The Man with the Dog

May 28, 2021

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In 2016, I moved to a small townhouse in Aberdeen, MD to start my post-child-raising life. My two dogs, Roxy and Blitz, came with me. We kept to ourselves and really didn't get to know the neighbors.

A couple years after I moved in, I walked out of my front door and there was a man moving in two doors down. I said hello and introduced myself. He looked me in the eye and said very seriously, "You're the man with the dog."

He knew some people in the neighborhood and, apparently, that's who I was to them -- the man with the dog. I liked that.

One of the things I've noticed about this stage of my life is the seemingly constant redefining of who I am. It always seems to be connected with loss -- something I once was but am not anymore, not necessarily because I wanted it that way.

So today I am feeling a sense of emptiness and wondering who I am now that I am no longer the man with the dog. I know I still have Roxy and now Dakota as well, and I love them both. But they were in Aberdeen too and they weren't who my neighbor was talking about.

That was the most remarkable thing about Blitz. He commanded attention and respect wherever he went. He elevated me from some old guy living out his golden years in an Aberdeen townhouse to "the man with the dog."

This is not a cry for help, just an observation. Blitz lived a long, full life -- everything I could have hoped for when he joined our family. There's a good chance there will be another German Shepherd in my future. He will be awesome. He will be loved. But he won't be Blitz and I will never again be "the man with the dog."

Blitz may well have been the most photographed dog on the planet. I took tens of thousands of photos of him in the 12 years we were together. If you want to see some of my favorites of Blitz, his family and friends, click here.

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