Sunday, September 23, 2012

Travels with Tucker: Photojournal of A Little Dog's Big Adveture


Take one adorably disheveled yet dapper Jack Russell Terrier named Tucker. Place front and center of the experienced loving lens of his "Papa," fashion photographer Danny Sit.  Result? A delightful story about a doggy who obeys his thirst for adventure but gets lost along the way.

When I woke up today, I had no idea what the day would bring. The bed called out, "Don't go." But I pretended that I didn't hear.I greeted Turtle, my favorite toy, as I always do. 'Today,' I announced to Turtle, ''I'm going on an adventure!" 

Despite his excitement, Tucker is at heart a dog of deliberate temperament. The idea of adventure is set; no need to rush the agenda. In fact, our fella ruminates rather intensely all through breakfast. He's so worn out thinking about where to go, he forgets to "help clean up" (instead of being scolded,  Papa praises his  "best little dog in the whole wide world" and is rewarded with a "big wet kiss right on his nose.")
Tucker's head gets so heavy he seeks relief in an immediate nap. Upon waking, the world once again his oyster, Tucker apparently draws on his storybook superpowers, climbing to the tallest tree in the yard.


No closer to deciding on his doggy destination, Tucker takes the sensible path of packing for any possibility. He brings his new coat with fancy new dog tag ("Papa said the tag would come in handy if I ever got in trouble.") Though it's a bright, sunny day, he recalls Papa saying how quickly the weather can change. Just in case "an iceberg floats down from the North Pole and he gets stranded on it," Tucker takes his warmest sweater. Thoughts of stormy weather prompt the packing of his yellow rain slicker, but our pup is not a gloomy gus by any means; he grabs his favorite hoodie, in case he runs across a "cool rock band" who ask him to join. After all, a little dude never knows! "barney in cashmere"


Wardrobe issues settled, Tucker tackles transportation. Recalling cozy road trips, our boy heads for the car but finds that driving requires Papa legs, not puppy paws, to reach the pedals. But wait, when Papa doesn't drive he takes the train! Tucker heads to the station just in time to climb "ALL ABOARD." A window seat, one more nap, the choo choo stops, and Tucker hops off to discover where his adventuring itch has led him. Nose and ears instantly disclose that Tucker's in the happiest place - the seashore!
I ran to the edge of the water. The rocks felt good on my back, and the sun felt good on my tummy. I gathered some driftwood. I dug some clams. How many biscuits can I trade for a bucket of clams I wondered. Lucky little dog that I am, I even found a big blue ball tat some other dog had left behind.


Suddenly, Tucker looks up from his fun and realizes he's far, far away from  familiar creature comforts - his turtle, his bed, most of all, his Papa!  Anxiety nips at his heels as he races up and down the beach wanting but not knowing how to return to them! Oh, the memories that flood his mind-- from that first day Papa brought him home to the time Eloise, the cat, took special care of him when he hurt his paw. Overcome, the only thing poor Tucker could do was to sit down on the beach and howl over and over "I'm lost!" Sadly, no article of clothing he packed had covered this calamity!


Just as Tucker's most forlorn howl escapes his lips, he hears a familiar bark! His best friend Puddles was playing nearby. Two Legs (Puddles' mommy) gives Tucker a "great big hug" (which he pronounces "swell" ), takes him home and shows him pictures of himself that a very worried Papa has been posting "everywhere!"  A happy reunion is little more than a nap time away for our hero, who can at last rest assured that things will once more be set right in his world. Puddles' house is comfy and cozy, but it's not the same as being home.


 The door opens and a distraught but delighted Papa greets/scolds his pup "Where have you been?" Tucker gives it all up, telling him everything, down to the tiniest detail, only stopping to plant kisses on everyone--everyone's ankles,  that is, "after all, I am a very little dog," though now with a great big adventure behind him.

Turns out, Tucker's story is a tribute to author/Vogue photographer Danny Sit's own dog Barney, another natural in front of the camera.

While Barney's adventures have taken him across the Rainbow Bridge, Sit remains doggy Papa and devoted personal photographer to two Jack Russell terriers named Apple and Henri - champion nappers both. Of all the terrific pictures in the book, the best may be the last page portrait of Sit reclining contently on his couch, a precious pooch lovingly perched atop his chest.