Ben Afraid of Thunder

By PAM VOTH

It was a dark and stormy night. Early evening, actually. I had just driven all the way to the Bitterroot for a photo shoot that had been scheduled for months, but got cancelled at the last moment due to the brewing storm.

Now I had to drive all the way back through town in 5-o’clock traffic. Grrrr. My mood was as dark as the thunderclouds rolling in. This whole cancellation thing blew a huge hole in my Sunday afternoon. When I hold a day open for a photo shoot, I say no to all other things to make space for the creativity. No to invitations to meet up with friends, no to baking bread, no to starting projects. So now here was this hollow afternoon that could have been so productive.

Traffic was slow. Headlights glared on the wet streets and taillights pulsed in front of me. Thunder cracked and rolled across the valley. The sky turned green. Hail was on its way.

At the corner of Madison and Broadway, I saw a big yellow dog weaving between lanes of traffic. Oh no! No. No. No. No. I sent thoughts of heightened vision and quick reactions to all drivers around me. See him! Stop for him!

Wait a minute. Sending thoughts? Right.

So I did what any rational person would do. I pulled the parking brake and jumped out of the car leaving the door wide open. I put up my “stop!” hand the way traffic cops do and managed to slow the traffic in my lane.

I walked towards the old dog. Would he trust me? Or would he run? I always consider that I might be doing a disservice to approach a dog like this. I might chase him into more danger. But, I had such a deliberate intention to save him that I think he must have known.

I approached slowly, and beckoned. He came towards me. “Do you want to go for a ride?” All dogs have magic words that make them happy. Being a Missoula dog, I guessed he might know this phrase. He did. And yes, he’d like to go for a ride. I gently grabbed his collar and guided him to his waiting carriage.

His 110-lb wet bulky body filled my back seat. His thankful eyes filled my heart. I shot a photo with my phone and sent it to my husband. “Meet Ben! :D.” A few minutes later, I texted, “Don’t worry. I’m taking him home to his house. Not ours. 😉 ”

 

Like Pam’s blog post?  You might also enjoy I Think I’m Gonna Like This Town or Missoula Dogs About Town.   And check out Makes It Missoula‘s info on Pet Friendly, how to License Pets, Moving with Pets, and Pet Resources.  You may also want to learn more about Moving to Missoula.

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It has been said, “There are dog people, and then there are people like photographer Pam Voth.” While Voth has a knack for creating unique images of any subject, her distinct rapport with Dog is expressed through direct and personal portraits that capture the authentic nature of canine and human interaction—or in her own words, “pure dog-ness.” Pam Voth has developed an artful style for photographing dogs so intimately that you can almost smell the biscuits on theirbreath.