When I surveyed the Michigan Road in 2008, my dogs were my constant companions. I’d fold the back seat down in my little red wagon and pop the hatch for them. They always eagerly jumped in – they wanted to go wherever I was going. The point of the trip was to photograph the sights along the road. We were quite a sight, me with a camera in one hand and them leashed on the other. When we walked through the Michigan Road’s towns, people frequently stopped me to remark on my dogs. Gracie, left, is a Golden Retriever-Chow mix; Sugar, right, is a Rottweiler runt. I’ll never forget the elegant elderly woman in Madison whose eyes welled up with tears as she remembered her long departed, beloved Rottie. And when I reached tiny Kirklin, having two large dogs on a leash helped keep the peace when shopkeepers accosted me with sharp questions about why I was photographing their town.
Sugar fell ill and passed that summer. She was the best dog I ever had – smart, gentle, loyal, and good natured. Gracie is an abused stray; she’s never been quite right, even 14 years after she made her home with me. Age has flecked her face with gray, robbed her of her hearing, and generally slowed her down. Jumping into my wagon is hard for her now; I usually have to pick her up and put her inside. And long trips just exhaust her. But she still always wants to go.
Gracie sleeps a lot now. That’s all right; she’s earned it. Read about it.