A girl and her dog

I'm working on a book. I've been working on it for about ten years. It started as biography and aviation history. It has morphed over time into memoir. I'm calling it Growing Up Boeing.

I recently dug through old photos. I'm creating a video of photos that illustrate the memoir, in preparation for a pitch on Kickstarter (seeking funding to finish the book and publish it). I came upon one that has always, always made me smile when I see it.

I was three and a half years old. That's Rusty I'm hugging, the first of many dogs in my life. My father took this photo. Dad taught me to love animals, to be gentle with them, to treat them as the precious gifts they are. We had dogs only because he insisted; my mother doesn't like animals of any kind. Dad always had a way with animals - he was an animal whisperer, as well as an airplane whisperer - and he passed that love and understanding on to me. He taught me the value of quietly observing animals, to suss their needs and wishes, to get into their heads and see things from their perspective. Animal whispering is just one of his many legacies that I cherish.

I find it interesting that Rusty looks very much like Finn, but with a tail. I have vague memories of Rusty; he was given that name because his coat was red, like Finn's. One distinct memory is sitting under the dining table, holding Rusty as he shook with fear during a thunder storm. Rusty disappeared from my life not too long after this photo was taken. I don't know why; I only remember crying when told he wasn't coming home after a trip to the vet. 

Maybe I get to have Rusty again, in Finn.
Rebecca WallickComment