This story is about one of the most touching moments that have crossed my path as a shelter photographer.
After arriving in the shelter as a stray with a fractured hip, 10 year-old Willa had surgery and was recovering in a comfortable bed as an office dog while waiting for a new home. Given her age, she was expected to find a foster home where she could receive all the care she needed to heal.
One morning , Willa received people at the office with a huge (tiny) surprise. She was in her bed with this little brown puppy laying next to her. There were no signs of giving birth, and everything was clean. Plus, Willa is a senior dog and it was very unlikely that the puppy was hers. But one thing is what logic says and other thing what reality sometimes is. Willa was nursing and licking the little one. He was her baby, a miracle baby that survived all kinds of adversities while inside his mom, and now he was here to brighten her and our days. Staff decided to call him Wilson and from that moment all efforts were focused on finding a home for Willa and Wilson.
Pictures were required to promote their adoption and I offered to take them. When I arrived, Willa looked at me very suspicious and I had to seat there for a while so they got used to my presence. After some time Willa stopped staring at me and payed attention to Wilson who just moved next to her. She gave him and long bath and then snuggled so they both could take a nap. Wilson was less than a week old and his eyes were still closed. He had not seen the world as we know it, but instead he had an entire different world full of senses that made him feel loved and protected. The smell of his mom, the taste of the milk, the warmth of her body and the little bed, the baths she gave him. He did not even need to see the world to . For the first time I was not telling the dogs what to do, but instead they gave me a window to witness their world just like it is and that feeling I will never forget. I did my best to capture the intimacy of their relationship so the others could see what I was seeing and feeling.
Unfortunately, this story does not have a totally happy ending. The very next day of my visit, on August 20th, Wilson's health got fragile and pneumonia took his short life. Wilson could never see the world that his mom and we are in. But he inhabited his little, perfect world of senses and I bet he had his needs met, many of which we spend big part of our lives trying to meet.
A little bit more that a month later, I saw Willa again in an adoption event. She is flourishing in her foster home, recovering from her hip surgery, and her foster mama loves her. She would be the perfect addition to any family. When I saw her, I could not help to kiss her and tell her how I deeply feel her loss and how grateful I am with her for sharing with me her tiny, fleeting miracle.