I love the work that I do for BarrieToday and its fellow Village Media news outlets in the region, while meeting interesting people and sharing their struggles and triumphs within the community.
With the onset of warmer weather, I cover many outdoor events every month, such as charity walks, sporting events and more.
And although I consider myself a fairly outgoing "people person," it’s the dogs that I meet along the way that I love the most.
Nothing makes me happier than scratching the head of a happy dog that seems to be just as happy to meet me as I them.
When I know that I am to be out on assignment on a nice warm day, and that my chances of crossing paths with lots of people out for walks, and the dogs to humans ratio is high, I wear one of my favourite T-shirts, which is, of course, meant to be an ice-breaker as much as it’s supposed to be funny, which it is.
It’s one that states, “I’m just here to pet all the dogs,” with a cute cartoon corgi on it.
And it speaks the truth.
Take, for example, one of my most recent assignments. I was tasked with documenting the opening day of the Elmvale Flea Market. It’s mostly held outdoors, so there was no doubt that there was going to be lots of dogs there!
Sure enough, I was correct, and I was soon making friends with a lovely little chihuahua-terrier mixed pup.
Her name was Mocha and she was 14, deaf as a post, but friendly and as sweet as could be.
Sure, I also spoke with the man who held the leash. He was a nice, retired older man, and I listened to his life story with interest as I petted the little dog. But let’s face it, that just bought me lots of extra time with his pup.
I know how to work it. Ask a question, let the person talk, enjoy the one-on-one time with the four-legged fur buddy.
Next on my “hit list” was another little chihuahua that I spotted off in the distance.
Her name was Kiki and she gave me that look of “pet me” across the seemingly great distance between us through the crowd.
Actually, it was only about 20 feet, but I’m sure that’s pretty far for a little dog.
She had the most beautiful blue eyes.
Wait, sorry, one blue eye and one brown eye.
Alright, that’s OK with me.
A quick friendship was struck and we both came away from it quite pleased.
A keen eye will notice that I try to sneak in a dog in my photos whenever I get an opportunity, because they make me happy, and I like to think that it can make many of you happy as well.
Only a few minutes a day with a dog is great for your mood and mental health, and it certainly does wonders for me.
You would think with all this love I have for canines that I would be a dog owner, but unfortunately our cat Fred is the king of our household and would never allow a dog within his kingdom, so I am left to rely on the daily dog-walkers in Barrie to get my fix.
And as summer approaches, I look forward to making a ton of new friends as I make my rounds around the city.
Keep your eyes out for me, as I’ll be wearing my shirt and ready to say hi.
Large or small, I’ll pet them all.
So, I say to my editor, keep those outdoor summer assignments coming.
Kevin Lamb is a photojournalist whose work often appears on BarrieToday. He loves dogs, but don't tell Fred.