This is me with my dog Beeker when I was about 8. It was taken by a friend of my father’s from Australia who came to visit us every few years. This is important to me because he seemed so normal and what he did was so exotic and exciting to me. I longed to go somewhere. Be somewhere else. I longed to hit the road with a camera and feel the wind in my face.
His name, what was his name, he was a friend of Uncle Sid’s, someone my father had gone to MIT with – even he was cool. They’d been at MIT together – last class of steam engineering – and then Sid had decided to become a doctor and he’d gone back to school – MIT – to end up a plastic surgeon . He was funny when he told stories about all the ears he’d pinned back on people – people were upset by their ears sticking out, I don’t know if they still are, I don’t hear about it much.
So this friend of Uncle Sid’s came and asked me to let him take my picture. This was only possible if I had Beeker at my side. Beeker was actually my sister’s dog but I was around and she wasn’t and Beeker became mine.
Now you should know that Beeker never in his life had a rope around him. Never was tied, there were no leashes. We lived on a farm with hundreds of acres around us and the dogs and I grouped ourselves by choice, we were always together. But I remember so clearly getting the rope and how important it was to me, how important to show the connection physically, palpably.
I’m so proud of this photograph. I love it, I love that someone exotic took it even if I can’t remember his name. There I was in the middle of this big country and got my picture taken with my shirt and my dog on a day I will always remember. Beeker and I were connected, we still are. He has been back several times now in this lifetime of mine and I keep him close to me, I keep him palpable and secure.