One year of pure happiness

  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • ISO: 110
  • Shutter: 1/59 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D80

Northport, Alabama

I should have titled this, “When Bad Flash Happens to Good Dogs,” but I won’t. Poor aesthetics aside, this is a photograph that can never be recaptured. It’s unfortunate I shot it so poorly, but life is like that sometimes.

I was born at 3:03 p.m. on July 23, 1973. Every year until I graduated and moved away, my mother would drag out the camera and take a picture of me at the exact hour of my birth. It’s an interesting document of my life, capturing all the changes, from my wild eighth-grade Beatles craze to my wilder first boyfriend phase, from my summer job at a veterinarian’s clinic (wearing brand new glasses) to my summer job as a secretary (with a new haircut and way too short skirt.)

For Cowboy, I decided to take him back to the camellia tree where I took his first photograph. He knew we were about to go to the park, and he had no patience for sentimental sojourns when there were frisbees to chase and new dogs to meet. I acquiesced, grabbed my shot, and set him free, laughing as he sailed into the passenger seat and waited for me to buckle him in and get on about the business of making his special day special.

There was much I’d planned to do. Bake a cake. Get some presents. Make a video. Instead, I sat on a hillside and watched him play with his new friend, a white German Shepherd. He’s broad-shouldered and stronger, but still, he’s no match for the female persuasion. He leaves the park every day with a slobbery head courtesy of Miss Bama, who loves dragging him around the field by his ear.

As I type, he lies sleeping beside me, where he can usually be found. I wrote last year that dogs were a necessary part of life for cowboys and cowgirls, easing the loneliness, filling idle hours with purpose, providing constant adoration and undying loyalty, and one year later, I can say Cowboy has provided all that and more. I hope his first year has been happy. I hope he knows how very much he’s loved. And I hope next year is even better.

Music: Sacrifice by Theory of a DeadmanĀ (lyrics)


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