happy. Since Boomer was my dog, my parents left the decision up to me – bring him home and hope he gets better over night or take him out of pain and put him down. He was just 13 years old when I had to say goodbye to my baby boy, to my four legged friend. We grew up together; we moved around together, we discovered life’s challenges together. I told him so many secrets; I would cuddle with him through the hard times. He knew when I was sad, sick or just not me. So when it came time to work on my homework assignments that following weekend, I found it nearly impossible to get out of bed. I spent the first two days crying and not eating. I felt guilty for ending his life, but knew it was time. With the help of my best friend, he was able to get me out of bed to photograph a soccer game that weekend, but they were not my best work. They were in fact the worst photos I think I have ever taken. I did not want to be around my other dogs or even pick up my camera.

About 3 weeks after his passing, I finally found the strength and support from friends to pick up my camera and get back to photographing. Everyone pushes me by saying “Boomer is watching over you” or “Boomer would not want you to be crying, he would want you to be out doing what you love.” Boomer was the true meaning of a girl’s best friend. Not a day goes by that I do not think of him. I work hard every day in his honor. He was always there for me when I had no one to really talk to, I could talk my problems out to him and eventually his cute brown eyes would make me forget about all my problems.

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