My very first dog was Nikki, a border collie mix. She was a Christmas present for the boy (me) who had been begging for a dog. I was 11 and cried like a baby when I opened the box and saw her sweet face. I couldn’t believe she was mine. She liked nothing better to burrow in the blankets and snuggle with me...no matter how hot it got. She lived a long, good life and passed when I was 23. We spent so many good years together. I think we have a photo of that Christmas in a family album. I will share that photo when I find it.
Because of Nikki, we had now become a dog family. To fill the void in our hearts, we got a sweet 8-week yellow lab that we named Indiana (Indy). Although she was the family dog, she became my constant companion and eventually came to live with me in my first apartment. She was with me when I met Amy and, once we moved in together, she became Amy’s first dog. Indy is also the dog we can thank for launching us into this wonderful business of dog art. I took a photo of her with a Christmas tree on her back for a holiday card to send to my clients. My clients went nuts for the photo and a business was born! As with many labs, Indy’s hips were her downfall. She made it to the age of 12. Our son was so lucky to have her as his first dog.
"Laberjack" - the picture that launched a business.
"Sleepy" - Indy on the red couch. She was looking at me when I was working and I snapped this photo. You may recognize this image in my collection.
Our boy (who is now 18!) on his first Christmas, with his first dog.
And then there was Sam. When Indy died, we had just had our daughter. Having a newborn and a two-year-old who was potty training took all hands on deck - at least for the first year. Then we rescued Sam. Sam was an Akbash - which is much like Mo's breed but with a pure white coat. Sam was quiet and calm like Moses, but also very different. He loved people and ALL food. Once, at a party, he cleaned the plates of a bunch of ladies sitting on a couch eating cake! Sammy also made it to 12, which is old for such a large breed dog. In fact, we sent him over the bridge on his birthday. He was so very tired and it was time to go home. In looking at these photos now, I forget how beautiful and completely stunning he was.
Sammy loved coming to word at the studio with us everyday.
Our last picture of Sam, as an old man, with his pink heart shaped nose.
How lucky I’ve been to have so much love in life with more love to give to Moses and Lewie. That’s why dogs are the best. They make our hearts full.
“An Ode to All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before” was sincerely touching and brought tears to my eyes. The love you had for each and every one of your dogs is evident and so endearing. Just like you, our family has always had one or more dogs in our family all the time that we loved and loved us back twice fold. Your photo art pieces are a testament to how dogs make our lives better in every way. Thank you, from one dog lover to another.
The remembrances of all your canine family members brought tears to my eyes, as I remembered ours. Jake, our Yellow Lab and Ranger, our Black Lab, were filled with nothing but love and devotion to our family. They were the sweetest examples of how living beings should be. They reminded us, every day, to try and just be, and above all else, to just live in the moment.
Ron – thank you for all the joy your extraordinary pictures bring to our home and to everyone who visits us. Our first piece was, I think it’s called Chocolate Cake. My husband I went to a gift shop in Vermont and I saw it on the wall. After having seen dozens of items I loved, it was the only thing we left with. It brings me joy every time I look at it.
I believe dogs know something we don’t. They not only possess the ability to love – they oftentimes do it better than humans. There is a look in their eyes that conveys an understanding beyond ours. They are one of our most cherished gifts.
Our first Lab passed away from cognitive hart failure. Then we adopted Scamper a boarder Collie mix and he was so sad my Reggie passed away we adopted Cooper from Labs4Rescue. So sorry for all your loss but one day you will meet again.
We do not have Labs but are the proud parents of 4 Boston Terriers. Our oldest is 11 years old and is named Shelbee. Four years ago she had her her first major seizure and then a second a month later. She spent a week each time at the vet clinic. The second seizure took her sight. Her most violent one was the night after Christmas 2020. The Vet said he didn’t think she was survive…but she came home three days later. He still can’t believe she survived! This is one very happy girl.
I loved “Ode to all the dogs I’ve loved before”. Just lost my dog Sammie, a black lab, of 14 years and like you, started remembering all the dogs I’ve had before her. I’m looking to adopt a new companion. Hoping to find one soon. My heart is empty.
We have a 14 year old yellow lab trained service dog for my husband who contacted polio at 9 months of age. Lovely Rita is 14 and her hips are her down fall. Rita is doing fairly well….every morning upon waking up I look up and see her inner desire to love and serve. There is nothing like the love of a dog. Double ditto…. to a service dog who his served with a MIGHTY LOVING HEART. Everyone who meets Rita melts…she is just so lovely.