About four years ago, as I turned onto Mayfield Road in Halton Hills, the rumps of two large dogs, trotting amicably along, appeared immediately before me in the thick fog. Luckily, for the dogs and me, I was driving slowly having just stopped at a light, and that my car's fog lights were doing their job.
Upon hearing the car, the dogs, both German Shepard, one black, and the other brown and black, traversed to the opposite shoulder. They never changed pace, or even looked back. It was only as I snapped a photo, that the brown and black German Shepard, in the lead, gave me a glance.
Have you seen the movie Collateral ? There is a scene where coyotes cross in front of the taxi that holds Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. It was my favorite scene in that film, and that is how I felt when these two dogs crossed my path in the thick of the fog.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago. It was overcast and had recently rained. Driving along 22nd side road, on my way out of the glen, I glimpsed two dark shapes emerge from the trees on the hillside to the marshy field below. My first hope, however unlikely, was that these were wolves. I excitedly turned the car around, and over to the side of the road.
Lo and behold, there they were, the same two dogs I had enjoyed photographing in the fog years before. I fumbled to get my camera out of its bag, and still keep both eyes on the dogs. They were on the go, when suddenly, these two "littlest hobos" plunked themselves down in a large, dark, mucky puddle. These two must have need a cooling off, further proof, of just how eerily warm March is here in Southern Ontario.
Before I could snap a shot, up and away they went, into the woods, and out of sight.
Back in the studio, I took another look at the old photo of them. I knew the brown and black German Shepard had a collar, but that pixellated item around the black dog is a broken rope? Could they be feral? Lots of good rabbit eatin' here in the glen.
No matter, whether farm dog or feral, they seemed healthy, happy, and a team.
Dogs are usually not my thing, but I love the image of the black dog, his pale breath clear in the fog, and the contented freedom the pair represent.
I immediately started the drawing of the black Shepard in fog on a large canvas. But the Mill "open studio" days, Friday and Saturday afternoons, are in reality "clean hands days". So contentedly I painted the tidy 18" x 24" oil painting study above.
And the dogs? If they do have a home, and I hope they do, I am uncertain how content the owner will be with their muddy exploits.