It was my very first ever photo session with any of my horses. What sparked my interest in doing this was the death of my paint mare Aimee this past summer. I had had her for twelve years. After her unexpected passing, I realized that I had almost no pictures of me with her. If it hadn’t been for my grandmother taking a series of candid shots one day several years ago, I might have had less than 5 altogether. The vast majority of my pictures of Aimee had me on the other side of the lens and therefore not in the picture with her. Determined not to let that happen again, I contacted Ashley.
I chose to have Ashley take pictures of me with Smoke. I have another little mini, and she did happily get into a few of the pictures, but today was Smoke’s day. (Daisy will have her own day sometime soon.) I made this decision because I don’t know how much more time I have with my special buddy.
For those of you that have been following my Instagram account, you may have heard me mention that Smoke has developed a condition called summer heaves. It’s a respiratory condition that is aggravated by the heat of the summer. South Georgia gets pretty hot. Smoke spent the majority of the summer this year on albuterol and dexamethasone, medications designed to help open his airway and reduce inflammation. They helped only some. It’s a heartbreaking sound to hear every breath your friend is taking that loudly. He had no voice either, only a hoarse whisper. The vet told me it’s a bit like a person having COPD. It is seasonal though. It gets better over the winter. The cooler temperatures make it easier for him to breathe.
I’m so glad he’s feeling better. I’m a little worried about how he will manage next summer though. Apparently, each year there is a certain amount of irreparable permanent damage sustained in the airways that makes it successively more difficult for the animal to cope in the following season. Medications can only help him manage. There is no known cure for the disease.
Smoke is such a sweet soul. He has a very strong desire to please and a kind, gentle demeanor. I don’t care that he isn’t physically capable of a whole lot. He is simply my friend. When I walk outside, I can count on him to come up and greet me and nuzzle me softly. Sometimes, he just stands there and licks me. His soft eyes tell stories and speak gently to me.
Ashley captured our memories beautifully. Smoke and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with her. Why didn’t I think of doing this before? It was a perfect morning and one that I will remember fondly for years to come. Ashley is not only a talented and artistic photographer but a friend as well. After we finished outside, she and I shared a few special moments catching up in the kitchen over coffee. There is nothing like a cup of coffee with friend. I feel very thankful to have such good friends.
None of us are ever guaranteed tomorrow. I have learned that relationships are meant to be cherished, and memories are meant to be made and kept like treasures. Hug your friends and remember your loved ones. Take lots of pictures. You never know what the future may bring.