Its rare for me to say that I regret something. Saying I regret something means swallowing my pride and admitting that I fucked up. But last night as I listened to a very sad story I almost immediately felt regret set in and it broke my heart.
Years ago when I lived on my own on South Beach I met this guy and his incredible dog. Long before I walked up to say hi I admired their bond. The dog alone was eye catching, I refered to him as a tiny mini pitt, later I learned that the smaller size was actually standard in other countries. They would go everywhere together, the dog was never leashed; it was pretty cool to see considering there are millions of distractions for a dog to wander away to on the beach, but not Raven (the dog). You never heard the man yelling out commands but there was an undeniable communication between the two at all times. Sometimes after work I would come downstairs to begin my walk home and see this guy (I dont know his name) and Raven playing ball together. One day I stopped, we talked for a while about our love for our dogs and how he managed to train his dog so well. He explained that the dog would just do what he asked, he was that one special dog. At the time I was just starting to do dog photography professionally and we spoke about doing pictures “one day”, but it never happened.
Last night Jimmy and I decided to go for a stroll in our old hood and get some drinks on Lincoln Rd. To my surprise I saw this guy sitting in the same spot I always saw him in without Raven. The story gets sad here. Raven passed away on September 4 after being sick for 3 months. I can tell you I have never seen someone so heartbroken and I totally understood why. I cried through his whole story. We hugged twice before I left. I have never hugged him, he was a loner, just him and his special dog.I told him Raven was lucky to have had him and he said “ I needed that dog more than he needed me”. As I said goodbye he told me that he was scared to forget all the great things he loved about Raven and I reassured him the that memory would never leave him. He spoke about the wet kisses that Raven gave him and I cried again. Maui gives me wet kisses, I’m not sure I cant live without my Mauis wet kisses. He told me to give her an extra long kiss when I got home for him. A dogs life is just too short. I never photographed them together. I had the chance for 3 years and I never did it, there was always an excuse.
I knew the second I walked away that I would take a picture with Maui today. I would put aside my “I’m not looking my best” thoughts and just take a picture with my girl. Maui is 10 years old, the same age that Raven was when he passed. She is here now and I cant imagine life without her.
I strongly regret not photographing this incredible duo years ago when I had my chance but I have learned my lesson and I vow not to make this mistake again. I should have known better. Let my mistake remind you to cherish the moments with your dogs and take a picture with them today, no excuses = no regret.
all images taken by Jimmy Lebron.