Last night I revised the prologue to my memoir to include a description of this photo of Isis.
Maybe it’s not unique under the larger category of dogs running on beaches, but as I wrote about the photo, I tried to find the words to explain what it means to me, and why I chose it as the photo that decorates the wooden box where we keep her ashes.
About six months after this picture was taken, Isis bit someone, and we never felt safe taking her to public places after that, certainly no place where we let her off leash. I shot, and this is not an exaggeration, about 3,000 photos of Isis during her life. Every single one is absolutely stunning of course, but many of them look alike. Isis chasing a soccer ball, Isis smiling at me as she waits for me to throw the soccer ball, Isis with her squeaky rubber Milk Bones in her mouth. Photos documenting her everyday life.
In this photo, Isis is completely free, operating on instinct, and blissfully happy in the wild, not constrained by the limitations we impose on our domesticated dogs. This moment would never be relived, and that’s why it’s unique. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment for my once-in-a-lifetime dog.