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

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Five Dogs in Five Days

I was recently nominated by a Facebook friend to post five dog photos in five days...a task I was more than willing to to take on. Dogs, as my friends know, are one of my favorite photographic subjects. But deciding which five photos to share turned out to be more challenging than I had anticipated. Out of my hundreds of digital dog images, how would I choose just five?

But choose I did. And although these images aren't necessarily my "best," there was a reason for each selection.

First was a wire-haired Jack Russell terrier I met in Ireland. It seemed the logical place to start since I'd traveled in Ireland with the woman who nominated me for this visual exercise. The little guy (I forget his name) was perched on his front stoop enjoying the sun in the charming seaside town of Kinsale. He had a look of disinterested confidence that said,"This is my neighborhood. I hope you enjoy your walk in it. If you want to take my photo, you may; just don't expect me to smile."

My Day 2 choice was the direct result of Winter Storm Jonas, which had just dumped three feet of snow throughout much of the Washington DC-area. Faced with the reality of shoveling in the bitter cold, I was yearning for summer sunshine. And although the photo--of a friend's Chinese hairless crested, Funny Bones--was taken on a stone patio, the light, the windblown look of his hair, and the bluish color of the background (enhanced through some editing) gave the image a "beachy" feel that warmed my soul.

Working at an animal shelter, I photograph a lot of dogs and cats, so I turned to these files for my Day 3 inspiration. None of the shelter residents were more pitiful or needy than three terrified, essentially feral puppies rescued by the Humane Society of United States from a Korean dog meat farm. These puppies lived for weeks in the shelter's Behavior & Training office, receiving ongoing socialization and behavior modification. All three (there are three puppies in this image; the brown one had burrowed under the other two in an effort to go unnoticed) eventually went home with experienced adopters who had other dogs to serve as canine friends and role models. At last report, they were all doing well.

For Day 4. I chose a more personal image: of Ceiligh, a JRT/pointer/Lab mix my husband and I adopted after seeing her as an eight-week-old puppy up for adoption in a pet supply store that we visited to buy goldfish for our pond. Her adoption was something of an impulse (we already had two dogs) but it's one we've never regretted. At 13 years old, she's now senior canine of a household that once again contains three dogs. I took this picture of Ceiligh (pronounced Kaylee) sitting in one of our Adirondack chairs when she was four months old. It later served as the basis for a gorgeous pastel by my talented artist friend Liz Holm.


I decided to conclude the series with a photo that looks to the future. Yaya is a rescued pit bull terrier rescued by friends of mine. She is one of many dogs who have posed for images that will appear in a book I'm working on called Fetching Art: Murals, Graffiti & Man's Best Friend. If all goes as planned, I'll finish shooting this summer and have the book printed before the end of the year.

And so, my Five Dogs in Five Days collection is complete. But I so enjoyed reviewing my photos--some of which I haven't looked at in years--that I've decided to continue the process in my own way...by posting one dog photo a week here, So, dog lovers, check in once in a while; you might like what you see.