I'll add this one to #3 in my series of books titled Dogs With Their Eyes Closed
This is Morley, a former sled dog. She came into retirement back in April 2020 (as Splash) and hung out at a foster home to get her bearings and learn all that is new about living inside a home as a beloved member of a family. She got adopted recently and is finding all the comfy spots to hang out in her new home.
You can see more of my sled dog advocacy at: www.iwasasleddog.com
yesterday evening i went out into the garden...
in the dark
after the rain
... as one does.
on my way out i noticed the rain droplets on my office window...
after admiring the blueness of the sky, i went outside with camera in one hand, and a little LED solar powered light in the other, my aim was to capture the feel of the garden - that 'after the rain' feeling - water droplets hanging on vines and stems and the way the damp glistens on leaves,
sweet 100 tomatoes, grapes, sedum, quinoa, carrots, lemon balm, geranium, bean leaves, kale, the next-door neighbour's tree
it was warm out
the rain had stopped and the sky had cleared
the dogs came out
all images © wendy nesbitt
I just re-found this group of images - like so many photos, they were sitting on my hard drive, edited, but not shared.
Does that mean they existed?
They were taken in May 2019, and I believe Heather holding her hands up in the first photo is illustrating that she dropped Chester's leash and let him walk without tether... although his leash was still attached to his collar... just in case.
I realized there are more photos of Saru the Shiba, Chester's brother, than the other dogs. Going beyond his photogenic-ness, maybe I was trying to show him some extra attention as we were all so smitten with Chester and his ability to figure out jumping logs (it took him a few moments to figure out what to do!) and the fact he didn't run away.
There's even more of Saru than my own dogs, Mister Coco + Bella Boo.
It was a peaceful walk with four very different dogs all at various stages of their lives, just getting to be dogs.
I should probably start by saying, it's not really 'my' own garden, but 'my family's' own garden because my husband and our two dogs use it too, along with racoons, other people's cats, a bunny, lots of birds like hummingbirds, twohees, robins, woodpeckers, northern flickers and so many more that I will one day identify.
There are also the ladybirds, pillbugs, aphids, wasps, bees, hoverbees, dragonflies... I could go on.
We bought our house in 2005 and a couple years later I built a couple raised veggie beds. Then two more raised veggie beds, then an ornamental bed to create more room because neighbours down the street kept giving us shrubs and perennials. And so it went for a few years. But then my focus changed as I immersed myself into volunteering at a local animal shelter.
I'd plant some veggies some summers, but things started to languish a bit. Then we started going out to visit family on the prairies for a 2-3 weeks each summer and I didn't see the point of growing things I wouldn't be around to water or harvest...
But then came 2020.
Knowing we weren't going to go far from home, I put lots of time and energy into the back garden - building new beds, hauling rocks, planting seeds and seedlings.
Then it started to grow.
My photography is very documentary based and I've spent a lot of time photographing all the things that make up other people's lives.
So one day I decided to document the garden, like I did for other people.
And I'm so glad I did because it's given me a chance to look back on some of my own life and the hits, misses, accomplishments and moments in time that make up our family garden.
All images © wendy nesbitt | Prints available by request.
my dad turned 90 years old today... although he's not really old.
he still gardens, mows the lawn, mixes cement and build houses for his mason bees
he's also very social so the last few months have been hard, but today my mom organized a drive by/pop in for him on their front lawn so he got to see some friends and family in person
i asked him for the photo wearing the hat, he asked me to take one of him 'sleeping'...
the sleeping has nothing to do with age, he's been doing it for as long as i can remember
Happy birthday dad!
Ollie and his new l'il brother Luke came by for a photo session.
These two weren't really into "sitting" for portraits, and even less so, sitting for portraits next to each other as there was too much fun (and napping) to be had, but I'm all about embracing what dogs want to share when in front of my camera, and then finding a way to capture what I see so I can share it with their humans.
I know my studio can get warm, but this day was weirdly hot and muggy so I was wiping the sweat off my brow as my glasses were fogging up... photography can be so glamourous.
The dogs were cool though and they took turns in front of the camera and got lots of breaks and had a big bowl of water so they also helped wash my studio floor... all in all, a win win!
It was a hot day today, but we ventured out and met this wee one... but more on her in a bit!
The first stop was to visit my father-in-law. We haven't seen him in person for at least a couple months - since before the pandemic hit - and because he lives in a senior-oriented building, we haven't visited inside, but the weather's been nice so we planned a visit for outside.
We met up in the park across from his apartment and baked in the sun for a bit while we chatted. It was short, but sweet. As we walked back to the car through the garden, we stopped for a photo op. The rhodos and irises were beautiful and the light was being filtered through them just perfectly, even in the hot afternoon sun.
Next stop was a short drive away to meet 11-week old Soji. We'd left our dogs at home as they're older and not very stoked on puppy energy. Soji was trying her hardest to play - she would have bursts of energy running and chewing on whatever was close, then pancake down in exhaustion. Hot day (even in the shade), new people, so much excitement.
She has these long beautiful eyelashes set into her dark mask - with dappled sun and no reflector or flash it's a bit tough to see her eyes, but really, they're only a one piece of her overall cuteness.
She was a bit nervous when I brought out my DSLR, but she is such a sponge that it took no time for her to feel more at ease with it in her face... with the help of some treats. But she also seems to take her treats quite seriously, and you'll see her steely gaze of focus in the photos where I was holding the camera in one hand and the treat in the other.
It's a big, new world for this little one, and I wish her all goodness and love.
I was able to tear myself away from wee Soji to also enjoy this friend's beautiful yard and koi pond where the fish swim into your hand... and sometimes even do a soft nibble.
My first written magazine article and cover photo in one!
I came across Wunderdog on Instagram when they put out a call for submissions to the first issue of their new magazine. So I did some research to see if I thought it'd be a good fit for my story following former sled dogs since the 2010 Whistler sled dog cull, and I really liked their messaging, so I submitted.
Nina, the editor, and I had some back and forths to flesh out how the story would fit and in that time the first issue was launched. I thought maybe they'd moved on, but Nina reached out again and we got to work... the best part about the delay was then getting the cover!
I'm not gonna lie - condensing the last nine years of this project into 400 words was tough. I'm not a writer so I agonized for days and weeks trying to include a mix of everything I've learned and photographed over this time. I submitted a whole bunch of photographs and let them choose - I just couldn't. And the cover... it was tough to decide about using an existing photo or getting something new, but we went with new (and it was an excuse for me to visit and photograph Chich again!) I had no idea which image they'd choose, but am in love with the one they did. This wee dog with the big eyes and perky ears not only draws you in, but when you learn she was a sled dog, it's an opportunity for learning about sleddies.
Thanks to Wunderdog Magazine for helping share the plight of sled dogs as well as sharing the stories of the sleddies on an international scale!
This magazine is just beautiful to hold and it holds so many interesting stories from all over the world featuring pet art therapy to what rescues are doing globally during the pandemic - and the paper it's printed on is thick and matte and showcases the photographs perfectly.
It's a piece of art in and of itself.
Wunderdog isn't available in Canada, but you can order direct from www.wunderdogmagazine.com.
For more on former sled dogs: www.iwasasleddog.com