Scout is my first love. My senior year of college, I drove to a barn in the small Tennessee town where I went to school, where a litter of free kittens were being given away. There were four tiny floof balls, so beyond adorable, I simply couldn’t choose just one. After playing with them, I wanted to give myself time to think about my decision and started walking back to my car. As I was walking, I heard a tiny mewing sound behind me, and a black-and-white fluff was running after me as fast as his little legs could take him, tripping over pieces of grass. It was then that I knew … he had chosen me.
It was clear from the very beginning that Scout had quite the personality — most would say it’s quite dog-like. He loves to snuggle and greets you at the door when you come home, and is constantly my shadow — my little heartbeat at my feet — when I’m at home. He’s been my constant companion for more than 14 years now, and his love for me has never wavered. And while I’ve since had an actual human child, he will truly always be my first. So when he was diagnosed with lymphoma, it gutted me.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the white blood cells, so there’s no real treatment. Chemotherapy is one option, but it often does more damage than the cancer itself. After consulting with Animal Medical Center (who are amazing by the way — if you’re in the NYC area and need veterinarian care, I highly recommend!), we’ve opted for a daily steroid that has kept the cancer maintained and him strong and healthy for nine months and counting! I’m thrilled to say that as of writing this blog post, Scout is doing wonderfully.
But after we received the diagnosis, I wanted to have our daily lives captured. No poses, no hair/makeup, no fancy wardrobe, no unrealistically clean home. Just realness and love. Tova Friedman Photography, who I had also worked with for my birth photography, came to our home and just documented our little family of myself, my husband, our daughter Elliott and, of course, Scout, in a normal morning routine. It was an emotional morning, particularly because the news was still very fresh, but it shows the realness of family life, like tantrums during breakfast and toddlers making a mess with rolls of toilet paper. But it also shows the love Ellie has for her brother, as she gently feeds him treats and giggles as he bats at the cat toy she swings. And that’s what I wanted documented.