As a child I was always drawn to the small and helpless of the world. Puppies, babies, birds with broken wings. My first dog was this ugly, awkward, strangely proportioned mutt from our small town humane society. My mom worked for the city and had gone on a tour there. Over dinner she talked about this little dog they called Airplane (her ears didn’t really fit her head quite right). She was set to be euthanized. I was set on saving her. I loved that ugly dog for the next 14 years.
When my youngest daughter, ten years old, started begging us for a puppy I was like putty in her hands. We already have a dog, a six year old Border Collie/Shepard mix we adopted from the humane society. He is a great dog. The best! He’s quiet, obedient, he has absolutely no fears of phobias. We can leave him home alone for a week with just a couple daily visits from a neighbor. He rings the doorbell to come inside. For real.
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Oscar, though, is her brother’s dog. He prefers me or his boy over Bug any day. She wanted a small, helpless ball of fur that she could love and would love only her in return. And so . . . Norman. We told Bug on her birthday in January that we would, indeed, get her a puppy; a Golden Retriever from a local breeder. It would be another seven months of painful waiting before they would meet. I think she talked about her future puppy at least once a week . . . every week . . . for 30 weeks.
In August, they met for the first time. We drove the two and a half hours from our Milwaukee home to a rural farm in southern Wisconsin. Fifteen puppies jumped and whelped and chased us around the farm yard, begging to be loved. Only one puppy would capture her heart; Norman. The sweetest, softest and most beautiful of the bunch.
Even though I am a documentary photographer, I actually didn’t set out to capture them as a series. Of course I wanted to take plenty of photos because, well, puppies grow fast. Norman has gone from a tiny ball of fur with little legs and tiny ears to a gangley pre-teen with ears that flop and legs that don’t exactly match his body in just four short weeks. After posting just a couple of photos of the two of them, though, it was clear that people were falling in love with these two, just as they were struggling to fall in love with one another.
Much like those first weeks and months with each of my four newborn babies, Bug has struggled with frustration, sleep deprivation, disappointments and boredom. She has also had joy, laughter, moments of bliss and a slow, honest kind of love you can only earn when you love someone enough to do the hard stuff when the hard stuff needs to be done. Watching her fills my heart; I envision what it will be like to watch my four children bring home their own children one day. It’s like a small, beautiful picture of motherhood with a little bit of ten year old magic thrown in.
Norman and the Girl make me smile . . .every day.
Guest post writing and images are from photographer, Anna Mayer.
About Anna Mayer: Nationally recognized, Milwaukee photographer & videographer Anna Mayer tells stories for families, business, and organizations with fun, fresh and modern photography and videography. Her work can be found hanging on the walls of families in most of the 50 states. Additionally, she’s been nationally published by Random House, Shutterfly and Professional Photographer Magazine and her film work has been featured on the Huffington Post and Explore Minnesota. Website // Instagram // Facebook