Service Women & Their Dogs, Vol. I
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
~ Roger Caras
For some, this holiday evokes images of fine wine, a dinner out, or a box of European chocolates. But for me, Valentine's is about celebrating those who make our lives whole, who bring us joy, and who love us unconditionally.
That's why for the week leading up to Valentine's Day, I decided to do a photo essay that is a little outside the norm. This is a project I've been thinking about for a long time, one that shows the humanity and the normality of service women in the United States Army. Some of my dearest friends wear the uniform every day. They endure and conquer, defying stereotypes and marginalization. They are physically strong and mentally fit, but most of all, they are women just like me.
This photo essay is for them. For the ladies who serve our country quietly and without complaint, thank you. Here is the first chapter of your story, just a peek behind the scenes of your world. Thank you for being my inspiration.
Jess & Sky
"She keeps me on my toes."
When I asked Jess to tell me a little about Sky's story, she said it wasn't all that different than many soldiers who move to Alabama for flight school. After a few months with no roommates and no furry friend, Jess started to get tired of coming home to an empty house.
She started to look for a rescue dog.
That was when her mom called and asked if Jess could take their dog, Sky, since her parents were moving into a home without a backyard for Sky to play in. Jess immediately said yes.
"God's timing is always perfect," Jess said. "He blessed me with a four-legged companion!"
Jess has had Sky for six months, and her intense energy and love of people and other pets has kept Jess on her toes. The one word that Jess says would define their relationship is 'adventurous'. Sky never stops moving. She adores new people, but most of all, she loves playing with kids.
When Jess goes to workout at her favorite cross-fit gym, Sky goes with her. They adventure together: see new places and meet new people.
"I was just thinking, she's always there for me," Jess said.