Pet Photography

Buddy the Golden Retriever by Laura Olsen Imagery

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Laura Olsen Imagery

I have to admit, I don’t normally tear up this much when introducing a beautiful set of photos. But when I saw these shots by the wonderful Laura Olsen and read the story of this one truly beautiful dog and his dedicated owner, I realised these stunning shots were much more than just photographs – they’re the perfect example of how sweet and fleeting a dog’s life really is. How a loving dog like Buddy makes the world better, and brighter, while they are here.

From Laura:

Buddy was a sweet soul who had lived a long life in a few short years. He had some sort of disease, I’m not sure if it was just poor breeding or a rare something or other, but the woman caring for him was a ‘rescue’ situation for him.  The woman who raised him was unable to care for his physical needs.  So the woman who took him in knew that he would not live a long life.  She had had portraits of her dogs done in the past (by other photographers and/or painters) and wanted to get something nice to hang with the others. She saw how much it meant to have a representation of them after they are gone.

This shoot was special because of how sweet and gentle he was.  He was always near his owner, even though it was hard for him to get around, if she moved – he moved.  So she was already in the habit of being sure that she had everything that she needed with her before settling in anywhere in order to stay still for long periods of time, so as not to stress Buddy.

Because he was unable to move around freely and easily, there are mostly shots of him lying down.  As a pet photographer, I can say this is a rarity.  As much as I wish (on a normal shoot) that my subjects would just lay down for a minute to let me get the shot, in Buddy’s case it was a challenge to not have all of my images look the same.  So I moved around a lot while he stayed still… we kinda switched roles. 

I love working with pets and their owners, it’s so fun to play for a living! Now, don’t get me wrong… it’s hard work, but even the boring office parts are a little easier when I am ultimately doing what I love.

But each time I complete a session I feel ‘the tinge’. I think it’s because I have had dogs, dear, precious dogs to me pass away. I feel the tinge that I just captured something fleeting, forever. I know the pain of loss, so each time I click the shutter I feel that I am helping a dog owner hold on to the moment, the personality, the quirk, the memory of love, for always.

Buddy passed August 11, 2011. Anytime I hear of a rescue dog with physical limitations, I think of Buddy. It was difficult for him to move around when I met him, but his spirit… was lively and as loving as a puppy. His physical limitations did nothing to hinder his loving spirit.


Laura loves photography with a capital L.  When not on assignment she is hanging out with her two pups, Peanut & Calliope, talking in funny voice to some dog she has met on the street or dreaming of her next photo project. Laura primarily photographs pets, families and children.  She shoots regularly for Lowcountry Dog Magazine and has been featured in various other print and online publications. She has a valid passport and resides in Charleston, South Carolina. To see more of Laura’s beautiful work, visit Laura Oslen Imagery, or you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Laura Olsen Imagery

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8 responses to “Buddy the Golden Retriever by Laura Olsen Imagery”

  1. Liz Hover says:

    Oh my! This is so sad and beautiful at the same time. This post is very timely because one of my co-workers had to put her dog to sleep this past Friday so we’ve been talking about this subject a lot. Laura’s photos are heart-warming. One thing my co-worker said was, ‘Don’t let anyone tell you losing a dog is easier. It’s just like losing a person.’

    • Thanks for your lovely comment Liz. I completely agree with your co-worker. They give so much in their short lives, and to me a pet is just like any other member of the family. Wishing you co-worker all the best xo

  2. Patsy Johnson says:

    I was Buddy’s caregiver for the last 2 years of his life. What a joy and inspiration he was to be around, and I feel truly blessed that I had the opportunity and honor to care for him. Even though his ability to get around was so limited, he managed to “get into things” just like your average dog. One time he picked up a carton of eggs out of the grccery bag I left sitting on the floor and carried them all the way through the house without cracking a single egg. One Christmas he managed to steal the entire bag of rolls we were going to have for dinner. His mischief usually involved food!!
    Thank you so much for sharing Buddy’s story. It’s amazing that he’s getting attention all the way from Australia! He was my beautiful boy.

    • Hi Patsy, Thank you so much for commenting. I have to say Buddy’s story touched a soft spot with me. It’s so wonderful to see beautiful dogs like him get the love and respect they deserve. I love that he had a mischievous side!! (they all do!!) – I guess the rolls were maybe his Christmas present to himself? 🙂
      Thanks again for stopping by and for the wonderful, loving work you do!!

  3. Karyn says:

    Firstly, they are the most beautiful photos of a gorgeous boy – you can see his spirit in his beautiful eyes 🙂 Pet dogs are definitely another member of the family to me and their loss is heartbreaking. And it is heart-warming to hear of such a wonderful person as Patsy who gave such a loving and caring home to beautiful Buddy! I hope that one day I will be in the position to have a place where I can give a home to elderly, rescue or otherwise needy dogs as they all deserve such love and care for the unconditional love they give to us.

  4. Haley says:

    such beautiful pictures and so sad that he is now gone.
    it must be a lovely feeling to know that he was given a fantastic life at the end of his life so that he felt comfort and love ( which is all anyone wants really)
    he may have been a little rusty on the outside but he was as lively as a puppy on the inside.
    his story brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eyes xxx

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