Posted on May 5, 2012
HeARTs Speak theme this week is Hero.
I’ve been lucky to meet a true hero…live, in person.
In Los Angeles he is a bit controversial…I’m not sure why. His main goal is to help the underdog. I guess his choice of underdog is what makes some people shake their heads and wonder what is wrong with him. I am not one of those folks.
I have admired him from a far for years. I’ve seen his photographs. In fact, many of those images have made me cry. But not until I met and talked to him did I truly understand the depths of his love for his favorite underdog. The pit bull. His inspiration came from a dog name Sway.
When he talks about Sway, he is filled with emotion. His connection with that beautiful pit bull changed his life.
He says of his beloved best friend, “She taught me an endless amount about myself–about life and how to live it, about love, about compassion, about responsibility, and the list goes on and on, quite literally forever…”
Sadly, Sway passed away from an auto-immune disease. But her legacy lives on. Josh is making sure of it. In her memory, in honor of her, Josh goes into shelters all over Los Angeles and photographs the pit bulls that live there. He works tirelessly to change the public perception of these dogs.
“During the 8+ years that Sway was here with me I spent every minute being her advocate–and with that, observing the different actions and reactions of others any time her “breed/type” was brought up within a social setting.These current realities burn in my gut. They get under my skin and they make my heart hurt–because I know the realities, and I see this for what it is–a national extermination.
What do you do with that? Do you just sit in your corner and wait until that shadow is on top of your world? Or do you at some point stand up and make it clear that this witch-hunt is wrong? You don’t have to have Pit Bulls yourself to come to this conclusion… Just have some compassion and an appreciation for common sense.” (Words from his website. If you haven’t already seen it, you should.)
Sounds right to me.
And so, to me, Josh is the real McCoy. A true hero. If pit bulls could talk I bet they’d agree.
Josh says, “One thing is abundantly clear though, and that’s that they sure do need and deserve any help they can get, and I personally owe my life and energy to making this planet a better place for them to live.”
Posted on April 25, 2012
Reaching deep within to touch a place long forgotten
Sweet memories to cherish forever
A moment held
Time stands still
Neatly tucked inside a heart that does not soon forget.
Posted on April 20, 2012
This is tale of two best friends. Gabby and Enzo. Pit bull and cat. An unlikely pair that are joined at the hip. They love each other more than any creature pair I’ve ever seen. Except maybe Gabby and Scrappy.
Gabby’s first kitty friend was a feral cat that I used to feed. Scrappy came with the house when we bought it. How could I not continue to care for such a sweet little girl? My hope was to bring her into the house at some point. That almost never happened. She was a real feral cat that grew up in a wild cat colony in the park at the end of my block. I fed her for about 5 years before she let me near her.
But she loved Gabby. She would follow us on our walks. She would come out of her hiding place every time Gabby came outside. It was wonderful to see such love and friendship.
Then Scrappy got sick. She refused to eat. She wouldn’t greet Gabby. But I was finally able to pick her up. She was tiny. So skinny! I knew something was terribly wrong with her. I immediately took her to my vet.
Turns out she was ancient. Probably 20 years old. The vet examined her and learned that she had lost most of her teeth. She was deaf. She was blind. She even had kitty dementia. The vet said that there was nothing I could do for her except make her comfortable and if she was in pain, put her to sleep.
And so I brought her inside. I tried to get her to eat. I tried everything. Tuna. Cream of Chicken soup. Nothing worked. She was wasting away. The day I decided that I couldn’t let her starve to death, that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to put her to sleep, this is what I found when I came home from work. —————————>
Seems Gabby was teaching her how to eat. And that girl gobbled up that dog food like she hadn’t eaten…well… in weeks! From that moment on, Scrappy ate with Gabby. Every single meal. And she gained weight. And she followed Gabby everywhere again. She even slept with her. And because she was blind, would walk over her.
I know these aren’t the best photographs. They are only snapshots, but I am so grateful I captured them. Gabby and Scrappy had a true bond of friendship. That cat lived another year! We called her the energizer bunny. When she finally did pass away, poor Gabby was so depressed. She wouldn’t sleep on the bed she shared with Scrappy. She moped around. It was heartbreaking. So what did we do? We got Gabby another kitty friend, Enzo.
Turns out a few weeks later, a friend found a stray that was pregnant. Enzo was one of the kittens. Gabby loved him right away. And you know what? Enzo loved Gabby immediately too.
But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. ~Thomas Jefferson
Are you an artist that helps animals with your craft? Think about joining HeARTs Speak!
HeARTs Speak believes that enabling artists to do what they feel passionately about can help save the lives of thousands of animals. When featured in their best light on a rescue website or pamphlet, people are much more likely to develop a connection that brings them to meeting that animal, which takes them one step closer to adopting that pet into their family.
Pets are our confidantes, best friends, exercise buddies, careful listeners, biggest champions, and our family. Unfortunately, while they may have a bark or a meow, a chirp, a thump or an oink, often times, they need people to be their voice. HeARTs Speak members are those people, and together, we provide that voice.
Posted on April 13, 2012
First week of HeARTs Speak 52 week art assignment. Feel free to leave a comment. And if you’re interested in becoming a HeARTs Speak member check them out here. And if you want to read about the white dog in the photo here’s his story.