THE BLOG
02/28/2016 07:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

When a Picture Is All You Have Left

2016-02-27-1456558561-114936-Hunter_HP.jpg

We all know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words," but we never quite realize how true that is until a picture is all you have left.

From the day our Shih Tzu, Hunter, was born, May 10, 2005, until that the day that he died, October 3, 2015, words cannot express the love I had for him. He was forever and always my "Little Angel Face" or "Munch-e-kins" or "Hunner Bunner."

A dog's love is unconditional, and often times taken for granted. They are there to greet you every time you come through the door. It doesn't matter if you had a fight with your colleague, or spilled coffee on your brand new dress, or ran out of gas on the highway and had to walk more than you're used to in order to get to the nearest gas station -- they greet you with tail wagging, tongue hanging, and a goofy grin on their adorable face. They can turn your frown upside down, and your bad mood to good, without you even knowing what hit you.

But as life takes its normal toll, and they age just as we do, eventually the day comes when we must say our goodbyes, whether we're ready to or not. It's in these moments that we take the time to reflect on the joy they brought to our lives and the way we want to always remember them. In my case, my fondest memory of Hunter is when he would lay on his back and move from side to side, like he was trying to scratch an itch but never could quite get it. Or in my husband's case, it was when Hunter would join him in the kitchen and I would hear him say, "one scoop of ice cream for me, and one scoop of ice cream for you" -- "one spoonful of peanut butter for me, and one spoonful of peanut butter for you." These are the times we will cherish the most now that our baby is gone.

But nowadays, what I'm most thankful for, is the photo shoot that I had done for Hunter back in 2009. These pictures are the way that I like to remember him, happy, healthy, and stubborn as all heck. These pictures, to me, are worth a thousand words, and continue to remind me that even though his body is gone, his spirit still lingers on.

My advice to all pet owners, who will eventually share my same heartbreak, is to make the time to take those photos that will get you thru the years to come. Whether its a photo shoot with a professional photographer, or a snapshot on your smart phone, the result is all the same. The memories will be preserved along with the emotions you felt the instant the camera lens clicked shut.

This blog was written by the co-founder of Petopia -- the Ultimate Information & Services Guide for Your Pets