Captured: Travel buddies

Travel buddies

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.


15 responses to “Captured: Travel buddies”

  1. Tori Nelson Avatar

    So sweet. Glad they got to go on that adventure!

    1. Jim Avatar

      So were they!

  2. Dani Avatar

    Our canine friends are some of the most loyal.

    1. Jim Avatar

      What a life. “Wherever you’re going, we want to go too.” So simple.

  3. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    That’s an absolutely fantastic picture. Boy, it makes me wish I had dogs around again.

    1. Jim Avatar

      One thing about having an old dog is that you never know when you’re going to come home to find she’s puked all over the carpet. There. Cured now?

  4. ryoko861 Avatar

    They hold such places in our hearts! And are with us for such a short time. My cat just turned 10. It seems like I just brought him home from my impromptu visit at the pet store just yesterday. He’s slowing down too, doesn’t play as much and I believe is arthritic. This will be my last cat. I can’t deal with their deaths anymore. I’ve buried too many. Aren’t I a ray of sunshine?
    That’s a great picture of Gracie and Sugar! Worthy of a nice picture frame!

    1. Jim Avatar

      I know I’ll move on after Gracie passes, but I do reserve the right to be a basket case for two days. I won’t replace her after she dies.

      1. ryoko861 Avatar

        I’ll send you the tissues…and a shoulder to cry on!

  5. Jennifer S Avatar

    Love the picture, and I’m with you all the way. Rescue dogs are the best. And I admire you for giving them such long, happy lives. Even worth cleaning the puked on carpet. I hate to think about ever having to part from our guys. Don’t you try not to think about it?

    1. Jim Avatar

      Actually, I have mixed feelings about it. I’ll miss Gracie terribly when she’s gone, but on the other hand it’ll be nice to be able to come and go more easily. I’d love to take weekend trips with my boys, for example.

  6. davidvanilla Avatar

    Wonderful picture. Great memory of Sugar and a cool image of Grace. I miss my goldens.

    1. Jim Avatar

      They’re great dogs, almost perfect companions.

  7. kodakkerouacs Avatar

    Oh I’m so sorry about Sugar. My dog is getting old, but every time I jingle my keys she jumps up (not as fast as she used to) and runs to the door. They are the most honest souls on Earth.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Gracie’s at least 15, so I feel like every day with her is borrowed time. I’m sitting in my big chair watching the election returns tonight, and she’s snoozing off my port bow.

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