At this time of year, the dogs and I frequently hike along a ridge near our house just as the sun sets. As the sun drops below the towering peaks to our southwest, a warm crimson light engulfs the ridge.
For the past few years, I've taken photos of our dogs in that warm light that serves as a harbinger of spring for me. In February, the sun aligns perfectly with the ridge at sunset.
I first discovered the amazing glow of the sunset on the ridge in February when K was about 5 months old (2004).
Around that time, S joined our pack permanently. Two years ago, he and K posed for me on the ridge as the sun dipped below the mountains.
Then, last year, our wonderful trio managed to stay still simultaneously for a photo. Between R's rambunctious puppy demeanor and S's absent-minded professor act, keeping them all in one spot for a photo was a major accomplishment!
Yesterday, the sun set just after we crested the ridge. I stopped to photograph the labraduo, our current dog family, in the sunlight, keeping my tradition alive.
A little closer up.
And, always true to his spirit, R wanted an action photo as well.
These photos show how our pack has grown and contracted over the years. And, it starts the history only 6 years ago although we've had labs in our family for more than 20 years. Even the photos with our departed S make me smile. We were so lucky to have him in our lives. And, many of his quirks and strengths have lived on in the Labraduo.
As the elder statesdog for a few years, S helped shape the younger dogs. He taught them to always check the ground for fallen treats after a recall treat bonanza. And, he taught R that it was absolutely necessary to take a potty break immediately after drinking because S truly believed that the water went straight through him. Finally, and very importantly, he taught K not to be afraid to take potty breaks in city-like places. Without S's guidance, K would have a lot of trouble on road trips!
Most of all, he taught both K and R, by example, how to approach life with a happy and relaxed spirit. We miss S, especially acutely on our sunset hikes.