As some of you know, our dear Office Mascot Balboa passed away last week. He was 12 years old, and outlived his brother and littermate, Ponce, by only 11 months. Balboa was the official greeter for order sessions, and had lived a long and joyful life. He always enjoyed meeting new people and made friends with them fast, especially if they threw the ball for him. He had such a fluffy coat, and would shed like you wouldn't believe, but once that brush came out, he would lay down nicely and enjoy a thorough brushing and massage.
Balboa was very inquisitive of his surroundings. He would venture and explore so as not to leave a morsel of food, or just to learn what the world had to offer. His curiosity earned him the name Balboa for his explorer-type personality, and he proudly lived up to that. From living in a small 1 bedroom apartment, to 10 acres on the North shore of Lake Superior, to the heat of Las Vegas, he adjusted well and as long as Ponce and I were by his side, it didn't matter where we were. A true explorer he was!
When it came to photography, in typical golden retriever fashion, he obliged me when I posed him with new props, or to test out a new lens. He was my first and original model, along with his brother Ponce, and never once huffed or turned away from the camera. One of the most memorable photos I have of him is when he and Ponce were only 6 weeks old and we were up in Northern Minnesota at a cabin celebrating New Year's Eve 1997. This was the first picture of the 2 of them sitting nicely for the camera.
Balboa was a typical golden in many ways, playful, full of energy, and a lover of tennis balls. It wasn't until about a year ago did he venture into playing with toys, but even then, he would always return to his first love. I learned early on which brand of tennis balls would be the most hardy and withstand his hours of chewing them, (Penn, in case you were wondering!) He would take the ball with him to eat, to go to the bathroom, in the car, and even to bed. Such a simple joy it was for him, but a powerful lesson for me to learn. The joy is in the simplicity of life.
There were hundreds of photos taken of Ponce and Balboa over the past 12 years, but none mean more to me than just this simple snapshot taken a couple of weeks ago. Balboa, you are dearly missed and I can only be thankful for the 12 years of joy and unconditional love you brought to my life. I know you are reunited with Ponce and are ecstatically playing together once again. I love you my dear boy!