I first met Zirka at a trash-the-dress photo session last October. The bride, Larysa, had been married the summer before and couldn't wait to transform into a zombie for her Halloween party. Before getting down and dirty, though, she requested bridal portraits with her two dogs, Zirka and Gretchen.
We spent an evening wandering around the grounds of a church near Larysa's home. Rambunctious and energetic Gretchen used the opportunity to explore her new-found freedom. Little Zirka, on the other hand, stayed right with her mama, never missing a pat on the head or scratch behind the ear.
Since that photo session, Larysa and I have become dear friends, and my heart broke when I learned of Zirka's passing. Larysa had been Zirka's guardian for 11 years, and their bond was incredibly strong.
I recently revisited the files from that session. Below are a few previously unpublished photos of sweet Zirka. In Ukrainian, her name means "star." For Larysa, I know it will always mean love.
Zirka Tinker Rosemann Kautz
2002 - 2014