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Melissa Carroll

Be Here Now Pet Photographer
Melissa Carroll_Be Here Now Pet Photogra
 
On my 9th birthday, I received my most influential gifts. A Golden Retriever puppy named Julie and a Polaroid camera. Growing up, Julie motivated me to photograph our friendship while teaching me how to appreciate the little things in life. Julie developed Arthritis by age 7 and I became diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis by age 17. I had been having symptoms since 9. She never let pain keep her from loving life. Julie unknowingly taught me how to do the same.  Photography for me, is a space to creatively heal my body while fueling my heart with inspiration. 
Upon Julie's Cancer diagnosis, 11 years old appeared to be just a number. She had been in great health, I was in shock by her secret. I became fearful of losing the most influential support throughout my struggles in life.  Anxiety ridden from the news, I stumbled upon the "Be Here Now" trailer on Youtube about the Spartacus actor Andy Whitfield. A palpable documentary of his emotional resilience to find peace while battling cancer. During those 7 minutes, I felt a shift from fear to peace by believing that this too, is all meant to be. Even in pain, life is beautiful.  From that moment I chose to view life's challenges with gratitude.  
Be Here Now is to live in the present moment and to not fear the unknown. Animals are more than just our companions. They touch our hearts and impact our lives in extraordinary ways, but are only with us for a short while of our story. I truly believe that everyday is a gift and so is the opportunity to photograph your furry companion. 
Julie’s last days with me were also the most inspiring. She smiled with her ball, we treated everyday together as a gift and I photographed her spirit until the very end. After Julie passed it became clear to me that I was meant to spend my life photographing the heart and souls of animals. 
To accurately capture the unique connection between an animal and their human. That is my purpose. 

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