{Animal Photography} {Family Portraits} {Athens, Georgia}

As I promised, here are some more of my favorite photos from my recent photo shoot with Doris, Elaine, and Nellie.  Elaine hired me to take photos of her mother, Doris, and her best buddy, Nellie, a great pyrenees.  This trio was a special and fun photo shoot for me, and I was especially touched by Elaine’s story about how she came to adopt Nellie.  She was kind enough to type it up so that I could share it with you, and I think you’ll find the story heartwarming and inspiring.

Nellie Grace’s Story . . .

Well, it has been almost six years ago since Nellie strolled into my life.  And I still cherish that day – the first day that I laid eyes on her. . .

I lived in a very rural area with many farms surrounding my home.  One hot, summer afternoon, I was washing dishes and looking outside the kitchen sink window.  All of a sudden, there she was.  She came prancing into my backyard – her white coat dingy and matted, her frame thin, but her head and her tail held high.  She was proudly prancing through my yard.  Even though I could tell that she had probably traveled several miles and was hungry, the first word that came to my mind as I gazed at her was “elegant.”

I ran outside to see her more closely wondering if she had a collar on so that I could find a phone number and possibly contact her owner.  I also carried some food outside to feed her.  She would not get within ten feet of me, but from a distance I could see that there was no collar.  While her facial expression was one of confidence, she was leery of me, and would not let me touch her.  I left the bowl of food on the ground and went back inside my home to view her from my kitchen window.  She waited until she was sure I was inside, and after a few minutes, she came and gobbled up the food.

Nellie became a fixture in this farm community over the next few months.  She wandered the pastures of all of the farms.  Everyone fed her and named her.  I named her Nellie, one neighbor named her Drifter, and another neighbor called her Snowball.  But she would never let anyone touch her, and she was especially cautious of the men in our community.    She wandered the community by day, but most nights she slept in my yard, just under a big tree right beside my house.

Nellie seemed to be content to wander the community.  She wanted to be close, but not too close.   She was a happy girl, always smiling, but she trusted no one to touch her.  So we all continued to feed her.  We admired and loved her from a distance.  She stayed close by, never causing any problems, and touched our hearts each day.  She would run to us, but she’d always stop about six feet away – even farther than that if there was a man around.  It seemed she just needed a little more time to learn to trust us.

I failed to first mention that Nellie came into my backyard right around the first anniversary of my father’s passing.  This was a very sad time in my life as I was still processing my grief.   I missed him so much.   One morning, very early, I was sitting on my front porch steps.  I was missing Pop, and I was crying.  Nellie was lying in the driveway, stretched out and watching me.  I was crying with my head down and my hands in my lap.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Nellie getting up from the driveway and coming toward me.  Nellie walked right up to me and laid her head in my hands.  She touched my heart with this gesture.  I reached my hands from underneath her chin, held her face in my hands, and looked down at her with tears streaming down my face.  She looked up at me with such a sweet, sweet expression as if she was trying to let me know that everything was going to be alright.

So – that was it for us.  After that moment, we’ve not been apart.  I did try for about a month to see if I could find her owner.   I checked the papers, nearby veterinary clinics, and community bulletin boards.  I finally took her to my vet clinic and asked them to check to see if she had a microchip.  She didn’t.  I asked them to chip her and to give her the necessary vaccinations, and took her to her forever home.

My neighbors told me that she chose me.  And I am so thankful for that.  She reached me in ways that no one else could, and she helped me work through my grief.  You know, I think that Pop had a conversation with God and asked him to send me a friend.  Thanks, Pop.  Nellie truly is a gift from God, and I am very thankful to have her in my life.   She is my Forever Friend.

Thank you, Doris, Elaine, and Nellie for a memorable experience and new friendship!  If you’d like to see more photos from Elaine’s photo shoot, you can view the gallery by clicking here.