Theme = MyLeaves
For the past 14 years, my beloved dog, Tundra, has been a constant companion for me. For the past few years, her health has declined rapidly, and on April 27th, 2004, we made the hard decision & took that final walk to the vet. In the end, she was too weak to sit up & she had lost interest even in her favorite treats. My head says that the decision was clear & right; but my heart will always regret that we didn't have more time together.
I'm pretty sad about this, so this page is a bit of an indulgence for me. Tundra didn't care to be photographed, but she was often my test subject; so as a memorial, here are some snapshots of her.
Above is my favorite picture of Tundra, taken soon after she came to live with me, and soon after I got my first set of studio lights. We made this picture as an exercise -- I was trying to learn how to use the lights.
Okay, she's a dog, and she's white, but she's not always white because she's not always clean. Here's a picture of Tundra after a fun day digging in the back yard, several years ago. I like the drool.
All other photos presented here are more recent, taken with my digital camera, which I use for proofing & for snapshots.
Rather than dwell on her sad, sad end, I'll share some fun stories of her.
used to walk in the park twice a day when we lived in California.
There was an old immigrant fellow who once told me:
For a dog that didn't like to be photographed much, Tundra definitely found interesting light. This is our dining room -- she didn't like being in the home theater, but she was quite comfortable in this particular spot, where she could watch me while I watched TV.
Tundra was very smart. She knew that pushing against a door that opened inward was counter-productive. She could always figure out ways to go around obstacles. She did well with her obedience training -- she quickly learned how to sit, lie down, come, and heel, but she always had trouble with "stay". If I walked away from her, she simply wanted to walk away with me, and she did. That's why I said she was a poor photographic subject -- I'd set her up under the lights, but when I walked back behind the camera, she'd follow me. So frustrating!
During the warm seasons, I shaved Tundra. She looks so funny & unique without her thick fur -- when she has her full coat, she looks squat & stocky, but with her fur shaved, she looks thin & puppy-like. In fact, throughout her life, people were amazed that she wasn't a puppy. A typical conversation: "How old is your dog?", "11", "Oh, 11 months.", "No, 11 years."
She was always enthusiastic around people, and people everywhere loved her. She charmed everyone she met. She had this way of poking you with her nose when she wanted to be pet.
One day, we were walking along & was passed by an ambulance with its sirens blasting. It was very loud, and Tundra flattened her ears until it passed. Then, she looked up at me & crooned a perfect imitation of the siren.
Tundra was a Samoyed, but I don't think she was purebred. She was a little small for the breed, and most Samoyeds have a blockier head. Maybe she was a runt, I don't know. I rescued her from the dog pound when she was about a year old. I still can't believe that someone had her for a year & gave her up. At first she was very shy & somewhat hinky about about being touched, but slowly, gradually, she got over that.
Like many Samoyeds, she looks like she is smiling all the time. She had the sweetest disposition. She was totally non-aggressive, and every dog she met was her new best friend. In her prime, she was a queen (and official greeter) of the dog park, and on those rare occasions when I left her in a kennel, she always amazed the staff by making friends with each & every dog, including the ones who weren't too social.
She will be missed.
"Good dog, Tundra. Good girl."