We will miss you, Willy


Today hasn’t been easy. We had to put our 13.5 year-old goldendoodle to rest. He gifted us with more than we ever dreamed. Barking and shedding, included. He was breeded with the idea he wouldn’t bark (golden retriever genes) or shed (poodle genes). Yet, he did both.

In sum, he was our perfect, “Goldendud.”

Blog readers know Willy has been frequent guest on this platform over the years, subject to countless lighting technicals and gear tests. Even pictured in a Fearless Award, too.

If you are a wedding, portrait, or fine-art client since late 2010, Willy has been about 24 inches from my editing workstation, under my desk at my feet. That’s pretty much as close as it gets to my editing heart. He has been apart of your image.

In March 2013, Willy and I enjoyed an epic guy’s trip to the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed the experience of a lifetime, indulging in time with friends and mentors along the way. We even created #WillysTripToTheOcean. The experience cured him of seizures, as he never had another. I hired Anna Kuperberg to documented the moments. My wife and I enjoyed it with our eyes, savoring the senses and experience.

During the road trip, I brought my camera to document our experience. The old adage, “good things come to those who wait,” remained in the back of my head. If you’ve every waited four years to get a roll of film developed, you know the feeling.

I decided not to edit these few special images, knowing I would save them for a time when I would need them. That day was today.


Willy, we will miss you. May you be in “dog heaven” along with two Fritz’s, Dash, Bella, and Traveler.

On a personal / photo geek perspective:

Seeing these images for the first time brought back the warm memories like it happened yesterday. That’s joy of the photographic medium (don’t try that with medium format film). Details recorded in precision like I remembered them, better than any rose glasses could paint. I shot everything on the Phase One, a camera I use for those really important images where important details matter. Instant gratification is just that: instant. Yet, the experience has re-affirmed to me the importance of playing the long game. Rewarding personal projects are priceless.

7 Responses to “We will miss you, Willy”

  1. Sean Kern — June 16, 2017 @ 11:26 pm (#)

    Bro very well said and impeccably done. I know this was a healing process and it helped me too. We had a good guys night with him a few weeks ago. I know he is in doggy heaven eating our chicken masala again and eating popcorn during bro movie night.

  2. Kjersten Skatvold — June 16, 2017 @ 11:30 pm (#)

    Oh friends, love sweet Willy so very much. He will be very, very missed by many. Love to you all. Long live the cow barking, boat riding, lake loving Willy. Till we meet again with sweet cuddling friend…..

    Skatvold 5

  3. S. KLIPPER — June 16, 2017 @ 11:38 pm (#)

    Lovely array of Willy pix.
    In some he seems The Dog of Destiny. In others, the Sagacious Canine of Wise Counsel.
    But in all, all in all, he’s indeed your dog Willy.
    Glad I got to scratch his ear a bit yesterday.

    Something you might like to read:

  4. S. KLIPPER — June 16, 2017 @ 11:42 pm (#)

    A lovely array of Willy pix.
    In some he seems The Dog of Destiny.
    In others he’s The Sagacious Canine of Wise Counsel.
    But in all, all in all, he’s your dog Willy.
    I’m glad I got to scratch his ears a bit yesterday.

    Something you might want to turn to to read:

  5. Siri Olsen — June 16, 2017 @ 11:42 pm (#)

    Beautifully done. Willy was so very special. Losing part of your family is so very hard- what beautiful images you have to look back on. Sending much love to you all…

  6. Tara — June 17, 2017 @ 6:34 am (#)

    I am so sorry for this significant loss…and what a beautiful tribute. I love these photographs–and it is so cool you had the foresight to wait these years for the most meaningful time to develop them. That is patience! But so much impact because of that choice…

  7. Aneta Kern — June 19, 2017 @ 4:22 pm (#)

    Thanks for sharing the journey you and Willy got to experience together. Loved seeing these images and getting the background story. I look forward to seeing more as it makes my heart so happy to see the incredible life he had and the joy he brought to everyone. Your photographs have forever captured this. Very sorry for the loss of your sweet furry buddy and I feel so fortunate to have had a chance to cuddle with him this past Thanksgiving. He will forever be a part of my engagement memories! While we will all miss him, I believe he is enjoying himself at the “Rainbow Bridge”…I find comfort in that poem and I hope you’re familiar with it as well.

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