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Shayla’s Last Days


Saying Goodbye to Shayla

When people ask me what kind of photography I do, “pet photography” usually gets one of two responses. Either it’s a chuckle and an “oh how weird!” or it’s a “Yeah.. I want that. My dog/cat/horse is so awesome and here’s why.” I guess I’ve always felt a tiny bit awkward about it, in the same way I’ve always felt a tiny bit awkward about the fact that I love animals so much that even killing a spider is too much for me to consider.

The real reason I got into being a pet photographer is because I believe the relationships we have with animals can be incredible, life changing partnerships. And I think these relationships deserve to be celebrated and recorded. So when Jocelyn got in touch with me for some photos and timidly asked if they could be done “In the next few days or so” as her pup Shayla had cancer and a prognosis to pass very shortly, I was all in.


Joycelyn is a spunky little sprite of a girl who, 9 years ago, adopted a dog who probably matches her pound for pound or may even outweigh her. They’re an unlikely combination. A young, single working woman with a huge dog full of exuberance. But somehow it worked. They clicked and have been co-pilots for the better part of a decade. Now that relationship has to come to an end. I’m so glad Joycelyn decided to capture some moments before it did.

This shoot was a heartbreaking but beautiful day. Big love to Shayla and her mom.


Cindy Hughes is a pet photographer in Vancouver, British Columbia. She provides lifestyle photography for pets and the people they love. Cindy specializes in dog and cat photography and is available for commercial and editorial assignments. Will travel!



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