My calendar reminders are in cue, reminding me that today, in 1993, I made the gut/heart/soul tearing decision to put my dog down. If you’ve been around here at all, or have looked at 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story, you know the Dominoe story. By orders of magnitude, this is my most viewed thing on YouTube.
In thinking about her, I opened the boxes of old analog photos, to find ones that have not been online before. Bear with my nostalgia and sweet/bittersweet memories, and then go cuddle with your own dog. Or even cat, or kid, or pet tarantula.
Somewhat symbolic, is this self timer photo I took of us staring out at the western landscape. This was on my first epic cross country road trip in 1987, when I moved to Arizona to start graduate school at ASU, but more so, to find/create a new life for myself. The vast space and the blank sky for me (now) speaks to the opportunity that was out there. Me in my mullet headed, dirty t-shirt youthful ignorance, would have ot wait to learn all this. Dominoe is saying, come on, let’s go!
We spent a night camping high up in the Sangro de Cristo mountains, above Santa Fe. I dont remember much of that part, except the thrill of being completely on my own.
The next night on that trip was in Holbrook, AZ, where we “camped” in a KOA campground, which is more like camping in a parking lot next to a freeway. When I see this photo, I mock a little about what I consider camping at the time, and would discover later– but the previous photo in New Mexico and others remind me that I was not that unaware of wilderness self contained camping. KOA was really a convenience (akak a shower). This would have been the last night of our trip (which lasted about a month), and the next day, a very toasty August day, we would be at our first apartment home in Mesa, AZ.
Another pose in front of geology, here the Painted Desert, which I would have driven through as part of this first country crossing odyssey. No strong memories here, just taking in all the newness of a place I was eager to explore.
This may be among the earliest of my Dominoe photos, taken outside the Rossridge apartment in northeast Baltimore I shared with my friend Kevin, the one who called me and asked me if I anted to adopt this run away dalmatian. I am pretty sure that red leash was the one she came with from the folks that found her. It’s funny as I don’t even remember going to the place to see her, my first memories are in this apartment. She seems to be suspicious of me. The photo is a Polaroid, and would have been something I played with when I was working as a camera sales jerk at Ritz Camera (the camera was my Grandmothers, I still have it).
Dominoe poses patiently here somewhere near that apartment where we did out walks. The leaves and green grass suggest maybe mid-October.
Later in 1987 or 1988 I set up a darkroom in my apartment bathroom, and would have played with an inverse image of Dominoe (playing with the black and white typical dalmation color?) It was likely a color negative I put in the enlarger to see what would happen in printed in black and white? I cannot recall how I did this (this was with paper and chemicals, no, command-I).
I so fondly remember how serenely Dominoe could sleep – was it her partial deafness? Her comfort? I can paint many stories.
The stinging part of this was I have always questioned if July 23, 1993 was really Dominoe’s time to go. Because she was a found dog her age was always a guess; I had had her 6 years and her first vet guessed her age then as 7. She had suffered 5 years of epilepsy, treated with phenobarbital, but it had started getting a little worse, and I recall some unpredictable behavior around the friends of my step-kids.
But I was also filling my life more with work and new family, I was just married, and I hate the thought that after all we had gone through together, I maybe did not let her live as long as she might have. I think of this even more now, knowing my one sister is dealing with a dog with cancer, and my friend who found Dominoe for me lost his long lived dog earlier this year.
It’s all history, even old history ow, I don;t seek re-assurance, but it does make me reflect on how much “stuff” we can emotionally carry from this life experiences. And I do this not to re0has and second guess, but to stir all the memory ashes, and sift both the familiar and new patterns they make.
And so, even after 20n years gone by, I am still thinking about a dog I know, who was found, the lost, and who found me again.