There have been two events in my life that have left me feeling lost…left me feeling unsure of the next step to take…left me feeling a hollow sadness deep in my bones. The first event was a marriage that ended several years ago. And the second was losing my job last August. And in both cases, it was an animal that brought me back….that helped me find myself again….it was animal that saved me. Cosmo, a little stray cat, brought love back into my life again. And Sophie, well, she helped me find sirius…my dog star, my true north.
I started writing because of Sophie. She is my muse…the topic of a former monthly newspaper column, of articles in magazines, the inspiration for this blog. She touched something in me that made me want to express myself with pen and paper. I truly believe that I would not be writing today if Sophie had not come into my life. I picked up a camera a year ago, pointed it at Sophie, clicked the shutter button down once…and haven’t stopped shooting since. I started taking photos to capture memories of Sophie, which led to photographing more dogs, which led to the Charlie Project…which led to finding.sirius photography (a small weekend business). I can’t imagine a world without my camera now….a world that I found because of Sophie.
The way that Sophie has inspired both my writing and my love of photography over the last year is wonderful….but she has done something far more important than that for me. She opened my eyes. She helped me use the time I was given after losing my job to just breathe. To figure out what I really wanted to do next. To realize that I needed my work to matter to me….and that the paycheck, the title, the benefits were not part of what mattered. She led me to a job where I use my passion for pets and their bond with their owners every day. And it’s a job that leaves me with the energy, inspiration and time to pursue my other interests.
The days and weeks after I was let go from my job were hard…some of the hardest days I have known so far in life. And while the people in my life were wonderful and supportive…I was suffering a crisis of self…of knowing who I was supposed to be anymore. I was lost and embarrassed…and that made it difficult to be around those very people that were offering so much support. It made it difficult to even get up in the morning. But, being with Sophie brought me comfort. She made me smile…I would go for long walks with her and I would start to feel hopeful…feel inspired and confident again. And I began to look at my life from a different perspective and I found what was really important to me. I found photography. I found writing. I found a job that I love for the first time in my life. I found real joy. And when I looked for the reason for finding all those things….I found Sophie.
Jon Katz has said it best: “If there's magic in the relationships between humans and dogs, it might be that mysterious interdependence, the way in which we sometimes need our dogs greatly, and some of them can read that and become the dogs we need. In this way, they steady us, buoy us, especially in dark times.” To the critics of my story, the ones that say Sophie is just a dog, to them I say….thank goodness she is. It is the very essence of a dog…the traits that set them apart from humans…..their wildness, their spirit, their unconditional love of life…..that helped me. Oh, the places a dog can take you….if you open your heart to the magic.