A friend of mine in the publishing bidness asked me to work on a photographic children's book with him. I would provide the photographs and he would write the text.
It would be all about my dogs -- Madeline and Maggie.
His idea was simple:
"Take about 48 photographs of them playing together, spread them out on a table and we'll come up with a story about "Best Friends."I stopped cold, realizing that with all the photographs I've taken over the years there are very few of the wonder twins together. Ok, they're not twins and we are actually a step-family. He came to the relationship with Maggie and I showed up with Madeline. And it was a rough start.
Maggie, a year older that Madeline (who for the remainder of the essay I will refer to as Jerk Monkey Hose Dog because she's too smart for her own good and has always gotten into trouble) would have nothing to do with the little pest for quite a while. She'd snap and growl and slink away to anywhere that would be puppy free. Maggie always seemed mature beyond her years ... for a Lab.
My friend's request also made me realize that even if I could get the grrls to play together, my first babies -- the furry loves of my life -- are not as photogenic as they once were. They have benign bumps and skinny haunches, puffy bellies and graying fur. Though they are still beautiful to us, the industry might not agree. And too soon these creatures, with whom we've shared a combined four homes, will be only memories -- especially since the early photographs (and negatives) may have been lost in a move (grrrr!)
"That's even better," he said jovially. "We'll do a children's book about coping with the loss of a pet."I look over at Annabel as she splashes in the pool, it dawns on me that the past two years have really brought about an amazing transformation of our entire family, fuzzy members especially. They have gone from being standoffish and frightened of the pink little bundle that made all kinds of strange noises to being watchful and proud.
"Oooh, this is even better," says my friend. "I see morning show bookings in our future."I realized we'd better get started. She'll be at the perfect age to mourn their loss when it's their time to leave us. And it'll probably take me that long to figure out what I'll wear for the interview.