See that turquoise blanket he's on? I've only just thrown it out. I'm not even going to describe its condition after 13 years of a dog sleeping on it. (18 February 2007)
While 2020 hasn't given us a lot to be thankful for overall, I am thankful that I got to spend 14 years and 2 months with Parker. He was simply the best dog on the planet, and he lived a long and happy life.
Parker at Bardwell Park, Evanston, Ill., 18 February 2007.
Getting my bête noir to pose for photos always challenged my patience and photography skills. This is his 3rd birthday portrait, 16 June 2009:
Parker often couldn't quite decide what parts of his body should hang off his bed when he wanted to stretch out, making this a fairly common scene (14 October 2008):
He seemed comfortable enough, though.
An outtake from Parker's 6th birthday photo shoot, 16 June 2012:
This posture did not mean "rub my belly now," it meant "sometimes I sleep like this." The belly-rubs were a welcome side-effect, however. (8 June 2014)
Watching the lead runners in the Chicago Marathon, 12 October 2008:
For the rest of the month, I'm going to publish never-before-seen photos of my bête noir. I took this on his second trip to the Oakwood Dog Park in Raleigh, N.C., on 17 December 2009:
I think I posted about 100 "daily Parker" updates in his first year. Here's the tag; have fun scrolling.
Even though Parker has consumed my thoughts since the election, there are a few other things going on in the world:
And as I sit in my home office trying to write software, it's 17°C and sunny outside. I may have to go for a walk.
I woke up this morning, showered, had breakfast, and left my house. I didn't walk a dog before showering, or feed a dog before having coffee. At every step I had to catch myself from acting on habit. And every step presented something weird: where's the dog bed? Where's the can of food in the fridge? Where's the bowl stand?
The next few weeks will suck. I know I'll feel better in time, and I know I'll adopt another dog someday—probably in the spring. It still sucks.
Here's a re-edited photo of Parker's first day with me:
And here's one from yesterday, right as we set off on his final walk:
I'm so glad for the time in between those two photos. He had a great life.