Who Saved Who?
The bumper sticker on the car said it all. Beside the artfully drawn DOG PAW were the words "Who Saved Who?"
Two weeks earlier I took a risk and handed out my business card to a few dog-loving woman at the local off leash park. As a personal project, I wanted to interview middle aged women about the dogs in their lives and their thoughts on being older in a youth-orientated society. I know, it's a bit of a stretch but I wanted to explore the idea a bit.
Marcia took a card and offered herself up to be the sacrificial lamb. My first interview!
Marcia is a professional woman in her 40's. She lives with her husband Tim and Buster the dog.
We met up at her house and I was formally introduced to Buster, the very young Springer/Border Collie. Buster was full of energy and sweet as pie. I loved him!
We sat down and I asked Marcia how Buster came into her life. She explained that a Facebook posting by her sister-in-law planted the seed that led to Buster. Before he arrived, his personality had been described as "placid and confident." I had to laugh at this as Buster bounced from floor to couch to lap to couch to floor.
Marcia had not had a dog since childhood. But as she entered her forties and she was home more, a dog just became very appealing. Marcia's husband Tim was cool to the idea at first but now loves his Buster.
I asked Marcia what Buster has brought to her life and tears welled up in her eyes.
She recomposed herself and talked about the wonderful companionship and the feeling of nurturing that Buster has brought. With delight she told me how she plans weekend outings with Buster and searches for dog friendly activities such as boat cruises and dog camps. Their favorite place to visit is the ocean.
Having a dog has been a way of keeping social connections vibrant. Marcia recounted how Buster, when he was just a few weeks old, had to go to work with her. She would walk him at lunch and strangers would nod, say hello, and just stop and chat about the young pup. Buster made people relax and want to engage with a stranger.
We made a portrait and took some action photographs of Buster flying through the air.
In the end I really enjoyed hearing about Buster and the absolute joy he has brought to his mom. We did talk about getting older and gaining/losing confidence as women but, in the end, I decided to leave those discussions to another venue or forum. I concluded that dog happiness should be the single focus of my personal project because we could all use more dog happiness.
Fun fact: Marcia and Tim lived on Fiji Island for two years. This was before Buster of course.
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