As I drove through the city docks area, I spotted two older gentlemen sitting on the tailgate of a truck, drinking their morning coffee, engaged in a lively conversation. Between the two men sat a little dog with his head turning from one man to other as though listening to the conversation. I quickly parked my car, already imagining the picture I might take. I’d try to frame the shot to include just the legs and lower body of the men on the tailgate with my focus on that sweet little dog.
As so often happens, in the two minutes it took to park and get out of my car, the scene changed. The men finished their coffee and stood to head their separate ways. I walked up and commented on the distinctive dog, and his owner just lit up with pride. He bragged on “Bonny” – how she always obeyed him, seldom barked, had never bitten anyone and was a joyful companion. I asked if I might take her picture. And just like that he reached down and held Bonny up, by her front paws. This pose was not at all what I had in mind, but still it was endearingly familiar. This is the same way a parent reaches down to help a toddler take his first steps or often to get him to hold still for a picture.
These frozen moments capture not only the passion we can have for dogs, but also the fleeting transience of life: dogs’ lives are poignantly short – so too are people’s.