Posts Tagged ‘Hercules’

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 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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