I’m embarrassed to admit a key reason I haven’t yet blogged about the Loews Coronado Bay surf dog festival: I am photographically challenged. It’s not just that I tend to take lousy pictures; I also break nearly every camera I touch, even disposable ones. I’ve joked for years that my ex-husband, a photographer, put a curse on me: “You shall never, ever take a good picture in my lifetime.” It’s a funny excuse but unfair; Al and I parted on reasonably good terms. And, at least as far as I know, it’s untrue.
So. I am herewith taking all responsibility for my photophobia and confessing: Being used to shunning photography before being forced to take it up when I started blogging, I forgot my camera in the hotel room for the surf dog event.
This is all an elaborate lead in to last night’s email exchange with Clare, my best friend and San Diego vacation companion.
Because I didn’t bring a camera and neither did Clare — you’ll have to take up her photophobia with her — we were happy to find that one of the festival’s sponsors, CanineMix.com, was taking pictures and posting them on their site. Here are the ones of Archie, Clare’s dog, and Frankie:
When I sent the link to Clare, she wrote, “Great! But why does Archie always look tortured and Frankie always looks like a runway model?”
I responded, “Arch does not look tortured! And I think Frankie looks like he has 5 o’clock shadow.”
Go ahead, laugh. Clare and I always do. But it brings up the point: Just as we tend to assume others judge us by our partners — it’s not just women; ever hear the term “trophy wife”? — we also secretly believe that others judge us by our dogs.
And to a certain degree, they do. A badly behaved, out-of-control dog often reflects the training given or, rather, the lack thereof. And we think ill of someone whose pup is matted beyond the point of good health. All other notions of being assessed on our dogs’ appearance are pretty much in the realm of the irrational. Which doesn’t mean we don’t fall for them, as the burgeoning canine fashion industry attests.
In fact, more people pay attention to balding, arthritic Archie, now 15 years old, than they do to Frankie, spry and cute as a button at 10. That’s because Archie is a friendly guy, still meeting and greeting the crowds as he did in the past, while Frankie remains shy to the point that he can only be admired from afar.
Should what other people think matter to me and Clare? Hell no. Does it nevertheless? You bet. And don’t try to tell me you never experienced similar feelings, no matter how much you love your pup.
P.S. This is not to suggest I don’t have onsite pictures of the surf dog event; I do — that’s another shaggy dog story — and I plan to post them. I just wanted to get the fact that I didn’t actually take any of them off my chest.