Updated: Jul 5, 2018
Unlike New England where we lived our entire lives until 15 years ago, in Arizona you can actually plan on attending outdoor events or day road trips just about 360 days a year. The sun is always there to make the day enjoyable. Of course the summer heat here in the desert of well up over 100 from June through September limits your desire to actually step out the door. We tend to hunker down and hideaway until the cooler weather makes its long awaited appearance.
But there is always the option of heading 'up north' into the mountains for some cooler temps and some very special events. Prescott is never a disappointment. This past weekend they held their annual large rodeo (of which I would never ever attend due to the high level of animal cruelty involved) appropriately named 'Frontier Days', and a very interesting collection of craft vendors in small white tents on the town common along the famous "Whiskey Row". There was everything from handmade jewelry to sun shade hats for small dogs. These events draw thousands of visitors and locals to spend time elbow to elbow with each other looking over the wares of talented artisans. A touch of old world with a modern twist.
Although this type of event is without a doubt planned for people, my attention is always focused on the 4 legged visitors. No matter where I am I will always notice the dog before the human on the other end of the leash. I guess you could call this my priority. Although it is probably not the dog's first choice to be amidst so many people, sights, sounds and smells....they always seem so alert and ready for the next experience. Some dogs stand right by their guardian's side while others are stretching their leashes to reach out to socialize with all the other dogs. One would almost guess every breed was represented including those of mixed lineage. One dog, of which I was so glad to see, was fitted with booties to protect his tender feet from the scorching hot pavement. So many would not imagine going anywhere without their furry family members. If we had not counted on the need to dine out (having traveled over 2 hours each way) I would have had one of my 6 dogs with me. But it is never ever ever ever an option of leaving a dog in a hot car to die of heat stroke.....so on such occasions my dogs remain safe at home in air conditioning.
One dog in particular grabbed my attention from the first second I saw him. He was quiet and laid right by his guardian. But what really pulled my heart strings was the sad eyes he looked at the world with. Eyes that knew more about life than a lot of us. I just had to do something special with this sweet furbaby. I talked briefly with his guardian and asked if I could photograph him to do one of my fantasy portraits with. He got excited and told his dog that now he was going to become a star. He then told me a bit about the hard times they were going through right now which broke my heart even more. Those beautiful brown eyes of this dog were telling me a story. I thanked the man so very much for his kindness in allowing me to create a memento of his dog. I gave him my card so he could see the portrait and promised him a copy. When I realized that I had mistakenly forgotten to ask the dog's name to include it in the portrait, I tried to find him again but he had moved on. So as not to leave him nameless, I named him Prescott. A beautiful and meaningful name to remind me of a special day. But if this kind man finds this and he can contact me to give me the name he felt fit this solemn soldier best, I will be so much more than happy to change it. Until then Prescott will mean many things to me including making friends and a lifetime connection with dogs even if only for a few moments.