This week I have been adding photos to my website. I have always enjoyed taking photographs and have taken hundreds of my pets over the years, so this should be an easy task.
Unfortunately a few years ago after a long day at work I was on my old computer trying to alter a photo when I made a terrible mistake.
I was using some image software and it just kept messing everything up. In the end I got a window asking me if I wanted to 'uninstall and reinstall' the software. I clicked through the warning windows being too tired and too used to pointless windows messages coming up all the time to pay any real attention.
Then I watched as my computer DELETED all 700 of my photos as it uninstalled the software. It then reinstalled it and I looked at a terrifyingly empty photo album, too horrified for words.
I could'nt believe what had happened. I had 700 photos in that album, all of them of my pets and many of them of pets that had long since passed away. I'd never be able to take those photos again and I had only printed out a handful and placed them in an album long since lost. Had I backed them up on CD? Nope......
I had tried once, but the silver coating on the CD's I had bought had started to rub off over the years making them unreadable.
I took my computer to a pc store and asked them if they could retrieve my photos. Everyone I spoke to thought I was worrying about nothing and that they could be easily restored.
But even the pc store could'nt get them back. I asked someone I worked with who worked in the IT department to take a look, he could'nt save them either.
In the end I managed to retrieve about 20 of my 700 photographs. I was so upset I felt like kicking things, but I could'nt really be angry at anyone because it was my mistake. Every day since I think of a really great photograph that I could be using and then realise that it just does'nt exist anymore.
So what has all this to do with Pet Loss?
Please learn from my experience : ) Take plenty of photographs. Back them up, print them out, keep them safe and enjoy them. It's so easy in this age of digital cameras to snap away, download and forget about them and assume they will always be there.
A few years ago I noticed my dog Henry was starting to look older and I decided to take a photo of him every year on his birthday so that when he's gone I can look back and see how he has changed over the years. When he was younger I was too busy playing with him to take many pictures, so as a result I only have a few.
I wish I'd taken more of him as a puppy and throughout his life because I'll never have that opportunity to capture those moments again.
Many people having made it through the grief of pet loss like to keep journals and commemorative albums as part of their pet grief recovery journey. It may seem odd to be thinking about this now if you are yet to lose your pet but preparation is everything. Think about the sorts of photographs you will treasure after you suffer the loss of a pet and will feel comforted by in pet grief and take them!
So one of my many New Years Resolutions is to take more pictures and to make a point of actually getting them printed. It's so easy to get caught up in life and miss the important things and I don't want to miss any more of them.
Read more about some of the pets I have lost and my experiences of dealing with a pet death by clicking on the links below -