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Bringing Out The Best in Us.


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A little more than a year ago, on January 1, 2013, I made my New Year’s resolution. Photograph a different dog a day for the entire year, beginning on January 2. Sounds simple enough, right? 364 dogs in 364 days. On January 2, while visiting Market on Main in New Port


Richey, I stepped outside and encountered Juan DeSosa and his German Shepherd Dog, Rusty. A Vietnam veteran, Juan was easy to talk to, especially since the main topic of our conversation was Rusty. Then, on January 4, while driving through Downtown


Clearwater I spotted a dog in a storefront window. Turning my car around, I parked in front of The Path Bicycle and Ride Shop on Cleveland Street. Sure enough, there was a beautiful Siberian Husky looking out at me with his beautiful, piercing eyes. When I first met Bandit, he was just 15 months-old. Gary, the shop owner, had just adopted the pup from a rescue group out of Punta Gorda. “There were seven puppies in the litter and all were adopted. I found out another puppy was adopted by a family in Palm Harbor,” said Gary. Stop by the shop, and you will most likely find Bandit sitting, standing or sometimes sleeping in the storefront window. Dogs are everywhere nowadays. They jump in the car to help us


run errands or drive across the state with us to go on vacation. They come to work with us, whether we work in an office, warehouse or as traveling sales people. I photographed passing cars with dogs hang- ing their heads out windows, ears flapping, mouths wide open. Finding dogs to photograph was never a difficult prospect. But,


I quickly found myself becoming more apprehensive about approaching people and their dogs, outside my line of work for The New Barker. During public, dog-friendly events, cameras and commotion are the norm. People don’t mind being photographed with their dogs. Most of the time, though during my short-lived New Year’s


resolution project, what I encountered were moments between a human and a dog. Peaceful, and in their own universe. I could not bring myself to interrupt that moment to ask permission to photograph them. But, it wasn’t an opportunity lost. It was another lesson learned, as taught by dogs, once again. Just live in the moment and enjoy. On the following pages, you will find five different


stories of how dogs helped change the lives of people and continue to bring out the best in humans. What is it about dogs that we love so much? The answer is not simple, and I’ve never been able to put it in words. But I see it every day in the eyes of the people and their dogs that I consider myself fortunate to meet.


Bandit greets customers at The Path Bicycle and Ride Shop. Photographs by Anna Cooke.


Mr. DeSosa and Rusty at Market on Main in New Port Richey.


www.TheNewBarker.com


Spring ~ 2014 THE NEW BARKER 29


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