THE STORY OF BRO AND TRACY
and some previously unpublished photos

 

June 1985. My husband came home and said that he wanted to get a puppy from someone he was working with. Said he would name him Bro because he "had always wanted a bro". We arranged that I would pick him up the next morning.

I brought Bro home and prepared to go about my plans for the day, but then we looked at each other. I realized that I had nothing to do that was more important than making this pup feel at home.

By the time Ed got home Bro was my dog.

 

From the first moment that Bro looked at me with those enquiring eyes, wanting to know if I was going to be his new momma, our relationship was sealed.

Never, from that moment for more than 15 years, would we ever willingly be apart.

Three weeks later we got Tracy, the last of the litter.

Bro and Tracy were different in many ways. He was always confident, ready to try anything. She was timid. Although she was more agile, she was afraid to try new things until Bro did it first.

They were alike in their loyalty and intelligence. They were naturally obedient. They listened and were eager to please.

They were perfect companions for each other. They ran and played and wrestled. They always went along with the horses. They ran through mountain meadows, canyons and the beach. They swam. They were full of life and joy, ready to go anywhere, ready for new places and adventures, as long as we were together.

   

Bro and Tracy were 10 months old when I discovered how much they liked posing for photos. The picture on the right was taken 6 months after the above photo. I don't know why it took me so long to catch on.

After this I shot thousands of frames of my ever-obliging models. They had made it their job and they took their work very seriously. I learned much later that they would have enjoyed careers as herding dogs, as they had been bred for, but I always knew that the photo sessions were really their idea. The 3 of us enjoyed it immensely.

 
Chasing rabbits was always a thrill. Once Tracy caught a big jackrabbit like this one, but she let it go unharmed.
 
In those days there was a lot of open space in Corrales and we rode frequently. Bro and Tracy loved running with the horses. They knew how to stay out of the way of the hooves and never bothered the horses.
 
 

We travelled a lot, mostly around the west plus a number of trips to the gulf coast. Sometimes Ed travelled with us. Sometimes we met him wherever he might be working.

When you travel with your dogs you are with them 24/7 and so there is nothing like it for forging a strong relationship. Since you are out of your usual routine you probably can focus more on them.

We enjoyed every mile and every hour that we spent discovering the west.

   
 

I almost never told them where or how to pose. They always did it on their own. We were driving through the Painted Desert one winter evening when I saw this light. As soon as I stopped Bro and Tracy jumped out and ran to this rock.

They were not "trained dogs". They were part of our lives, included in everything possible. Everything we did we did in play and fun and love.

 

Pecos has led the life of one who has
always been wanted and cherished.

Bro, Tracy and Pecos loved this raft. We
took it with us to New Mexico lakes and
to Mobile Bay, as in this photo.

 

 

Because Bro and Tracy were so special and I loved them so much I wanted to find a suitable mate for Bro so that we could breed more one-in-a-million dogs. Bro was 9 years old when Pecos and Maggie were born. I believed that the sequel in my life as well as my photographs would be "Pecos, Son of Bro". In an ideal world it would make sense to breed dogs that are mentally and physically healthy and have assorted desirable characteristics.

I should have known it by then, but I hadn't faced the fact that there are so many, so very many, little Bros and Tracys at the shelters. Many will die there. Others will go home with someone only to live out a poor existence in a backyard. A few will have the chance to love and be loved. Now I know that until every one has a good home there is no excuse for breeding anything, no matter how wonderful we believe them to be.

And so, the sequel in my life and photographs has become Bro and Tracy Animal Welfare, Inc.

This litter of puppies was abandoned in an apartment when the people moved out.

Every time I see one of these little faces I see a little Bro or Tracy, and I wonder if this one will have a chance.

We never knew exactly what breeds were mixed in Bro and Tracy. We were told that the mother was an Australian shepherd and the father was some type of dingo or cattle dog. This is a very common type of dog in New Mexico. Australian shepherds, cattle dogs and border collies are all very popular, and naturally there are many mixes identifiable only as a herding breed type. These dogs usually have natural obedience, loyalty, good temperament and a work ethic. They are understandably popular with the result that thousands die in New Mexico pounds every year because there are not enough homes.

Bro and Tracy Animal Welfare, Inc. attempts to help dogs of all types as well as horses, cats and other animals.

Joyce Fay
Corrales, New Mexico
August 26, 2005

 


 

 

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