When I think back to when I first started incorporating my passion for dogs into my life, I remember I was about 13, discovering I loved to write. I would sit down at my desk in front of my totally awesome Brother Word Processor and just type away and compile short stories about dogs.
My first inspiration was Galahad, my family's beloved Lhasa Apso. I loved him so much and as he aged, I wrote a story about him, documenting his various life stages. I have always been an extremely determined and persevering person and I submitted this story (and many others) to every magazine/journal possible, hoping that just one might notice me. Well, one magazine did notice me after many rejections from other publications. "Fetch the Paper", a small doggy magazine gave me a chance and published my article about Galahad. It was bittersweet because Galahad, the first dog I had ever known and the reason I am such a dog lover today, was put to sleep at age 17, just a few weeks before the article was published and a memoriam note was added before it went to print.
The editor of Fetch the Paper, September Morn (who is now a columnist for Dog Fancy and I just reconnected with her) believed in me and submitted the published article for a chance to win the DWAA (Dog Writers Association of America) Junior Writer Award. I will never forget the feeling I had when September called me and told me I had won. I believe I was 15 at the time of the award. This is a huge accomplishment for anyone, but at 15, I was astonished. I won $250 and a coveted Maxwell Medallion and certificate, which I found this past weekend when cleaning up one of our closets. It immediately took me back to when I first knew I loved dogs with all my heart and I am so proud to see where I am today, still incorporating my love for dogs through photography.
You may notice there are two medallions in the below photo. September actually published another article I had written a few years later, which was an interview of Galahad's vet. She submitted that article to another DWAA contest, and I actually won again. What an accomplishment for such a young girl I was. I always remember preaching that "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." I knew if you didn't try repeatedly, regardless of how many times you fell, you may never persevere. And to this very day, I still hold true to this belief.
Forgive the poor quality and non-natural light photo, but this was too cute for me not to post. After I was placing the awards on the bench to photograph, Remington, my sweet fur baby, jumped onto the bench and just looked at me.. he knows the drill!