It was a day full of stuff... going here, going there, going back here, going back there... but then some fun stuff... photos in back alleys, visits with The Monster Sisters in person at their art show, visiting with adorable Janie and then to top it all off, seeing a little dog getting a nice big hug.
[PART EIGHT of a series chronicling the re-homing of Whistler sled tour dogs.]
There are some holes in my photos this time. As a documentary photographer, I shoot a lot of photos and then when I go through them, I see where the photographs take me and what sort of stories they tell. Since I met my first retired sleddie and photographed her - Abby in March 2012 - I've learned not to go into a situation - whether it was an arrival day at the shelter, playtime, a walk on the beach or hike in the hills, up at the kennels in Whistler, or at a reunion party - with any sort of plan or agenda. Part of what I'm doing is just observing - and hoping that my camera is at the ready. And it is… most of the time. Except yesterday…
Yesterday was the Retired Sleddie Super Reunion 2014 at Penny's house. A whole host of sleddies and their parents were in attendance and even a couple made the trek from the mainland! Over the course of the day 32 sleddies had a chance to run around, sniff bums and just… be. And like all the other times I've been around these dogs, I get this incredible sense of peace when I'm with them.
And I guess that feeling got the better of me yesterday because I missed some shots - a lot of shots actually. And when I think about the ones I missed, it's like watching a movie in slow motion. The first shot I missed (and I'm sharing this because it was so fantastic) was when Question physically removed the hose from the wading pool. It made perfect sense since the pool was pretty much full. But observing the act of her looking at the hose, the pause as she made some sort of conscious decision, to putting her mouth on the hose and depositing it outside of the pool and then going back into the pool was a remarkable moment.
There were other moments too, and other dogs I didn't get to photograph. And I'm sorry to the sleddies and their families... but I guess I'm sharing this because I want to acknowledge the gaps, but also realize that as this project evolves and my conscious decision of documenting and sharing their lives so publicly winds down over the next few months, I just have to thank my lucky stars that I've had this opportunity to make these connections and make some great new friends along the way - to gear up for the next phase and see where the dogs will lead me. And I hope that over the last two and a half years I've been able to share not only what I have seen, but what I have felt- and that hopefully the specialness of these dogs and their situations has been able to shine through.
So, thank you to all the sleddies who were able to make it today: Ash, Bubba, Lady, Sonny, Shrek + Pique, Niv + Siku, Tuba, Boo, Question + Daffy, Whistler, Nordique + Lion, Weasely, Wasp, Cola, Chichi, Grey Grey, Birch, Sun + Silly, River, Galute, Tucker, Griffindor, Luna, Skier, Moose, and Stella + Shazaam.
And to all of the four-legged sleddie buddies: Angel, Sasha, Lucie + Shelby as well as hosts Cash, Ash, Cooper, Jessie + Piper, … and last but certainly not least, to the proud sleddie parents and the proud sleddie supporters… thank you. Again.
Until the next time!
(to see the other parts of this series, please go here)
The Esquimalt Lagoon is one of my favourite places to go. When our Suzy was alive, she LOVED the place. She'd walk along the shoreline on the calmer waters of the lagoon side up to her knees, and she'd sniff and run and sniff some more - visiting people and other dogs with her flouncy tail held high like a flag. And even though it's been almost six months since our sweet l'il Suzy passed away, I still love that place and make a point of going as often as I can. It makes me feel close to her and happy and I feel her presence there more than almost anywhere else. Plus, no matter what the weather (see previous post) it always leaves me feeling inspired... and my pockets are heavier as I can't leave without taking a few beach rocks.
Today was no exception. So me, the Mister and l'il Miss (Coco, my parents' dog), along with our extra special buddies Heather, Saru + Cola, Shannon, ChiChi + Lola and the woman who brought 5 of the 6 of these dogs into our lives, Penny, spent some time having fun in the sun and the nice ocean breeze.
Cola (a retired sleddie who's still learning about the big, wide world) ventured out onto the rocks, Saru let his feet *sort of* get damp, the Mister wanted no part of the water and had to be carried at times due to his weird little legs, the little Miss Coco made sure she got her share of treats ( all of 8lbs of her), Lola chased sticks and snacks, and Chichi, well she was trying hard to make up her own adventures.
I continue to be in awe of these dogs every time we hang out. Their dependent, yet independent natures, they way they all get along. They way they have defied convention...
Thanks gang for yet a spectacular afternoon.
(please click on images for captions)