Em the Wildlife Watcher

A view from below as our cat Emma sleeps atop the cat tree in May 2012

The other day as I left for work a family of javelina entered the yard to graze below a tree in front of my office window. Days later while driving back from a hike I laughed out loud wondering how Emma would have reacted had she been sitting in the window given how animated she got with squirrels around. She loved to be up high so I often had this view of her as she slept in the cat tree beside my chair, although sometimes I’d look up to find her staring at me with her intense green eyes. She was a character, our Em. Hard to believe it’s been five years since she died.

Smiling and Not Smiling

Our dog Ellie sits with her mouth closed in fallen leaves beside a tree near the dog park of Irving Park in Portland, Oregon in November 2011

With her mouth closed Ellie’s drooping jowls made her look sad and/or bored. In truth she was a bit bored on this occasion in the fall of 2011 and it’s why I didn’t take a ton of pictures of her on our walks even though I often took quick snapshots of the neighborhood itself. She loved going on walks with me and photos were an interruption in our fun time together, she couldn’t know I was capturing those fun times so I could look back and remember. My trick was to wait until she saw someone walking close or another dog approaching and she opened her mouth, for then the mix of sweetness and happiness that was our Ellie was on full display. These two pictures were taken less than a minute apart.

Our dog Ellie sits with her mouth open in fallen leaves beside a tree near the dog park of Irving Park in Portland, Oregon in November 2011