My voicemail message on December 2nd went something like this: “Hi this is Bill. We are standing in Wagz pet store in Old Town looking at your display. We are in town for a few days and wondered if we could schedule a session for our dog.”
Hawk is an 11 year old German Shepherd very special to not only Bill and Lois but the entire County of Clinton in Iowa.
Hawk is a certified Search and Rescue Dog, police dog, and therapy dog. He and his brothers, Strider and Deker, work cases such as robbery, drowning, missing children, and cold cases to name just a few.
During Hawk’s normal swim at the local dog therapy pool Bill noticed Hawk’s nose bleeding. After exams and testing the veterinarian diagnosed Hawk with a cancer in his snout. The Halls jumped on-line to research their treatment options. Colorado State University (CSU) offered a three day treatment instead of several weeks. Everyone loaded into the truck for the 850 mile trip from Iowa.
Once in Fort Collins they checked in at CSU where they realized he could have permanent scaring, he may not react well to anesthesia, or the treatment may not be 100% effective. That’s when they decided to call me. “This could be his last professional portrait,” said a choked up Bill.
Of course we immediately scheduled a session that afternoon at a local park. We chose this setting as it represented terrain he would typically work in. At least one of the images will be on his official Sheriff’s office trading cards in the near future.
Hawk did fantastic. He had no idea he was even ill. The setting sun made him glow next to the river and in the field. His badge shone proudly nestled in his brown and black fur.
We met the next day while Hawk underwent his first treatment. They told me all about his job, the cases he’s worked, and the amazing community they live, work & volunteer in.
Bill and Lois are truly inspiring. Their enthusiasm for the dogs and their work knows no bounds. I could have sat chatting with them all evening. I feel so blessed to have worked with such a magnificent family.
I am happy to report that Hawk breezed through his treatments and the drive home with absolutely no upsets!
Hawk will be returning for a recheck at CSU this spring and we have already planned to meet up. Be watching for future updates!
Click here for a video from 2012 showcasing Hawk with Bill and Lois as a Hy-Vee Hero.