I Document A Beautiful Friendship Between My Daughter, Raven, And Our Dog, Jack (17 Pics)
The day I brought Raven home from the hospital, swaddled with a fresh, baby smell, Jack, our adorable dog, was instantly in love. Just as he had never once left my side during pregnancy, he continued to be wherever she was. During nursing sessions, Jack would hop up onto the couch or the bed and curl up near her tiny feet. As she grew and had floor time as an infant, Jack would roll over onto his back beside her, with his tummy in the air like a true friend that he is.
To put it simply, wherever Raven was, Jack was there too. As a photographer, I take beautiful pictures of my daughter often, and for posed shots, Jack would repeatedly pop into the scene. What started as frustration ended up being endearing, and we decided to embrace these photo ideas fully. Thus began a new photo series called "The Story of Raven and Jack."
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Jack is the best kind of companion. He rides in wagons and tricycle baskets and runs beside her down the sidewalk, on forest trails, and along the beach. Adorning bonnets and sweaters, he patiently sits at tea parties, anxiously awaiting snacks and teacups of water. His favorite time to be near her though is right below her feet during mealtime. At night, like a real friend he hops up onto the foot of her bed and sleeps beside her.
Jack And Raven: Tea Party With Jojo
Our family always says that Jack chose us. When we visited the animal shelter to have some quality time with the dogs, Jack faked a broken leg so that we would pick him up and carry him like a baby for his walk. At that moment, I knew there was something special about Jack. When we put him back onto the concrete floor and closed the gate, the sadness in his eyes made me feel like I couldn't leave him there, that he belonged with us. As I was up at the front desk with two of my boys to inquire about Jack, two workers from the shelter came running in.
Jack And Raven: Robots
Jack had apparently pounded on the gate with his tiny body and managed to escape in a desperate attempt to find us. We ran to the row of cages to see Jack dodging workers like a miniature football player, headed for the touchdown. After that, how could we not bring him home?
Jack has been an unexpected gift for our family. He is loyal and gentle and fiercely protective. He is my baby, my daughter's best friend, and an important part of our family. And... as he insists, he will continue to be a part of our photo stories as well.
Now that I think about it, the boulders and chains of societal expectations of how we must behave or feel were released and comfort was found in the simple magic that our home provided for us. Priorities in life shifted and we became increasingly grateful for the things we had instead of carrying the pressure of wanting more, doing more.
Jack And Raven: The Ukelele
Jack And Raven: Two Straws
Although seasons and weather changed and fluctuated outside of our home, it was the quiet solitude among the familiar walls that offered the most comfort and made us feel more whole. I was forced to ask myself in a time of crisis, how I wanted us to live, how I wanted us to change. As we would return from our escapes back into the hustle and bustle of tall buildings and poured concrete, to blaring horns and the clicking of heels that carried expensive handbags, we watched the stark contrast of people and how they interacted with the world outside of our home.
Jack And Raven: Ballet With Jojo
Jack And Raven: Baby
We watched the superficial competitions and efforts to build things taller and bigger, to leave one’s mark on the world, and to find fulfillment. Yet I was finally able to identify the ironic emptiness that may leave one. I learned that to leave a mark, it is in the connections we create with others. We still need each other, but we must find a balance and we must recognize all the gifts and opportunities that the world has already presented us with.