I am heartbroken. Sorry for this Saturday morning post. I have debated sharing this, but it’s part of my journey, and the journey of the doggies, and therefore yours too, because we are all in this together. So here it is. Recently I traveled out-of-state to high intake shelter to photograph some of their pit bulls. They euthanize 20% of their dogs (mostly pit bulls), so I knew there was a risk some of my models wouldn’t make it. Let me be clear: I don’t blame the shelter for that, they don’t have a choice in the matter. Tens of dogs are pouring in every week and nobody wants to adopt a pit bull.
I don’t know how this happened, I guess we miscommunicated, but a couple of days after my shoot, a few of my models were euthanized, including this baby. My photos were never used and nobody warned me. I am upset they didn’t give me a chance to do my job. I am mad at myself for not being clear enough, and asking that they commit to my models until I have a chance to promote them. Mostly, I am mad at the whole system, where a sweet boy like this one is discarded like trash. We complain that other countries eat dogs? Look at what WE do. Killing for nothing. Throwing bodies in a plastic bag and erasing life as if it had never happened. I cried for hours over him. It was a rough day, I felt vulnerable. I felt useless. And then I felt bad for crying, and ashamed, and guilty. I am ashamed of my tears, because we euthanize so many more dogs like him every day and I feel guilty because I am not the one, at the shelter, having to make these horrific decisions.
But what can I say? I held this boy and I crowned him and I felt his heart beating and I had high hopes, like I have with all my models.
I am sorry, beautiful boy, that I couldn’t give you my best, our best. I decided to post you because I want you to be seen, one last time. I want the world to see you. I want us to remember the beating heart and the soul, and the smile. We need to become better. We need to educate, and we need to learn to not be afraid.