I’ve been thinking a lot about life recently – the different stages that you pass through in life, and how things change over time. And there’s a reason I’ve been pondering these things recently. Her name is Koya.
Koya is a 15-year-old Australian shepherd/border collie mix, who lives with her family in southern San Diego. When you see her today, you see a sweet old dog. She hobbles to get around, since bending her knees is tough to do, and there’s a generous amount of white fur that has accumulated on her face over the last several years. She moves slow and needs help getting up sometimes. If you meet her today, that’s what you see.
But Koya’s mom is happy to tell her whole story, and it might surprise you: she adopted Koya as a puppy when she was single & living in Canada, almost 15 years ago. And Koya was the perfect companion to her mom’s adventures. As a wildlife biologist, Koya’s mom (and eventually her dad, too) would go on multi-day escapades in the mountains, hiking trips that put my casual outdoor experiences to shame, and adventures in the wild that any dog would dream of. I can’t express how much I would have loved to know Koya back then: young, strong, energetic, and ready for anything. But I didn’t know her back then… I only got to meet this awesome dog in the sunset of her life. And that’s okay too – because I still had the privilege of seeing the love she has for her mom, and the rest of her family as well (including her almost-2-year-old human brother). And something tells me that love hasn’t changed a bit over time, no matter whether Koya happened to be young or old… so I feel like I got to know “young Koya” in that small way, after all.
We started our photo session in Koya’s awesome backyard, where Koya (slowly) showed me around her favorite spots.
This is Takla, a shepherd & maremma sheepdog (!) mix, Koya’s canine sister. She’s a sweetheart whose favorite hobby is getting belly rubs. Seriously, I think she spent the whole session thinking “why doesn’t this involve more belly rubs?” And trust me, she got several, haha – but she can never have enough! :)
Koya, right next to her mom – exactly where she wants to be.
I couldn’t have chosen a better dog – or image – to be my last subject of 2016. :)
Libby, thank you so much for introducing me to your wonderful family! I’m so excited to see you again soon. Merry Christmas in the meantime! :)