Last week I photographed a little lurcher named Saoirse (pronounced Sor-sha, it means freedom in Gaelic). Let me tell you a little bit about her, so you’ll understand why this shoot was such a special one.
Someone tried to kill her by hitting her about the head with a blunt instrument. She suffered the most shocking head injuries I’ve ever seen and was left for dead. But an angel was watching over Saoirse that day, whispering in her ear “Live, Live!”. By some miracle she clung on to life and found her way to the gentle arms of a kind stranger who got her urgent medical attention and brought her to Cottage Rescue in Ireland. Over the next months she was nursed back to health and found herself a wonderful foster home in Hertfordshire.
When she was entered in my recent Charity Giveaway, I knew right away that if she didn’t win the draw, there would need to be a Photographer’s Choice photoshoot winner too.
You might expect that a dog that had been so terribly abused would be very traumatised, but not a bit of it. Saoirse is loving and trusting with people, playful and full of fun, just as a young lurcher should be. She adores other dogs too and would love to go to a home with another young lurcher or hound in residence so they could play and be silly and snuggle together. But she doesn’t forget: she is afraid of big, long objects like brooms. And she was nervy in my studio, more so than any dog I’ve ever photographed. Most of her photographs were actually done on a lead (removed afterwards in processing) with someone feeding her treats to take her mind off surroundings that were clearly scary for her.
And then something wonderful happened. Saoirse is a very clever girl who seems to tune into your thoughts telepathically. Suddenly all her nerves disappeared, she realised that this situation help no dangers for her, she lay down on the set, arranging her beautiful sighthound legs elegantly about the rug, off came the lead and she posed, and posed and posed. And here is one of the resulting images.
If you think you might be able to offer Saoirse the perfect home, get in touch with Cottage Rescue to lodge your interest. Homing will be subject to a successful home check and a rehoming fee to the charity.