Friday, September 16, 2011

Radar Ward, a Chihuahua whippet mix of unknown origin passed away on September 15, 2011.  Born in 1996 in the wilds of Albuquerque’s North Valley, he spent his formative years wandering solo until a potent combination of fate, luck and horse sense brought him to the Ward family.   

The small white dog, dubbed “Radar” in tribute to his outsize ears became the immediate friend and muse to artist Ross Ward.  The inseparable buddies spent many happy hours sun bathing, catnapping and perfecting the mid-air tennis ball catch.  Proclaimed “best dog in the world,” Radar became the subject of a series of late career paintings by the artist where he was depicted as a bright spirit of hope and once as The Pope, himself.

Radar’s dedication to the creative genius only deepened as Ward battled Alzheimer’s disease.  Whether sharing a table, a bed or a particularly warm patch of sun, Radar rarely left Ross’ side and seemed to share a freeflowing path of communication with the artist long after words had been lost.

With a bouncing step and a jingling collar, Radar brought great joy and comfort to Ward and the many other residents of the Manor Care Alzheimer’s wing. 

After Ward’s death in 2002, Radar continued to live with Carla Ward in Sandia Park, as Mayor of Tinkertown Museum.  After a full season of meeting and greeting visitors from all over the country, Radar spent winters relaxing in Phoenix, Arizona.  Vacationing in the shadow of Camelback Mountain, Radar developed a taste for organic chicken and long hikes in the desert.

During his tenure as Tinkertown Mayor, Radar was the inspiration and star of the picture book "Emily Finds a Dog," written by Carla Ward and illustrated by Megan Ward.

Radar is survived by feline friends Franny and Zooey, devoted humans Carla Ward and Eric Rasmussen and legions of loving fans.  This best dog will be greatly missed.