A black bear named Rosie walks near a stream amidst fall color in Yellowstone National Park in the fall of 2006

There have been multiple generations of Rosies in Yellowstone, a name given to a line of female bears that has stayed near the Roosevelt area. According to a park ranger on my fall visit in 2006, the previous Rosie didn’t appear to have survived the winter, she had lost a lot of fur before she hibernated. The new Rosie was a fine mother, looking carefully after her two cubs (who were following her just out of frame). She’d been tagged in her ears to help identify her, although its hard to tell in this picture since it matches the bits of brown leaves in her fur. The picture was a bit of a nod to wildlife photographer Nick Nichols, whose work in National Geographic inspired me. The light was low and the bear moving, so I tried to capture the movement with a low shutter speed and panning with the bear instead of trying to go for sharpness and freezing its motion. A technique Nick did well but I did not, but I still enjoyed the moment.

Ellie’s Path

A sign indicates no thru traffic on the leaf-covered Klickitat Street in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon

Ellie wanted to head east out of the dog park this morning instead of her traditional south, so we headed out along the leaf-covered Klickitat Street. This part of the street is closed to car traffic except for people with driveways here, so it’s a nice place to walk with your aging pup, especially when paved with fallen color. Eventually Ellie turned south and we continued all the way to her buddy Steve’s house. He wasn’t out so we took a detour west past America’s Noodle and then past the dialysis center with the mural, then doubled back to Steve’s (still not out) before heading home.

A graffiti-covered truck is parked outside America's Noodle in Portland's Irvington neighborhood

Sun & Rain

The sun shines on leaves covered in large raindrops

After a heavy rain, the sun peeked out briefly early in our walk after Ellie and I left the dog park on this Thanksgiving morning. The rain returned for the next hour as we meandered around Irvington, but that’s OK, we both love the rain, and we both enjoyed the walk. Ellie made two passes by Steve’s house but he wasn’t there. She tried bolting up the stairs, presumably to ring the doorbell, but I made her move along.


Leaves sit on artwork of flowers in a sidewalk

Ellie and I came across this example of life imitating art imitating life on our walk on a rainy November morning. I’m thankful for this old neighborhood we’ve lived in for over fifteen years, for the pup who’s led me out to explore it for nine, and to all those who’ve installed art around their homes for us to enjoy. We’ll likely have to move as I look for a new job but there is still some hope we can stay. Regardless I’m thankful for our time here, we’ve been blessed.

Two Good Pups

Our dog Ellie sits beside a mural containing a dog named Pepper

With the cooler weather of fall, Ellie doesn’t tire so easily and has been up for longer walks. Anti-inflammatory medicine and pain pills help with her advancing arthritis too. Since I’ve been home most mornings after getting laid off a few weeks ago, I’ve been able to take her on lots of long walks, a real treat since who knows how many more we’ll get together. She still enjoys going to see if her buddy Steve is out on his porch, as he gives her treats, but he’s only been out once. He mentioned that he was the caretaker of a man who just died and they weren’t sure if they were going to move someone else in for him to look after, or move him somewhere else and do some renovations on the house. Fortunately Ellie can’t hear well and thus is unaware her buddy might be moving.

Not far from Steve’s house is this mural on the side of a dialysis center that I frequently walked past on the way home from the train, so I was pleased to be able to get a picture of Ellie next to the perpetually smiling Pepper. I wasn’t sure if I’d get the picture even though she wanted to come down this way on multiple days (mostly I think to double back to give him Steve a second chance to be on his porch), as the blinds in the window above Pepper were open and I didn’t want the people inside getting treatment to worry about why someone outside was taking pictures. On this day though the blinds were drawn and I got my picture of the two good pups.