Some things just fill your heart without trying
On the 8th February 2019, I received a call about photographing a Senior dog who was extremely ill. His name was Steinie and he was a 17.5-year-old Labrador, old in age but young at heart.
I arrived at Steinie’s home unsure of what to expect, but was so happy to walk in and find this gorgeous old soul laying in the middle of the lounge room with a smile bright enough to light up the entire room. Steinie had woken up that morning feeling much better and was ready to have a fun afternoon with his Mum and Dad.
After bundling Steinie into this personal Chariot we headed on down to the local park. Steinie was mostly deaf so all the usual tricks to entice a dog to look at the camera didn’t work, but being a Labrador Mum myself I know the exact way to a Labradors heart – CHICKEN!!! Now Steinie knew at all times where that packet of chicken was located and very quickly worked out that by posing for the camera with a great big smile meant he was given chicken, chicken and more chicken – there can never be enough chicken for a happy Labrador.
After lots of cuddles and photos with his two-favourite people on the planet – his Mum and Dad it was time to give Steinie a break before we headed back home. Now I mentioned Steinie was young and heart and what he did next certainly proved that and surprised us all. Steinie, determined to enjoy every minute of his afternoon adventure began to explore the park. Before we knew it, he ever so gracefully jumped into the lake and swam around the reeds and through the lily pads coming out the other side with the biggest smile and a bright green ring of slime around his body proving that old saying “you are never too old to have fun”. Steinie had such a great afternoon, doing things that he hadn’t done in years and didn’t want it to end there, so he refused to get back into his chariot, instead opting to lead his Mum and Dad along the path back home.
Steinie’s life was full of happiness, love and adventure. He was born on 27th September 2001 in Palmerston North, New Zealand where he got his name because he insisted on sleeping in an empty box of Steinlager Beer. When he was young he got to go to work each day with his Dad at the NZ Army Base where he was stationed and enjoyed nothing more than racing him each and every afternoon the last 2km to home, once having been clocked doing 40klph. Living in beautiful NZ meant he got to spend his young years playing in the gorgeous rivers New Zealand is known for. When he turned 11 years it was time for him to journey all the way across the Tasman to the small town of Chinchilla in Queensland, Australia before eventually settling in the beautiful Sunshine Coast where he swapped the rivers for long stretches of white sand and cool waves. Steinie loved nothing more than heading down to the local café for some bacon and eggs with Dad and Mum and even dressed up with a hat and tie when it was his birthday so the lovely ladies would give him some bacon. The staff of the coffee shop even invited him behind the counter and gave him his very own apron to wear for a photo – I am sure he was paid well in bacon for his hard work.
As his Mum and Dad spoke about the life they had shared with this special little man, their eyes shone with pride and love. Steinie was not a dog to them, he was family and imagining a life without him was truly heartbreaking.
On the 14th April 2019, Steinie gave his Mum and Dad one last cuddle and kiss and smiled one last time to let them know he would be ok, he had lived an amazing life and was ready to cross the rainbow bridge in search of his next adventure. Steinie was surrounded by his entire family and held in the arms of his Mum and Dad as he closed his eyes for the final time.
A big thank you to Dr Jackie from Sunset Home Veterinary Care for helping Steinie cross peacefully.
As a pet photographer, I seriously do fall in love with each and every animal I photograph, but there is always some that steal my heart completely and Steinie definitely did that.
Steinie you lived for 17.5 years but will be loved for eternity.
R.I.P Beautiful Boy xx