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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bonnie Brings Joy Back

Dog photo of the week: Bonnie

My mother describes Bonnie as a godsend, which for my parents she is. A young adult yellow Labrador retriever, Bonnie found herself in a southern shelter following the divorce of her people at the same time that my parents were looking for a canine companion to fill a very large hole in their lives.

That hole was created by the death of their beloved yellow Lab Abby, who succumbed to hemangiosarcoma at the age 14 years. An energetic, affectionate, loving dog, Abby was in all the ways that matter my parents' youngest child. And when she died, their grief was beyond measure.

It took many months before they were ready to even consider opening their hearts to another dog, but, eventually, they decided the time was right...that they could not continue to live their lives without a dog.

They knew they wanted another yellow Lab, so I helped them find some breed rescue organizations online and encouraged them to submit applications and inquire about specific dogs whose photos and profiles attracted their attention. After a few "close calls," they learned about Abby and after talking at length with the rescue group representative, decided to adopt her.

When the big day arrived, my parents drove to a designated rest stop, where the transport--full of dogs heading for new homes and new lives in the Northeast--was scheduled to stop. The sense of anticipation and excitement was palpable. When the truck pulled in to the parking lot, the waiting crowd burst into applause.

One by one, Labs of all ages, sizes, and colors were walked or carried off the truck. Finally, a large yellow Lab emerged. My parents were stunned. Having raised two short, compact, English-type Labs, they were unprepared for Bonnie's size. "She looked like a pony," my mother recalls. (In reality, Bonnie is an American field Lab...taller and lankier with a thinner face than the typical English Lab.)

Once they recovered from their surprise and brought their new family member home, the process of healing from the loss of Abby began and a new, beautiful relationship blossomed. Bonnie will never replace Abby (as no new companion can--or should--replace another) but she has brought joy into my parents' lives again. She plays ball in the back yard with my mother, takes walks with my father, explores local parks and woods with them, keeps them company when they're on the computer or reading the paper, and climbs into their bed for morning cuddle sessions.

Bonnie adores my parents and they adore her. It doesn't get much better than that!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

I'm ready for my close-up

Dog photo of the week: Yoda
I shot this photo several years ago when I was working on a book called Brindled Beauties. The canine model was a dog named Yoda, who was waiting for adoption at the Washington Humane Society. I draped a blanket over a sofa in an interaction room and provided a couple of large stuffed toys. Then I sat back to wait.

Like most pit bull terriers and mixes thereof, Yoda was an exuberant dog with unbridled energy. She spent a good 15 or 20 minutes running around the room and tossing the toys around...a blur of motion. But eventually she lay down on the sofa and gave me a direct, slightly over-the-shoulder look that brought to mind the iconic quote uttered by Gloria Swanson in the role of Norma Desmond in the 1950 film Sunset Blvd: "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
To see images of more brindled beauties, go to my website, DigitalDoggy.com.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Welcome to My Neighborhood

As promised in  my last post, here's my first weekly dog photo.

I met this bulldog in Helsinki, Finland. I originally saw him from a distance, hanging out with a bunch of guys sitting on some steps. Suddenly he noticed me too, so I sat on the pavement and waited as he ambled closer. Shortly after I snapped this photo, he came right up to greet--and hump--me. Not sure if he really, really liked me...or just wanted me to understand that he was the boss. In either case, his human companions had a good laugh.