A few weeks ago I put out a call for a dog model for some personal shoots I wanted to do. I had no idea what I was looking for - I just had an urge to create!
The response I had was 100 times more than I expected and I was like a child in a candy store.
The lovely Nicola and Kiel offered their dog Hugo as a model and as soon as I saw his handsome face I felt really drawn to him. I had actually photographed Hugo at an event previously and there was something about his "smile" that I really loved.
So I liaised with Nicola and we arranged a shoot at a dog friendly beach which just happened to be one of Hugo's favourite places.
He arrived all fluffy, with beautiful golden fur, but as soon as well let him off lead he made a bee line for the water where he was in his element. Us three humans were wrapped up in thick winter clothes but Hugo seemed impervious to the icy temperatures and returned to the sea again and again and again!
I adored his energy and sweet gentle nature and was super happy with the resulting images.
When I sent the gallery through to Nicola, she was delighted with the images and told me that they were more than just beautiful pictures to them.
You see Hugo has an amazing story.
It's a story of Hugo's determination and zest for life and also a tale of Nicola and Kiel's love and devotion for him.
Here is Hugo's story:
On May 8 2015, when Hugo was 19 months old, he had an FCE or stroke of the spine. This is a very rare occurrence and something that usually happens in older dogs of different breeds. My husband found Hugo unable to walk when he returned home after a few hours out at work. We brought Hugo to our vet who quickly transferred him to Massey Vet Hospital. We were told after initial tests that Hugo had either had a stroke or had cancer. Finally it was determined that he had a stroke and had a 50/50 chance of walking again. The doctors and nurses worked round the clock with Hugo, giving him physio every four hours and willing him to stand up. After five days he took his first steps - boy they were wobbly but he was upright! We took Hugo home after two weeks and that's when the hard work started. Hugo went to acupuncture and hydrotherapy sessions to get him walking solidly again. He was very unwell for a time and was depressed – hard to believe now! He is paralysed in a part of his spine that controls his tail so we are very thankful he is such a smiley dog and can show his happiness that way. It took physio twice a day, a new diet plan and exercise routine to get Hugo back to his former glory. He is such a happy dog now and we are so delighted with his progress. He walks up to an hour a day and enjoys playing with other dogs at doggy dogcare and can do everything he used to before the stroke which is amazing.