This past weekend I met and photographed three different women and their dogs. In all their lives there was a thread of emotion – the loss or eventual loss of their beloved dog. They’d all raised dogs from puppies and enjoyed the life shared with 4 paws, a wet nose, and dog hair strewn about.
There’s a real kinship I feel when photographing dogs and their people, so when the time of sharing your life with your dog becomes shorter and the reality of their eventual passing becomes more imminent, the daily walks, feedings, and rides in the car become highlighted, more careful, more watchful. Every moment becomes more special and pronounced because we’re aware of the fragility of time.
After the grieving comes the decision whether or not to extend yourself and open up your heart to another life that needs a loving home. So do, some don’t or can’t. I recall the 82 year old woman that I met in a dog training class a number of years ago, with my now 13 year old coonhound/lab mix. Yes, at 82, after living with schnauzers her whole life, she invited another schnoodle puppy into her life. She loved that dog and when it came time to move into a nursing home, trying to find a suitable home and then turning the dog over to a schnauzer rescue was the hardest thing I had to do. I knew the void it would bring to her heart.
Puppies have a way of crawling into our hearts and opening them up again. We laugh, talk baby-talk and enjoy all the antics that a puppy can deliver. We also loose some sleep and who doesn’t remember the sharpness of puppy teeth and breath?
So in this spirit of cycles of the lives we share with our dogs, I offer you a glimpse of life as dog owners know it. A new puppy, a older lab and a 6 month old that knows it’s African heritage.
If you lost a dog, how long do you think you’d wait to open your heart up to another? Or would you not adopt again? What would it depend upon? Would you become a ‘foster mom/dad’? Let’s see what you have to say.