This is the picture that gave me the idea of dedicating an entire year to telling the stories of the photographs I cherish. Every time this photograph surfaces it brings me to tears. Every. Darn. Time. Even now, writing this, I can barely see the screen through my tears.
I loved that dog.
And she loved me, unconditionally. Her name was Mokelumne Silver Mist or Misty for short. She was a purebred Weimaraner and a Father’s Day gift from my brother Chuck for my dad. On paper, she belonged to my dad but in her heart, she was mine.
She and I spent countless hours together. We played and I taught her tricks and she would perform without fail. She would protect me from strangers and console me when I cried. Our favorite place to go was out by the canal behind our house. Misty would play fetch for hours and in the summer, when the canal was full, she loved to retrieve those sticks from the cool water. I delighted in the game and she never tired. This photo was taken by my brother Craig in 1978. I was 10 years old. (And apparently a big Elvis fan.)
Every afternoon, Misty would wait for me by the bus stop. Her tail wagging in anticipation as it came rolling up. I grew older and the vehicles started to depart more frequently but Misty never lost her patience. She didn’t like it when I left, but she loved it when I came home. Eventually we noticed that she would give a “warning bark” when a particular white, Chevy 4×4 turned on to our street a half mile down the road. (Leroy.) She’d hear him coming and although she wasn’t happy about it, she knew it was inevitable. When we got married, and my parents moved off the farm, Misty’s health declined rapidly. I hate to admit it, but I know that dog died from a broken heart.
Misty is the reason I love dogs. She was a shining example of loyalty, happiness, faithfulness, trust, obedience and love without limits… all of the things I strive for every day. She was my best childhood friend and my greatest memories of that time will forever include her. She still touches my heart to this day and I have her to thank for teaching me how to love.