[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)