Random Musings on Dogs, Photography, and the Vagaries of Life

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Time for Reinvention

Sometimes it takes circumstances beyond our control to make us go beyond dipping our toes in the shallows to taking that great leap of faith into the deep end. In my case, Maryland's budget crisis and the resulting loss of my communications job essentially forced me to reassess my goals and explore some new directions that I hadn't had the courage to do before.

So here I am, investigating ways to combine my passion for animals (especially dogs), writing, and photography. In some ways, I've been preparing for this transition for some time. My professional life has centered on writing and editing for years, while photography has interested me since I was in high school. And dogs...well, I've loved dogs pretty much as long as I can remember. From Boots, the $12 pet store puppy (purchased long before we knew about the ugly realities of puppy mills) who lived to be almost 18, to Boris and Natasha, the first dogs my husband and I added to our family, to Tango and Samba, our first rescued dogs, and Ceiligh, another rescue who joined our pack three years later, dogs have been--and continue go be--an important part of my life. And these "family dogs" have been joined over the past 5 years by a series of 17 or so foster dogs, for whom our home has been a way station on their road from homelessness to adoption.

At some point after becoming involved in the world of animal welfare, I became aware of something called "Black Dog Syndrome," which is the term used to describe the difficulty facing black shelter dogs trying to find forever homes. As someone who has lived with black dogs for more than 17 years (and counting), I had difficulty understanding the prejudice facing canines of color and felt the need to do something about it. So 2 years ago I published Black is Beautiful: A Celebration of Dark Dogs, a book of photographs of black dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages, and breeds. My goal was twofold: to inspire people to appreciate the beauty of black dogs and to raise money for the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George's County, the organization with which I volunteer.

Inspired by my canine "models," I embarked upon a new project: A is for Angel: A Dog Lover's Guide the Alphabet. This book features photos of dogs whose names begin with specific letters of alphabet, along with their stories, as told by the people who love and live with them. A portion of the proceeds of this publication will also be donated to selected animal welfare organizations. Both books are available on my website, DigitalDoggy.com, the newest brick in the road to my reinvention.

So...I've taken the plunge and am on my way. I may not be sure of my destination, but I'm excited about the journey. And I welcome your company along the way.

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