Project 52 | Week 21 – Black and White

The theme for week 21 of the Project 52 Pet Photographer’s blog circle is “black and white”.

This week I am digging into the archives for photos of one of my favourite subjects for black and white photography, my beautiful Sadie-Girl.

Sadie entered my life as a 5-year-old English Springer Spaniel who had recently lost her elderly owner.

I had been tentatively searching for a second companion for my little Shih Tzu, Coco. My hope was to find a smallish dog to be his playmate.

A friend emailed me about Sadie’s plight and wondered if I might be interested. I knew nothing about the breed but it sounded like she would be a bigger, more active dog than what I had envisioned as a playmate for our little Coco Bean. None the less, Roland and I decided to go and meet her.

Roland fell instantly in love and, sure enough, Sadie joined our family that same day.

She was indeed larger than what I had planned for, with energy to burn and an insatiable appetite to play in water, but she was also the most gentle of souls. We quickly came to realize how blessed we were to have her.

This last photo is one of my favourites… Roland, Sadie and Coco.

He loved his dogs. And they loved him.

“Tu me manques.”

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!” ~ Ted Grant

Project 52 _______________________
This post is part of the Pet Photography Project 52 blog circle. To see what the next photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Black and White”, visit Jo Lyons Photography, the down-to-earth dog-loving photographer for cherished dogs of the Great Lakes NSW. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here. Enjoy!

Living Love

At this moment I am wrapped in the sadness of my most recent loss. But I am also filled with gratitude to have had the joy of sharing my life with these three beautiful souls.

Living Love

If you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember…

The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your young new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter… simply because something in its eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore, and claim its special place in your hall or front room… and when you feel it brush against you for the first time… it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.

The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your long-time friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep where you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend’s diet… and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness. And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives.

And on this day… if your friend and God have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own… on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you… you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night. If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or comfort you. But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul… a bit smaller in size than your own, seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg… very very lightly. And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lay… you will remember those three significant days. The memory will most likely be painful, and leave an ache in your heart. As time passes the ache will come and go as if it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.

But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when… along with the memory of your pet… and piercing through the heaviness in your heart… there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love… like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this love will remain and grow… and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our beloved pets… it is a love that we will always possess.

~ Written by Martin Scot Kosins ~ Author of “Maya’s First Rose”

and dedicated to my three…

Today We Said Good-Bye

This morning we awoke to grey skies and the rumblings of thunder. Rain occasionally hit against the windows.. but it was a soft, gently type of rain… befitting of the day, I suppose.

Rain or no rain… Sadie and I went for one last walk in our field. She hasn’t been able to be out there much the past month or so… her pain is such that long walks haven’t been feasible.

But this morning we headed out through the back gate… just her and I. The rain softly falling.

As soon as we entered the field I slipped off her lead. Today she would decide which way to go… and I would follow. We slowly walked along the fence line, Sadie’s nose to the ground enjoying her time and all the fresh smells that a light rain brings.

We had not gone too far when Sadie simply stopped and looked about. She looked up at me with her sad brown eyes and I could sense her fatigue.

“It’s OK girl” I said, “We can go back.”

But before we did I knelt down beside her and held her lovely big old face as close to mine as possible, touching noses… and then a kiss. My eyes were level with hers and I looked into them as deeply as I could… searching for her spirit… wanting her to know, somehow to sense, that no matter what… we would always be together.

“I love your Sadie… I love you so much. Please come back and walk beside me. I will be waiting for you.”

I gathered her into my arms for one big hug and then I rose, we turned and started our slow walk back to the gate. The rain had stopped and for just a short moment the sun shone through, transforming the field into a green glistening meadow. Sadie and I walked side by side back to the yard… one last time.

Love you Sadie Girl… forever and always.










Sadie-bioreserve-oct2 - Copy

“We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we would still live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan.”
~ Irving Townsend

Scenes from a Dog Walk


Sadie turns 13 next month. The years and our time have passed much too quickly. I remember our walks when Sadie would be so far in front that she would be a mere dot in the distance. Today our walks are slower, more cautious… but still very much enjoyed. More a time of mediation than exuberance… perhaps a good fit for both of us now.

“Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.” ~ Sydney Jeanne Seward

Learning to Be Still

I am very excited, and a little nervous. I am taking part in the most intriguing photography art course… something very new and very different from what I am used to.

The course is offered by Kim Klassen and is entitled Be Still-52. This one year course revolves around photography but more importantly centers on the universal quest of mindfulness and personal peace. The weekly theme will focus on the beauty that is found in and around all of us. The photographic challenge will be to present it through stillness.

pause and breathe

As the years have passed, I have come to appreciate the need for mindfulness and often yearn to learn more on the art of being still. To now have the chance to practice this, with camera in hand, just feels so right.

Truth be told, it is only week two and I am already feeling challenged. My thought was to transition my old ways with that of the new. Thus Sadie’s paws (a small play on words) interlaced with a more universal truth, “pause and breathe”.

Scenes from the Dogpark

It has been months since Sadie, Coco, and I have visited Kilcona Dogpark, mostly due to the cold of winter but also related to my concerns about Sadie being up for it. Saturday was just too perfect a day not to give it a go. Finally some decent weather, not yet warm but certainly more spring like, so off we went. I am so happy that we did.
I have been coming to this park for over 10 years and each time I come I am filled with delight at the open space and the magnificent stretch of sky, each season painted with a different brush. The winter walks, with the frozen waterways making way for broad walking paths lined on either side by stately golden bulrushes and prairie grass, are favourite times.

Sadie, Coco and I … we LOVE this park, and that is why the latest news has us concerned. Apparently the City of Winnipeg is working on a new master plan for Kilcona with two of the three purposed options shrinking the size of the off-leash area by one-third to one-half its current size. It has been estimated that approximately 3000 people and their dogs visit this dog park every week. Needless to say… the city may have a fight on its hands.

Dog owners howl over proposed park changes | CTV Winnipeg News.

Related Links:
Kilcona Dog Park Club
Kilcona Park / Harbourview Strategic Renewal and Action Plan