Posts Tagged ‘FOCHP’

To Hercules with Love

May 2, 2013

My good friend Hercules, the pit bull, has about 2-10 weeks to live.  Cancer is getting the best of him and his time with us running out.  Many of you know him, have met him at events or know him through the portraits of him that I have taken in the last few years. He has marched in several Luv-a-Bully marches, first with 4 legs and then with 3 legs and served as an “ambassadog” at many rescue events around Orange County.

I met Hercules in 2009 at a Luv-a-Bully march in Brea.  The march was a gathering of about 200+ pit bulls and their owners to dispel the public opinions that pit bulls were mean fighting dogs and protest BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). Dr. Paula Terifaj (now the owner of DogSpa) asked me to photograph the event and that is how I met Hercules and his family, Kylie (now 5) and mom Leslie.  I snapped some photos of Herc and Kylie at the event and a few months later Leslie contacted me, in a panic, to do portraits of Kylie with Hercules because Hercules had cancer and she did not know how long he would live. Kylie was two then and Leslie was afraid that without photos Kylie would not be able to remember Hercules when she grew up.    Since that time, the bond that Hercules shares with his girl Kylie has become a personal photographic project for me.  The images of Kylie and Hercules together have touched many people and helped to change the negative perception some people have of the pit bull breed.  The portrait work has served as a medium to communicate the true nature of pit bulls as protectors and kid-loving, furry balls of love.

I know a lot of pit bulls!!!   Of all of them, Hercules is the most loving, the most patient, and the best ambassador for the breed I’ve ever met.  His work here on earth is just about done.  I’ve captured some memories with the photography we’ve done, but it’s still so difficult for Kylie and Leslie to deal with the loss they will grieve someday very soon.    I have been trying to think of something to do to help them and then today it hit me . . . I know we are all busy people, but I would like to make a simple but heartfelt request . . . send Hercules and/or his girl Kylie (who is now 5) a card or a note before he goes.  Wish Hercules the best, send hugs, send notes of gratitude for allowing us to see what dedication and love is all about. Tell Hercules how brave he is to have fought cancer for 5 years.  Tell Kylie and Leslie how you admire that they have cared for him so well these five years while Hercules had numerous treatments to keep his cancer at bay.

I have tried to remember all of the people that Hercules has touched in his life, but I’m sure there are so many more.  Feel free to share this message with anyone you know, that might know Hercules or be interested in his story.  Tell everyone about him and spread his story far and wide.  He’s a good dog and good pit bull and he’s leaving a big ‘ole pawprint on my heart and the hearts of many.

I have also posted this on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lspetportraits

Please send cards and love to:

Hercules c/o FOCHP
26423 Scott Rd.
Menifee CA 92584

Thank you so very much for caring about the breed we love.

Lisa

P.S.   If you haven’t already read it, Roni Raczkowski wrote a wonderful article about Hercules and it was published on the Best Friends site and went viral a couple of years ago.  http://bestfriends.org/News-And-Features/News/Are-You-There,-God–It-s-Me,-Hercules/

P.S.S.  For those of you who do not know, a portrait from 2012 of Kylie and Hercules are featured as the month of July in the Unexpected Pit Bull calendar http://theunexpectedpitbull.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=50

 

 

One of the first portraits of Hercules and his girl Kylie (Summer of 2010). This image is up on display in several Orange County location, has traveled all over the internet, and has been seen by thousands of people.

Here are some shots from the session we did last summer. Some of these images are featured in the Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar 2013.

This portrait was shot on April 24th. Hercules still seemed to be feeling OK but he was a bit slower and got tired a bit quicker. He still enjoyed being with his girl and I got more than a few kisses from him.

When I was done shooting I handed Leslie the camera and asked her to take a photo of me and Herc. I am so glad I did. Thanks Leslie for everything.

I am always intrigued by how one thing leads you down a path to another and how creativity connects things and people and events in your life . . . My daughter got the part of Dorothy in the school play. A pretty big deal to any mom and especially me :) So as soon as we got her costume, I sent out a message to my friends and fam letting them know that I needed a “Toto” to model for a photo session. Because what self respecting animal nut like me would do a portrait of Dorothy without a good Toto as a sidekick ?! One of my good friends, Cindy Scott of Dogs, Etc. has a dog named Bosley and he is always up for attention.
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Sophia and Bosley :) He is right at home in my studio and the lap of pretty much anyone :)
Then when I looked at the site of one of my favorite local rescues, FOCHP, I saw a puppy who was practically a dead ringer for Toto! They were calling him Scrappy. I called and asked if I could borrow Scrappy for a couple days. Since Scrappy was small (about 12 lbs) and part Cairn Terrier (which was the breed of the real Toto) I thought he’d be a good fit with Sophia my daughter.
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Sophia and Scrappy/Toto in the shot I liked best. I made this into a poster for her.

