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Jill Brown has over 15 years of experience in the field of photography. She has studied photography at Missouri State University and Maryville University, St. Louis. She spent time working on her personal fine art work for many years and in 2003 started her first wedding and portrait photography business in St. Louis, MO. Jill moved to Des Moines, IA in 2005 and has continued her wedding and portrait business along with her fine art photography. Jill currently has work displayed in and around the Des Moines area as well as work in personal collections around the world. Jill uses both medium format film cameras and digital formats to create her images. This is how the artist describes her work: “My work is a reflection of everyday life and places. I chose the medium of photography as a tool to capture the essence of the person or place. I create images to depict the subject as they are remembered in the mind. Not posed or unnatural, but as a window into the intimate world of the subject.” Jill Brown is a member of Professional Photographers of America.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rollercoaster Ride...

I must apologize and thank a couple of my clients.  They have been waiting very patiently for their weddings/portrait session to be edited and delivered.  Usually I get these things out much more quickly, but this last week has been quite crazy.

It started a week ago last Friday when I left at 4:00 pm from Des Moines, IA to head to St. Louis for the "Jill Brown Photography goes to St. Louis" weekend.  Mother Nature was not on my side.  It was rainy and cold the entire time I was there.  Two of the sessions cancelled and rescheduled for April... I don't blame them a bit!  The weather was so yucky!  The good outcome of the weekend was that I got to spend a lot of time with my family.  Yeah!  AND... I met with my niece to talk about her wedding next  month that I am shooting... yeah!  AND... I picked up a Quantum Battery and some "new to me" studio lights from a friend and photographer...yeah!  So, St. Louis averaged to be a good weekend.  :)

I headed back to Des Moines on Monday morning with plans of being home by 1:00 and spending literally the rest of the day editing the wedding and portrait session from the weekend before.  While driving home, my husband called and told me that he took our 9 year old Black Lab, Sam, to the vet.  He was worried about her and we've been talking lately that we should take her. 

Lately, she'd been gaining weight, but not eating very much.  She's had horrible, clear-the-room gas and she drinking water all of the time.  With in the last couple of weeks she was having a very hard time holding her pee throught the night no matter how late we let her outside or how early we would get up.  We had started to keep her in the kitchen at night just in case she had an accident. 

On Monday morning, Dave woke up and discovered that she had not only peed on the floor, but also took a poo.  She had blood in her poo... hence the reason to take her to the vet.  :(

Dave dropped Sam off at the vet.  They called us a little while later.  She said that she was unable to determine what was wrong with her, but that she may know more with a blood test and X-ray.  Of course we told her to go ahead and do both. 

I arrived home at 1:00.  By 2:00 we received a call that we could come get Sam.  I asked if the doctor was able to determine what was wrong... the woman on the phone said, "I'm sorry, but the doctor will have to talk to you about that."  Not a good sign.  I hung up the phone and Dave and I immediately headed to the vet's office. 

We got to the office and were put in a little room with a big TV that had X-rays on the screen and we waited...  The vet entered the room and talked to us about the X-rays.  She pointed out Sam's abdomen... and the fact that she couldn't make out many of her organs because she had too much fluid in her belly.  Sam hadn't been gaining weight... she had fluid in her belly.  She then pointed to some squiggly lines on either side of her belly.  "These are her intestines.  They are not supposed to be here.  They are supposed to be in the middle, here."  I'm getting very worried at this time...  I kinda started tuning out all the 'doctor talk'.  Bottom line...  she wasn't 100% sure what was wrong with Sam.  What she did know was the there was something in the middle of her abdomen that was pushing her intestines in the wrong place.  She did know that we could spend a lot of money we didn't have with no guarantee that it would fix her.  She did think that Sam had cancer...

My sweet, quiet, protective, loving, kind, beautiful Sam... had CANCER.  I couldn't keep it together any longer... neither could Dave.  She gave us our options and gave us time to talk.  We cried... and said that we couldn't make this decision.   It wasn't fair.  We were just taking her to the vet.  We never thought that it might mean that we would have to make THIS decision... not today.  We went back and forth on what to do... but it was clear what we should do... even though we tried to think of any way to not have to make that decision.  Neither one of us had ever had to do this before... Ultimately we decided that it would be selfish to not make the decision. 

Sam was so happy, but she wasn't healthy... and it wasn't fair to her to keep going like she was.  It would have been selfish for us to let her keep going.  We told the doctor of our decision.  She told us that she thought our decision was humane.  She tried to console us with her kind doctor-speak and told us that someone would be in and they would let us know where we could go to be with Sam in her final moments...

...Sam was lying on a steel table.  I'd wished it was something soft and comforting.  Her tail started to wag the moment we walked in, but she was wimpering... she did that when she layed on her side... I think it hurt her to lay on her side... and she was scared.  ...and we were scared for her.  Dave and I stayed right next to her.  Dave stroked her head and I kissed her nose and we both told her how much we love her and that she is the best dog in the world.  ...then she stopped wimpering... and closed her eyes...

She was gone... just like that... gone... my sweet, sweet Sam was gone...

... I was worthless the rest of Monday...  Tuesday wasn't much better...  Wednesday I managed to distract myself with preparing for Dave's birthday on Thursday and a visit from Dave's daughter.  ...Thursday I had lunch with my friend Becky and busied myself with work and Dave's birthday...

Friday... I had lunch with my friend Terri and went to pick up Sam's ashes.  That was hard... now that she's "back home" it makes it real, in a surreal way.  Next weekend we are buying a tree for the front yard.  We are going to bury Sam's ashes in the roots of the new tree. 

Some of you might say... she's just a dog, but she was more than a dog to us.  She was part of the family.

So to my clients that have been waiting patiently for their images... I am sorry that it has taken me a little longer than usual.  But, I promise they will be delivered to you very, very, very soon.  Thank you for your patience and undertanding...

Gracie and Sam... laying in the leaves

Sam and Mary

Sunday Afternoon

3 comments:

Becky Jo said...

I was snuggling on the bed with my dog, Mag, the other day. Brian was right there next to us, and I said "How is it that I can love this animal so much? She can't talk, she only understands part of what I say, and she is a totally different species.." and Brian says "Because you just do".. Dogs are just furry little people to us humans. I'm sorry that Sam got sick, but I think she's in puppy heaven with all the other loved pets and they're all up there chasing squirrels and napping in the sun. :)

aplseed said...

I am so sorry to hear of this loss that proceeded the new puppy.

I love labs, and have been fortunate to have 2 special boys in my life so far. Both we rescued off the street, Both chocolates, Both male. Cooper was the best boy ever and he was in our lives for nearly 14 yrs When he started passing out we found much like you that he had a bad case of congestive heart that we suspect was the resul;t of a respiratory infection he had had at age 8 , It must have damaged his heart and laid dormant. We knew as he grew older he coughed if he gained a bit of weight, so we were careful and he was a happy loving Doggie. The vet said he had probably been very ill for a long time but hid it from us very well. There is nothing that can describe holding your loved companion and telling him what a wonderful blessing he was in our life as he fades away. I feel your pain. 2 yrs leater after dreaming of 2 choc labs on several occasions my husband had been concerned and was thinking of getting me a new puppy as well. That was when Petey walked into our lives, another choc lab boy found on the side of an interstate starving. Coincidence or Fate?? I like to believe Cooper was getting me ready that summer and helped us find Pete.

Jill A. Brown said...

Tani - Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about Cooper and so happy to hear that you have Petey in your lives! :) The are wonderful dogs aren't they. :) Sam was the best dog ever... Skye has pretty big shoes to fill, but I know that he is going to be a great dog.