Category Archives: Animals

As each year passes, I swear I’ll focus on the positive of having Jayda in my life, but there is always a glimmer of sadness because I know as each year goes by, it’s another year closer to when she will no longer be in my life. I don’t think I could ever love another dog the way I love Jayda. I’ve talked about her so many times on this blog over the years so I won’t keep repeating the same thing. As usual, I took a birthday photo (without the crazy birthday hat this time) and we gave her some delicious meatballs with breakfast and dinner. She may have had a meatball snack or too throughout the day as well. Happy birthday sweet Jayda! I love you so much!

Jayda

JEN_0618 copyIt’s been a bad last few months for some of my best friends and their dogs. Monica’s sister, Megan, had to say goodbye to Brutus this week and I know the pain she’s going through. Earlier this year, I got to photograph him while doing photos for Monica of Andre and I’m so glad I did. He lived a good year beyond what is breed’s life expectancy is, but that can never take away the pain of losing someone (yes SOMEONE) you love so much. As I mention in every post regarding losing a pet, Avril’s song “Goodbye Lullaby” is a song that brought me great comfort when Riley passed away. I pretend it is the dog singing it to the person they loved and bonded with; almost their way of saying it’s ok. Here are a couple of the quick photos I took of him. Rest in peace big boy. <3

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye my love.

I can’t hide, can’t hide, can’t hide what has come.

I have to go, I have to go, I have to go, and leave you alone.

But always know, always know, always know,

That I love you so, I love you so.

Goodbye, brown eyes, goodbye for now.

Goodbye, sunshine, take care of yourself.

I have to go, I have to go, I have to go, and leave you alone.

But always know, always know, always know,

That I love you so, I love you so.

Lu lullaby, distract me with your eyes, lu lullaby,

Lu lullaby, help me sleep tonight, lu lullaby,

I have to go, I have to go, I have to go, and leave you alone.

But always know, always know, always know,

That I love you so, I love you so.

I love you so, oh, I love you so. I love you so. I love you so.

I love you so.

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Andre-0014To say my heart is heavy writing this post is an understatement. One of my best friends, Monica, had to say goodbye to her Lullaby. When a pet passes, I always name it after Avril Lavigne’s song “Goodbye Lullaby.” I said goodbye to my Lullaby, Riley, back in July of 2012. Being there with Monica as she bid Andre farewell was so difficult, especially having such a long history… a sweet history. Andre had a long and unfair battle with cancer. Andre and Jayda (my oldest dog) were good dog buddies back before I was married. Jayda learned her funny growl from Andre. They were so cute to watch together. After Monica moved to Colorado and then out to California, Jayda and Andre were separated up until this year when Monica brought Andre back to Jacksonville to live out her remaining days, however long that may have been. Andre was given a poor prognoses, but lived a good 7 months longer than they thought. She was quirky, sweet, beautiful, funny, and bright. Her little light shined and lit up the world. Here’s Monica’s beautiful tribute to Andre.

Being a photographer doesn’t always mean smiles and happiness. I happened to have a maternity session for a very close photographer friend of mine that evening, so I had my camera gear on me. I offered to take pictures of Monica and Andre during their last moments together before Andre’s departure to Rainbow Bridge. These photographs are beautifully tragic. Sometimes, the most beautiful art is art that provokes deep emotions every time you look at it, as painful as it may be. I’ve learned to just let the healing process take as long as it needs. With that, I leave you with these words from Avril’s song and the photos of Andre’s final hour. Monica, I love you tons and I’m so sorry you had to go through this. XOXO

When she sings it, I pretend like it is the dog singing the words to the person they loved most.

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye my love.

I can’t hide, can’t hide, can’t hide what has come.

I have to go, I have to go, I have to go, and leave you alone.

But always know, always know, always know,

That I love you so, I love you so.

Goodbye, brown eyes, goodbye for now.

Goodbye, sunshine, take care of yourself.

I have to go, I have to go, I have to go, and leave you alone.

But always know, always know, always know,

That I love you so, I love you so.

Lu lullaby, distract me with your eyes, lu lullaby,

Lu lullaby, help me sleep tonight, lu lullaby,

I have to go, I have to go, I have to go, and leave you alone.

But always know, always know, always know,

That I love you so, I love you so.

I love you so, oh, I love you so. I love you so. I love you so.

I love you so.

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Seriously, I’ve been terrible at keeping up with my blog lately. No doubt, summers in Florida are the “down” times for shooting because it is so hot, no one wants to do their session in this 96 degree weather, however, I’ve been shooting and taking some time off to enjoy other creative outlets. Here are a few things that have been going on with me.

