I participate in a photography group called the "Daily Dog Challenge" which challenges you to take a photo with a certain theme each day. Today's challenge was "Always on my mind" - and it involved photographing a place that you strongly associate with your dog.
I have certain places that I've been visiting with my dogs for years and years, particularly K and Shyla. So, this morning, Shyla and I started our snowbike ride on the plateau where K and I often watched the sunrise together. Shyla has carried on this tradition, although I've found that she likes to play and perch in different spots than K did.
It had snowed overnight... and it was gorgeous. I felt like K was with us.
Here is K running across the peak last spring.
And stretched out into a full galloping stride...
K loved to prop herself on a stump that's near the top of Hug Hill. She did it on almost every visit to the hill. She was squinting in this photo because her chemotherapy gave her hypersensitivity to bright light.
At one point in the spring, K went through a rough patch, and I thought that we had no more visits to Hug Hill in our future because the hike was too strenuous for her. It turned out that I was wrong because K rallied. We started hiking there regularly again - but I felt like each visit was "extra" and extremely precious. Consequently, I started a ritual. For every "extra" visit to Hug Hill, I'd find a small rock and show it to K to inspect. Then, I'd put it in one of the crevices on top of K's stump. You can see the accumulating pebbles in the photo below.
At first, when Shyla arrived, I felt a little funny about her propping her paws on K's stump. But, over these months, it's become "K and Shyla's stump". I hope that Shyla feels K's spirit whenever she stands tall and proud on Hug Hill.