Friday, January 13, 2012

The joy and pain of old pet photos

Seamus the Boston terrier in a portrait from 2005
Seamus, taken in 2005.
I keep my digital photographs in an online album. When I'm looking for a photograph, I just pop the program open and 10 years of photographs appear, all ranked by date and time. Last night, however, I stumbled across a secret stash of photographs I had forgotten about. I had them in a separate folder for some reason, and all of these shots had ambiguous names. So I start clicking and opening these shots, and suddenly I'm looking into the trusting face of my dearly departed Seamus.

In March, Seamus would have been 11 years old. Instead, I'll be remembering the anniversary of his death. You'd think these photos would make me happy, as they remind me of his healthier and happier days, but they still have the capacity to make me quite sad.

When this photo was taken, Seamus was still recovering from his mandibulectomy from his mouth tumor (I wrote about this extensively in this post, my first on this blog). I think he was 3 months post-op when this photo was taken. Over time, his gums and lips tightened and shrank, but he had quite a big lower lip here. And, there's a tiny drop of drool forming. He was a big drooler in those days.

And yet, he's incredibly dirty. He's got dirt in his eyes, in his ears, on his paws and in the white blaze on his forehead. I had forgotten what a mud-lover he was, and in these summer months, he would lie in the dirt in the garden for hours and hours.

Seeing these old photos just makes me miss him all the more, in part, because makes me remember what I am slowly forgetting. As time passes, the details blur and meld and he slips further and further from my grasp. It's painful. I'm hoping my computer has no more landmines as March draws near.

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