Listen to this post:
‘Tis the season for orange.
The light of day is fading and leaves are changing their colors from green to yellow, red and orange.
Halloween is upon us.
Everywhere you look, Mother Nature and commercialism have puked up orange.
It’s funny the way color has a psychology to it, that simple hues and tones can make us feel a certain way.
That a tone or shade can affect our moods makes me curious about the human brain. About my brain.
Colors have meaning.
Why did I pick orange to represent Big White Dog Photography?
I don’t remember. I knew in 2007 when I was designing my logo for Noses & Toes Pet Photography, my original brand name, I wanted a color that exudes happiness.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized the connection I had to orange. I didn’t even have to dig into the meaning of color but I did anyway.
Every day as a child and a young woman, my favorite color was blue. In the last 10 years, though, I’ve realized there’s more meaning to my life with orange in it.
Meaning in your life because of a color, Angela? Bear with me.
The color orange is a blend of red and yellow and, according to Color-Meanings.com, it “bursts with energy and warmth.”
It’s associated with the outdoors … think sunsets and campfires.
And it’s a spiritual color that “inspires us to lean into our emotional understandings,” says Color-Meanings.com.
It suggests spontaneity, promotes confidence and provokes us to find the courage to face our fears.
But it also makes us feel hungry and uncertain, and others associate orange with crassness, abrasiveness and arrogance.
Crass, abrasive, arrogant — that’s me
I have been accused of being all these things. And that’s OK. I can deliver the F bomb in all parts of speech – nouns, verbs, adjectives and so on. And all verb conjugations.
I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Fuck it. That’s OK with me.
Spontaneous, confident, courageous.
I’ve also been accused of being all these things.
And that’s OK with me.
The color psychology of orange and my dog photography go deeper than that, though. Waaaaaaaay deeper.
In 2021, I sat down to write the content for the first book I self-published, Paws of the Panhandle. It was a book of dog photography in the Inland Northwest and how they’ve changed their humans’ lives.
I had to write my own story for Bella’s section in the book. (I don’t publish a book unless Bella is in it … because Bella.)
I looked up from my laptop and burst into tears. My eyes spied a certain item across the room and realized why orange is my color.
The day we said goodbye
Shep died on Aug. 20, 2014. It was a Wednesday. The vet called with the results from a blood draw and said, “Your dog’s heart is about to explode. You need to put him down.”
We jumped in the truck and drove from Kelowna, British Columbia, to Spokane, Washington, where my fiancé lived – who of course is now my husband and why I now call the Inland Northwest home.
We got Shep to a clinic where we said our goodbyes. We picked up his remains on the Friday and caravanned back to Kelowna the next day.
I felt like I needed to do something to manage my grief. I scoured the web for Maremma sheepdog breeders so I could get on a waitlist for a spring litter.
One of the breeders emailed me back right away: There are three puppies in Arlington, Washington, that need homes now.
I freaked out. It was too early. How could I do that to Shep?
And yet, nine days after I said goodbye to my copilot, I was bringing home a 60-pound, 5-month-old asshole of a puppy.
Her first name was Miss Orange.
The day we said hello
We were supposed to take Miss Red home. Miss Red looked more friendly, more congenial in her pictures on the breeder’s Facebook page.
There was just something about her photo that drew me in.
We drove from Kelowna to Arlington thinking Miss Red was going to be Bella.
My fiancé chatted with the breeders, the Sharps of Shado Farms, while I sat on a rock watching the three puppies play in a field.
Every few minutes, a puppy would bounce over to engage with me. Each time, I checked the color to see who it was.
It was always Miss Orange. Miss Red and Miss Yellow wanted fuck-all to do with me.
Miss Orange came home and became Bella.
Princess Bella Bossypants.
The collar of orange
Aye, you think, there’s the rub. That’s why she’s all about the orange.
But maybe there’s more to it than that.
As I sat and wrote Bella’s story for the book, much along the lines of what I just shared with you, I looked up from my laptop to give my eyes a break.
They fell upon the shrine to Shep I keep on a bookshelf in my living room.
His urn, photos of him, a charm a friend gave me to memorialize him after he died.
And his collar.
Seven years after he died, I finally made the connection and I knew he sent her to me.
I knew he knew he had to leave me to make room for her.
The collar that sits beside his urn? The last one Shep ever wore?