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Apollo On All Threes

This is Apollo. We grew up together. He is now 14, me 22, and we are each others' worlds. In his prime, he was an agility dog, though he had a particular obsession with the tennis ball. However, 3 years ago he experienced a spinal cord injury when a vertebral disc slipped inwards, damaging his spinal cord while he was chasing one of those precious balls. He was paralyzed from the waist down but slowly regained function of everything but one foot.

I have not lost anyone significant in my life. I am young enough and fortunate enough to say that. But this was the first time I saw that he was not immortal, and I realized that he might be the first person dear to me that I lose. So we took big steps forward together. We got a custom fitted brace to hold his paralyzed foot up while he walked so his leg would not drag behind him, and we rejoined the world. We worked back up from walking to the end of the driveway to walking miles and terrorizing squirrels and climbing hills, though we could never chase a ball again.

And that will be the point of my project. As he ages, his whole leg is slowly becoming paralyzed, but I want to ensure that my best friend can still live out what excites him. In this series, I want to emphasize the life and youth that is still in him while subtley highlighting his age and challenges.

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The first photo serves as a subtle introduction. When he's lying down, you can't see the age or the disability. The second photo shows him unable to greet the neighbors (who just arrived home) because his ramp has iced over and paralysis prevents him from climbing stairs. The third photo is our 1/4mile break on our walk with Mr. Frog (favorite toy). Hopefully his face is the focus of the photo, but on his side you can see a part of the leg brace he needs to wear when he walks.

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