Scrappy is now called Toto by the folks at FOCHP. Toto/Scrappy is a phenomenal dog. He is a 4-6 month old puppy and he is good with dogs, cats, kids and everyone!! Unbelievably he has been with FOCHP for a little over a week and has not been adopted yet. Anybody want a perfect little dog (red shoes not included) If you are interested in adopting him contact FOCHP.org. Since Scrappy/Toto is a rescue dog “looking to find his way home” I took some photos of him by himself so that FOCHP could use them to get him adopted.
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And then I thought, hey, this image would make a great promotional ad for “Adoptions” and so it is. If you are a magazine or other form of media that would like to use this ad as a PSA to promote pet adoption please contact me at info@lisascarsi.com.
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So what have I learned . . . sometimes it is good to start at the beginning and just follow the yellow brick road.

Looking for Love . . .

January 20, 2012

All the pets in this video are looking for homes. They are being fostered by the good folks at Friends of Orange County’s Homeless Pets (FOHCP) but they sure would like “fur”ever homes. If your home is full, would be kind enough to share this video far and wide so that these babies will find families to love for “always”.

I’ve been working on calendars this year and the first one is called Furry Faces. This calendar contains a whole year of adorable furry faces that I photographed pro bono to help get these pets homes!! It is a CD Jewel Case calendar (5″x 5.5″) so it will fit nicely on a desktop or counter and the images/pages sit in the CD case holder. The first edition of this calendar was printed as a fundraiser for FOCHP (Friends of Orange County’s Homeless Pets). I work with a few rescue groups but most of my rescue portraits are of FOCHP pets. The good news is all proceeds from the sale of this calendar will go to FOCHP to help them save even more pets next year. So buy it and get your friends to buy it (and their friends too). You’ll have cute Furry Faces to look at all year (to be specific . . . over 20 pups and 2 kittens). You can feel good about helping to get more rescue pets good homes. AND there is no reason to feel sorry for the pets in the calendar because due to the incredible efforts of the amazing rescue volunteers at FOCHP  most of these furry faces are now  living in a loving home (I think everyone but the last bumper crop of kittens has a home.)   How’s that for a warm fuzzy?!   If you are interested in adopting a pet go to your local rescue or shelter! There are tons of furry faces who would love to meet you!!  Next year,  I would love to expand the distribution of the Furry Faces calendar to help as many rescue groups and shelters as possible.  We could also use some local businesses to sponsor the printing of more calendars so that even more funds can be raised!! If you are with a local Southern California business and would like to help sponsor the calendar’s printing cost please contact me!! (my personal piggy bank is running low :)

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I often say dogs lead me to the nicest people and so often this is true. Hercules is one of those dogs. Herc has a very interesting story to tell. I’m not a great storyteller, but I will try. In June of last year I got a call from his mom Leslie. She called me to set up a portrait session for Hercules, her 5 year old pit bull and his best buddy Kylie, her 2 year old daughter. Herc had cancer and probably didn’t have long to live. Leslie wanted photos of the two of them together so that Kylie would have some way of remembering their special bond. I was so saddened to hear about Herc’s condition and sadder to think that he would soon leave a little girl heartbroken. Herc had already lost a leg to cancer so we scheduled the session right away. We did the session and the images got some media attention. My favorite is an article that was published on the Best Friends site, written by Roni Raczkowski. You can read all about how Herc came to his home with Leslie and Kylie. It is an interesting tale about the power of love.

Our meeting spawned a little arrangement whereby I photograph pets for FOCHP pro bono and the images help the pets to get adopted quicker. The FOCHP folks are wonderful and I love being able to help in some small “photographical” way. You could say Hercules led me to FOCHP and led me to do more work for rescues. Well, to the surprise and extreme delight of us all, Hercules is still with us!!! He is doing very well and the cancer is in remission. At least for now, he gets to enjoy his family and the wonderful life that Leslie has given him. I get to see Herc sometimes at adoption events and/or photo sessions for FOCHP fosters and I have vowed to photograph him and Kylie every year that he is with us. It’s the least I can do for a dog, a breed, and a family who has inspired me so.

From the session one year ago
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Hercules and Kylie Today
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Kitten-palooza

July 13, 2011

There were eight of them and only four of us. We were outnumbered. They did not care to listen to any direction. They did not want to pose. They were there to perform and get paid handsomely for their talents. They were in control and boy were they cute!!

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Thanks to my kitten wranglers Karen, Angelo and Sophia. Thanks to FOCHP for caring enough to save these guys and find them homes.