When a little dog is born, life is nothing but sweet — hooked on the mother suckling all day, surrounded by its siblings, which provide warmth and a sense of safety. Eventually, sooner or later, a somehow traumatic separation with its mom and the litter will happen — and each little pup will end up in a different home, given away as a gift, on sale and bought, or rescued and adopted.
It is here in these very first days where the novelty of welcoming a new pet home and the inescapable pull of a tiny pup’s beauty and sweetness will lead the new masters to fill the animals with love, hugs, kisses and cuddles.
The pups, with curious eyes and certain shyness, will learn how to navigate slowly the landscape of their new home.
And when they look at you — the master who cares for them, protects, feeds and loves them — they learn YOU are now their family and their life. And as such, they’ll welcome you with a festive hello of jumps, licks and happy barks every time you come back home after a day out. And even when you may scold or punish them for any mischief they may have committed, they’ll never stop loving you and stand by your side.
In return, they’ll somehow expect you to correspond and get back to theirs. When you leave the house and they’re left behind, despite the sadness many dogs feel for being left alone, the fact remains they still feel at home, with the corners they know, the scents that are familiar, and that may help them feel reassured that you may be back soon and normalcy shall return.
But what happens on those other times where you take your dog on a walk, and they trot happily in front of you with a loosened leash… only to find themselves suddenly tied up to a tree, a street light or a metallic fence, while you leave them for a while and enter a store to do some shopping or a cafe to have a drink, out of sight from the animal for a little while?
From the observation in the months I’ve been quietly working in this series of images, I’d venture to state that a majority of dogs — when separated from their masters and left alone on the streets for even ten minutes — somehow experience a déjà vu.
They go back to that traumatic separation that began their lives, fearing perhaps they’ve been abandoned, while finding themselves unable to move from the tight reach of the leash where they’ve been left, alone, and surrounded by strangers passing by and looking at them or even trying to pet them.
Every time I encounter one of them in such situation, and I look into those tiny eyes, which seem to be asking “Why am I being left here?,” I often feel like untying the knot and taking them home with me to spoil them with cuddles and pet them! It’s THAT heartbreaking.
Nevertheless, most of those times, I’m also lucky to witness the absolute joy in the moment when the masters exit from wherever they may have been, and the subsequent ecstatic joy of the dogs jumping up and down, happy again.
The smile such a cute moment brings leaves me more and more convinced each time that most pets in general (and dogs in particular) are naturally programmed to love.
And we can only hope we’ll be able to correspond that as they deserve.