Found on the Monument Valley Loop Road. This Rez Dog learned which pet tricks were most likely to earn snacks from tourists and ran through his list of spins and poses as long as the granola bars kept coming. He was so well trained it was likely that he escaped from a camper at some time past and survived by guile alone.
The suburban subdivision east of Kayenta is one of themore incongruous sights on the Navajo reservation. For Rez Dogs, people mean food. And danger. This animal stayed where he was going to encounter the most people - increasing the chances of a free meal while maintaining an escape route to the desert.
Some Rez Dogs are pets but the personality traits that define the "breed" remain the same.
My path from the parking lot at the Kayenta, AZ Hampton Inn lead me past this Rez Dog. She'd made a nest out of dead leaves in the lee of a stone wall and was too tired even to beg. Actually she was a little annoyed at my presence but when I left the next morning, the water was gone from the bowl and there was no sign of the hot dogs or granola bars I'd piled next to her bunk.
Rez Dogs live admidst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
A cow died near Local Road #4 near Chinle, AZ. This Rez Dog was so focused on gorging that he didn't notice he was being watched. Once he became aware of my presence, he bolted into the brush barking and howling as though leaving an easy meal was physically painful. I left immediately so he could eat in peace.
Found near the entrance to the Navajo National Monument, this was the first Rez Dog I encountered during the first dedicated Rez Dog Photography trip. After considering, at length, "What the hell are you doing here?" the question became, "How does a dog get killed on a road without any traffic?"
West of Monument Valley park entrance.
Seven Rez Dogs protected this flock of sheep on the Navajo Reservation like a perfectly synced Secret Service detail. They first sent a scout to the fence to watch me watch them while the rest of the crew moved their charges farther away.Once the leader (watching me from cover just behind the sacrificial guard) figured I wasnâ€™t leaving (or moving closer), he took watch and the rest of the teams moved the flock with greater urgency. The last moment of the encounter was he and I staring at each other and no, I did not take that picture. Intentionally.
A friend traveled from Durango to Flagstaff and I asked her about the drive. "Great," she said. "Only six dead dogs on the road." This Rez Dog died near several homes and was likely a pet who simply didn't make it across the road.
This is my Rez Dog - the one who started the Rez Dog Biographies. Found eight miles South of Page, AZ, she had no fight left. I opened my car door after pulling to the side of Hwy 89 to take an "empty highway" picture and there she was - with an expression that said "you're late."
The definition of Rez Dog is loose but most agree that pets are included in addition to stray and feral dogs. The resident of this doghouse is actually lucky as most Rez Dogs - pets included - live outside year around. Yes, it snows on the Rez...
This Rez Dog was sleeping at his post guarding a yard atop Three Mesas. He woke slowly, came to anger quickly, and treated my car like an errant sheep as I tried to drive away. Had I not been shooting from the car window, this guy would have had me cold.
During the days before a Rez Dog rescue veteran suggested I travel with frozen hot dogs, I used to distribute milk bonz like I owned the company. This Rez Dog had found a nice warm curb in the sun... paradise. Until I woke him up and started tossing these rock-like sticks at him. The sideways pose is common - it allows the dog to evaluate your food potential while maintaining the about-to-escape wariness that defines many Rez Dog encounters. He soon figured I was OK but wasn't impressed with the rock-like sticks. Ate them all anyway.
The rest stop on I-40 West from Gallup, NM is a popular place for Rez Dogs. This dog sat patiently at the stop sign at the bottom of the ramp - knowing the cuteness factor was working. PS, he loves beef jerkey.