A while back, I signed up to be a part of the Clever Cookie School of Blog, and since then I’ve gotten to be good blogging friends with some incredible bloggers from around the world. Each month on the 10th, some of us form a 10 on 10 photography circle. We share 10 photos (occasionally more – my bad!) from our life – a day of our life, generally – and one of us link to another. Our visitors have the opportunity to make their way around the circle. Some of you may have made your way here from Cathy at Peregrination Gourmande and if so WELCOME! Others of you will leave me and head on off to visit with Stephanie at Steph’s Joy. I hope you enjoy!
If you’ve been following along, you know that our family lost a member last month. After 14 long years, my darling Blackberry kitteh passed away. Her passing has gotten me to thinking even more about my sweet Cobbler dog. She turned 9 this year, and she’s started getting whiter and whiter. When Cobbie was a tiny puppy, we started traveling together. At the time, I was a poor graduate student, so boarding her somewhere wasn’t really an option. As she got bigger, when we went on road trips, and I joked that she was my protection.
Since moving back to Mississippi and getting married there have been few opportunities for just my girl and I to hit the road, and I have to say, I’ve missed racing down the road with her precious face looking up at me from the passenger’s side floorboard. Because I had intended to get out and take some pictures during my spring break, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for us to head out for a little quality girl time. It turns out that it was a really good thing we went – not because the photos I took of her are perfect for this 10 on 10 photography circle but because I don’t know if she will be able to go again.
For our road trip, we decided (like she had a voice in this whole process! She was just happy to get in the car and get her french fries) to go along Highway 90, traveling from Mississippi to Alabama, stopping where we decided we might find something of interest. That meant that Cobbler and began our wanderings in Pascagoula at Lighthouse Park, where the Round Island Lighthouse has been restored and is open for tours! Because a sweet black puppy was with me, I didn’t get a chance to go up in the lighthouse, but I certainly will go back and do so.
After attempting to catch some decent photos of my girl, I now realize why pet photographers charge so much! Getting your doggie to look at you and stay focused on you while you try to focus on them is no easy feat. I didn’t bring any treats for Cob while we were taking pictures because I know that while she’s a good girl, she will move towards me in anticipation of the treat. I did remember after we left Pascagoula that I could allow her to be off-leash – she won’t run off. She’s always been so placid and submissive.
One of Cobbler’s grandmas is a HUGE Jimmy Buffett fan, and this fall, she and I made our very own Pascagoula Run for the dedication of the Buffett bridge and for the free concert. Buffett grew up in Pascagoula, you see, and the hometown honored him. Cobbie’s grandma was so excited to get this photo of her, but I was not excited that one, I couldn’t shoot her head on and get “Buffett Bridge” into the picture (while she is a good girl, I try to stay within 6-10 feet of her in case something grabs her attention and she bolts); two, once again, Cobbie wasn’t looking at me; and three, I managed to cut off her poor paws. You can see in this photo how white her chin is beginning to get 🙁
From Pascagoula we made our way east on Highway 90, eventually running into Highway 188 and making our way to Bayou La Batre, the Alabama seafood capital. You may have heard of Bayou La Batre. It was the home of Forrest Gump’s army buddy Bubba. Cobbler wanted her daddy to know that she found his boat, and she thinks that she would really enjoy cruising out to Ship Island while lazing on one of the decks.
She also enjoyed a roll or two in the wildflowers because she’s that kind of girl. Gotta love her.
Bayou La Batre is famous for its seafood and the backbone of the seafood industry is shrimping. I’ve shared photos of the shrimp boats that operate out of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but I’m always struck by the size of the commercial boats. Cobbler wasn’t interested in the shrimp boats, but she was interested in all of the smells – the diesel, the bait, water itself.
I love this photo of my girl! I wish I hadn’t cut off her paws, but that face!! How do you not love that face?!?!
I was drawn to these boats because of the decoration of the front. Many shrimpers along the Gulf Coast are Vietnamese, which explains the dragons and on some other boats – the phoenix. I did notice a flyer stating that the Blessing of the Fleet would be coming at the end of the month…which reminds me, I need to make sure I put it on my calendar so I can photograph it along the Coast.
From Bayou La Batre, we journeyed on to Dauphin Island where we decided to hike through the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. On some of our journeys, Cobbie has not been welcomed in parks and on hiking trails. Those are the rules and we abide by them, but that wasn’t a problem on Dauphin Island.
When Cobbler was a younger dog and we spent a lot of time at the lake, I was hard pressed to keep her out of the water. We would camp or take a day trip to the lake, and I’d sit my chair in the water to read my magazines or books. Cobbie would be either laying in the water next to me or frolicking. It’s been awhile since we were last at the lake and the beaches along the Coast for the most part prohibit dogs. I have been at times afraid that she had forgotten her nature as a lab but our hike through the bird sanctuary put that fear to rest. I had a terrible time keeping her on the paths and out of the swamp!
Right here she is thinking – I’m hot and I’m tired but I so want to launch myself into that water so hurry up Momma!
In order to get to this point, we had hiked up a couple of dunes and while I didn’t see it then, I can see now that my poor girl had worn herself out.
Since we got home Saturday night, my girl hasn’t quite been the same. She’s been stiff and sore – whining and crying out when touched in certain spots. She has slept a lot, and she can’t sit up and give high fives when she wants cookies. She’s still eating well and drinking, but I’m worried about how long this recovery has taken her. We’ve been giving her joint supplements in case what is wrong is arthritis. She’s also been getting some aspirin in case she is in pain. If this has not improved significantly, we’ll be taking the best puppy ever to the vet. I hate to think of my girl in pain.The hell of loving an animal is that we are destined to lose them. Click To Tweet
All of that to say that I don’t think my faithful companion will be joining me on a hike again. I’m facing the reality of the fact that she’s a senior dog. While I’ve had her for 9 years and in my eyes she’s still my puppy, the truth of the matter is that she is entering her very elderly years. The lifespan for a lab averages 10-12 years, and while people want to tell me about how their baby lived 16 years or longer, I am constantly preparing myself for the fact that my best girl ever won’t be with me much longer. Sweet Husband can’t stand that thought; I can’t stand the thought of not bracing for it.
The thought breaks my heart. The hell of loving an animal is that we are destined to lose them.
I’m thankful this sweet baby and I got to spend our day together and that if this was the last time she was going to go with me and be my faithful companion, it was a good trip. She got not one but two orders of french fries because we were gone so long, and she got to explore and play. I hope beyond hope that Cobbie is just beyond the half-way point, that she will be the one that makes it to 16-18 years old. She is, after all, my baby. In the next couple of months, I’ll be working on my pet photography skills because while I have a ton of pictures of her precious face, I can never have too many. (We’re also planning a family photo shoot with an incredible pet photographer for this summer/fall)
I hope you enjoyed our road trip because we had a wonderful time together. I’m now going to send you off to see what Steph at Steph’s Joy has to share with you. I’m sure it’s going to be fabulous! As you make your way around the circle, please stop and give each blogger a little bit of love. We absolutely LOVE it when people leave us comments! If you are starting with me, you’ll be through the circle when you make your way back to me.
Are you a pet person? Dog or cat? Tell me about your babies in the comments!