And then there was Choya Chunkosaur... the dog that won my wife's heart and convinced her that she was a dog-person, too. Choya was a Mexican streetdog scavenging food from her neighbourhood pig-farm until a) the pig-farmer slaughtered the pig, and b) friends dog-napped her and her brother, Boojum, and drove them from Baja to Bar Harbor to find them homes.
Both of them would have been dead within months due to heartworm... which while a brutal treatment regimen gave them life they would otherwise not have enjoyed. I adopted Choy-choy when she was roughly six months old. And she was a gem... fiercely independent (as one might imagine), but she recognized loyalty and she was a great companion. We had some great adventures up in Maine. She loved to hike -- and after being taught, she loved to swim.
The two pictures of her here were taken at Little Hunter's Beach on Mount Desert. She had been a tentative swimmer to that fateful day that she discovered a washed-up lobster buoy on the rocks. Once she discovered it was made of foam and that she could grip down on this thing bigger than her head, it was like crack. The next thing I know she's not happy to wait for the waves to bring the float back after I'd thrown it, but the little 53lb monster was charging into 2-3ft waves to get that thing first.
I'll post more pictures of her as I retrieve them.
Choya was sadly hit by a car and killed while being looked after by friends. It's still difficult to envision how such an event was possible and telling her mom, my wife, that she had been killed was the worst thing I've ever had to do. While her death may have opened a door for Momo in our lives, the slightly weird piece of coincidence was that she was killed on the eve of a friend's wedding. After the wedding and at roughly the same time that we decided to get another dog, the friends subsequently adopted a dog of their own... a Vizsla. It's hard to know if or how fate or destiny work, but it certainly seems that even in our worst moments there are good omens for the future. The saddest part is that Choya and Momo would have worshipped each other... and we would have been along for the ride.
The final pictures aren't of Choya, but she was there when they were taken. We have them framed, just as they appear here, in our house as a quiet reminder both of how tangible and intangible the dogs we love are in our lives. The view is of the Great Meadow in Acadia National Park from March, 2003.
(For those of you who like weird technical details, it was shot on a 1958 Rolleiflex 'Grey Baby' TLR. That was back in the day when you still readily find a photo-lab that would process 127 format, 4x4cm, film. It's perhaps fitting that I took some of my favorite pictures of Choya with that camera and that, with her passing, it was also time to move on with that camera, too.)