I recently shot a gorgeous engagement session with my October 12th couple. I’m so pleased with the way the photos turned out. I can’t wait to blog them! Ali and Marielle are so sweet, gorgeous, and fun. More to come on their session soon!

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I also had the opportunity to photograph one of our local comedians, Jeff Zenisek, during a live performance at the Comedy Zone. If you’ve never checked him out, you definitely should. I like that his humor is pretty clean (comparatively) and that he doesn’t just jump from joke to joke. If you have a chance to see him perform, you should definitely jump on it. You won’t be disappointed.

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One of my closest friends was in town for almost 2 months. I mentioned in an earlier post that Andre, her sweet Chinese Sharpei, had cancer. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to her a couple of weeks ago. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to be a part of. I captured her final moments of love with Monica, but they’re too painful to share right now. So instead, I’ll share this sweet photo of their shoot from December 2012.

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Speaking of sad moments with dogs… Riley’s one year death anniversary came to pass. I miss that boy every single day. Here’s a photo from his 6th birthday, which was his last.

Anyway, on to happier things. My great friend Jenn Hopkins of Jenn Hopkins Photography is having a baby! I had the privilege of photographing her maternity session. It was such an honor! Here’s one of my favs. Photographed by me, edited by her.

I’ve been working on sewing a lot. I love to sew for family and friends. I’ve been trying to stock my Etsy store. Here are some items I have for sale.

I’ve also been working on my life and living blog. I did a redesign of it and renamed it to Studio J from According To Jen. I really love it. It’s way more “me” now. Plus, it involves my sweet, sweet dog Jayda and she is my baby. I guess that’s about it. I have family coming in town over the next few weeks so I may continue to be MIA for awhile, but I’ve missed you all and can’t wait to show you more of what I’ve been photographing. XOXO

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Riley Bear,

I can’t believe how fast this past year has flown by without you. Has it really already been a year since you left for Rainbow Bridge? I think about you and miss you every day. I still dream about you at least a couple of nights a week. This year, you would have been 7 years old. Instead of taking this rainy day and making into a one year date of mourning our loss of you in our lives, I’m going to celebrate the memory of you in our hearts.

  • I remember when we picked you up from that farm in Gridley to bring you home. We brought Jayda with us to pick out a pup she’d get along with and all she wanted to do was roll around in chicken poop on the farm, so I sat down and said, “Whichever one comes to me first will be the one we take.” You came trotting over to me with an apple from the apple tree in your mouth. I should have known then you would be a counter surfer. You were scared. We already knew we’d name you Riley. We took you to our home in Chicago where you had to go for your first elevator ride. You gripped the floor of the elevator, scared for your life… and on your way into our apartment, you freaked out at the site of the hallway and smacked your nose on the corner of the wall…. which swelled up and made you look like a moose. You’re such a funny boy.
  • You quickly became the talk of the town. You were big, fluffy, sweet, and beautiful. I remember letting you play with the other dogs at Grant Bark Park and you’d hop like a bunny and I always thought, “Well, we know he’s not going anywhere fast.” Little did I know, eventually you’d become way too fast to chase.
  • I remember your first experience with the snow. I took you outside and as the snow crumbled beneath your bear sized paws, you tried to trample the crumbles like a cat chasing a cat toy. It was so adorable.
  • I remember, somehow, you caught and were trying to eat a pigeon in our backyard the day after Christmas in our house. Where did a pigeon come from in the dead of winter, snow and ice everywhere? I remember running out on the iced over snow in my bare feet (which hurt like walking on glass) to grab you and get you to drop it. It looked like a bird-plosion.
  • Lastly, I remember how proud you were to wear your service dog vest. You’d put it on to go to work and you had this confidence that you knew you were working when you’d wear it. I wish we would have finished your training to be a therapy dog. We went to Target, the airport, Chipotle, etc. I remember every time we’d take you to Target, we’d end at the dog aisle and let you pick out a chew to munch on on the drive home. Jayda and Bentley were always jealous.

Well, Buddy, what else can I say? We’ve missed you so much. I have your ashes and your collar on my night stand so you don’t just become another piece of clutter. We love you, we miss you, and we can’t wait to someday see you at Rainbow Bridge. I’ll scruff your face really good, give you “Bear Spa” and hug on you just like when you were with us. Until then, know that we love you and you were such a blessing in our life. <3