Marilou and Ahnung were one of my first connections in the Twin Cities pet community. We met at a book signing for Mary Ludington – someone who’s work I admired and have since become friends – where Marilou was giving a presentation for Pet Haven of MN. She talked about needing volunteers for the organization, mentioning a need for photos of their foster dogs. We spoke briefly, exchanged information, and thus began my journey into what Sarah Beth Photography has become today. Along with the opportunity to photograph for Pet Haven and many other rescues, Marilou connected me with other pet professionals like Jessie Marianiello, another dear friend and talented artist. I took these photos of Ahnung in early 2009:
Marilou and Ahnung found each other on the Red Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota, and they were totally and completely meant to be together. Ahnung suffered abuse and neglect, finding a new life through Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue. You can see Ahnung’s Facebook fan page here, and go back through her blog to see what an amazing life she led.
Last summer, when I learned of the latest aggressive cancer diagnosis, I photographed Marilou and Ahnung together at their home. Now, almost exactly a year later, Ahnung has lost her long and remarkable battle.
She was a quiet, gentle soul. A registered therapy dog and a loyal companion. She’s led Marilou on a path of inspiration and healing; not only for herself but for at-risk youth, cancer and hospice care patients. Marilou also co-founded the Leech Lake Legacy animal welfare organization, aiding animals and their owners on another northern Minnesota reservation.
Ahnung means “star” in Ojibwe, and she has been a guiding star for more people than she could ever know. On Sunday, surrounded by friends and loved ones, she made her final journey, joining her brothers and sisters in the northern sky. Goodbye, sweet girl. I’ll miss you.