Lauren Grabelle has been making photographs for a long time. I remember when she emailed me about her work several years ago, I was so drawn to her series Natural Boundaries, which felt very “now” and fit right in with a lot of the work I was looking at (and making) – and I was surprised to learn that the pictures were made in the early and mid-1990s, all on Kodachrome. In more recent years, Lauren has been turning her camera to her dog, Sugar, and is now anticipating her first solo exhibition, Sugar Rising, opening next week at Washington State University (WSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, Pullman, WA.

One day in September 2015, Lauren’s Weimaraner, Sugar, became completely paralyzed in her back legs. I remember seeing Lauren’s updates on social media, feeling so sad for her and thinking that Sugar was probably old and simply nearing the end of her days (I was confronting my own pet’s slowing down at the time). But Sugar was only ten years old, and after she was misdiagnosed by three local vets, Lauren traveled six hours from Montana to WSU to take advantage of the medical technology available there, all the while worried terribly about the potential for expensive surgery, or worse, euthanizing her dog. At WSU, a neurologist pointed to Sugar’s MRI, which showed that she had a staph infection in her spine. After two days of antibiotics, Sugar was standing, and began to make a remarkable comeback from paralysis thanks to the MRI that saved her life.

Sugar is now 12 years old, hiking and doing the outdoor activity she loves. Sugar Rising is an overview of Sugar’s varied and adventurous life, including her slow, undiagnosed decline to paralysis and her complete recovery. Learn more about Sugar’s story on the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine website.

Sugar Rising opens September 7 at the WSU Animal Health Library and is on view through January 2018. An opening reception will be held Thursday, September 7, 4-6 p.m.

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