Monday, February 23, 2009

Chasing Shadows

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nature Compensates

Dogs have a way of dealing with physical challenges that sometimes us humans have a difficult time understanding. They apparently don't have the ability to recall the past in a way that allows them to understand the "good ol' days". Rather, they live in the moment, and deal with their challenges as they come along without a sense of "worry".
A lot of people thought that Zoomer would have a difficult time adjusting to getting around on three legs. I've known other dogs that have lost a leg and have adjusted to it with no problem. But I have to confess that I always thought greyhounds would not belong to that group. Because the greyhound's strongest skill is to run, I felt that if they would lose a leg, they would lose their passion to live. Well, the day that Zoomer came home from his surgery, I was proven wrong. When I saw the joy in his eyes upon setting his eyes on me and my wife, I realised that a dog's joy lives in the relationship he has with those he loves and who love him.
Since Zoomer's surgery, he has become even more precious to us. And speaking at least for myself, the way he has "handled" this challenge, has been an inspiration to me. He has been getting the best food we can afford, as I now firmly believe that proper nutrition can play a significant role in fighting osteosarcoma. But even before that, we have seen his body develop into something even stronger than before the cancer struck it's evil hand. I am amazed every day at how luxurious his coat has become! Never in his life has he had the thick, soft undercoat that he now possesses. His muscles have also toned up very well. My plan is to keep him on a regular schedule of walks, short walks, and open play (fetching sticks/Frisbees, playing tug of war, etc.). I think it's important to get and keep his rear leg strong and healthy so that it can safetly accept the added stress now required of it. And as you can see in the second picture posted here, his rear leg is getting quite muscular.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Old Stomping Grounds

There is a trail along the railroad tracks near my old house, where Zoomer and I used to go on walks together. And on occasion he would chase (and at times even catch) a lingering rabbit. There are years of memories and talks I have here with just me and Zoomer. The last time Zoomer and I walked this trail was about a year and a half ago, long before there were any signs of bone cancer in his leg.
Today Zoomer and I returned to "our old stomping grounds". It represents another milestone in his recovery from the bone cancer and his leg amputation. So here he is, Captain Z being a dog again. Taken with my Leica MP, 50/2.8 Elmar-M, and Tri-X film.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

1912 Conley 4x5 Large Format Camera

Here's my new toy, a 1912 Conley 4x5 large-format film camera. It came with 5 original 4x5 film carriers and the original carrying case. It's in great shape for a camera that's nearly 100 years old. Now I have to figure out how to actually use this thing!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kodachrome and Street Photography: 35 years ago

It was probably thirty-five years ago when I made my first attempt at street photography. I was the staff photographer/art editor for my high school newspaper. I had just purchased my first "real" camera (an Argus/Cosina STL 1000) from the saving I made at my first job, working at a car wash. It was the summer of 1973, and I was shooting Kodachrome while my family and I were visiting downtown Wisconsin Dells, WI. This summer, as part of the Kodachrome Project, I plan on returning to the same location, again with Kodachrome, thirty-five years later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You've come a long way, Zoomer!

Zoomer started out his life as an illegitimate child. His parents raced at the now defunct Geneva Lakes dog track. The story goes that Zoomer's mom got out one day when all the males were out. Not knowing who the father was, the owners of Zoomer's mom couldn't register the litter of pups to race. So they now had 8 greyhound puppies they had to get rid of. The greyhound racing industry already has a reputation of not being able to deal with the retired racing dogs, and this kind of thing doesn't help their public image. I had heard of this litter and contacted the owners to check on possibly getting a puppy. When I went to visit them, there were three puppies not yet taken. The one that kept running over to me and jumping over me as I sat on the couch, would be the one that would come home with me one week later.

I picked Zoomer up when he was 9 weeks old. I remember getting up at 4:00 am every morning to take him out for a walk and play before I had to be to work at 6:00 am. Zoomer has lived in six different homes throughout his nine years, and five of those have been with me (the first being with his mom and littermates). I've always dreamed of having my own house and a place where I and Zoomer would never have to move from again. One month before I got married last year, I bought my first house and that dream came true. Zoomer has had quite a life, meeting many people and making many friends over the years. He has truly lived the life of the comical greyhound that I saw in those playful little eyes the first time I met him. He has lived the life of an athlete that never raced, as he competed in Frisbee competitons as a young adult. And now, as a mature dog of dignified years, he has survived the greatest threat that is all too common to the large breed dogs, osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

Two days ago, Zoomer received his last of four chemotherapy treatments. Three lung x-rays showed up clean and healthy. Over the past few months since the amputation, Zoomer has been fed a 80-90% raw food diet, and has been thriving like never before. He has grown hair on his chest where there never has been hair before. His muscles have toned up. And his hair in general has become thicker and more luxurious than it ever has been. During Zoomer's first couple years of life, I had fed him a raw food diet. But as the years went on, I was challenged by a busier work schedule, so I went back to dried dog food in a bag. I always fed him the very best I could find, but it was still processed food in a bag with only an ocassional meal of real meat. Now, after seeing how much this buddy of mine has come back so strong, even in the midst of chemotherapy drugs attacking his body, I am thoroughly convinced that to feed him anything less than a raw food diet, would be to compromise his health and quality of life.

From illegitimate child to cancer survivor, Zoomer has been quite the fighter. he is, after all, Captain Z!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Into Another World

Have you ever considered the emotions that a photograph evokes in people? Pictures that allow us to escape into another world, both during the moment they are created and during the moment they are viewed, are often the ones that have the most impact on us.