Today I am reminded of Felix. Felix is a Spanish Ibezan hound who now lives an idyllic life in New Hampshire. In this semi-rural frontier, he has a huge yard, endless small mammals to chase (and dominate) and an exceptionally loving human family. It was almost a year and a half ago that Felix briefly lived with us but this morning, I happened upon something that brought his memory rushing back. In 2012, my work was awarded "Best in Show" at the Shanghai International Photographic Arts Festival and I was presented with a "gold" medal on stage in a very elaborate, formal Chinese ceremony. The medal was in a blue velvet box and when I got home, I displayed it proudly on a shelf in our living room. Unfortunately, the shelf was far too accessible for tall, lanky Felix (also known in some of our social circles as the 'Rare Giraffe Hound') and he took great delight in pulling the box down from the shelf, shredding it and teething all over my medal. This morning, as I went to dust, I saw the teeth marks on my award and smiled.
When Felix lived with us, he was fresh from Spain and had never lived inside before. He had terrible manners. The first day, he jumped up on top of our dining room table in order to survey the room. He chewed everything that wasn't nailed down- and quite a few things that were, like our coffee table and door frames. He was like the kid on the playground whose enthusiasm and desire for affection is so aggressive that it actually suffocates his peers. Felix wanted so badly to play with our dog that he drove her to distraction. We assigned Felix a goofy voice and used to joke that he would go over to Audrey every 30 seconds or so saying, "Hey, what are you doing? what are you doing? what are you doing?". She did not like this. She would snarl and snap at him, but he didn't care one bit.
Felix was magical with our daughter. He was gentle and playful and she was delighted by him. When he was in his crate during mealtimes, she would go over to see him and he would bow and whine and "talk" to her through the bars of the crate. Neither Felix nor Agatha (then just 14 months old) had the advantage of a verbal language, so they communicated with whimpers, little grunts and squeals. It was wonderful to watch.
Although it was not our original intention, in the end, our home was sort of a half-way house for Felix. In the month he was with us, he learned how to exist in polite society, then he moved on to his forever home. During his time with us, he inspired me to create a photographic series that I titled "Study of a Hound". I have wanted to share some of these photos on my site for a long time and today is the day. View the Study of a Hound portfolio.