In 2010 and 2011, I featured a story about the most amazing duo I've come across - a sweet little girl, Kylie and her beloved pit bull, Hercules. Those posts will forever be my favorite story that I will share on this blog. If you have not had the pleasure of reading them, they are here: first one, second one. Tonight, I read some news that I have been dreading ever since I first discovered this sweet pair. You see, Hercules has been battling cancer for five years. He has been holding on for so long, even after losing a leg, but he does not have much fight left in him. Hercules has touched hearts all over and he will never be forgotten. Here is the post from the photographer who introduced the world to a beautiful girl and her dog and the astounding bond between them.
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.
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