A few years ago, I shot an assignment for the Ojai Valley News Visitor’s Guide, which I lovingly called, “For the Love of Dogs.” It was a series of dog photos showcasing how friendly the Ojai Valley is for families and their beloved pets. Anyone who knows me also knows that I am a die-hard animal lover, so when I was in Chile last year, I decided to shoot some more dog photography.
Chileans LOVE their dogs. Dogs are everywhere in Chile: in people’s homes, in the streets, in the fields, outside restaurants, etc. ProAnimal Chile is trying to help by introducing new policies for spay and neuter programs, education, feeding, etc. However, much more needs to be done, especially on Easter Island. Located miles away from the Chilean shores, Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, has a heavy dog population. The problem is, there are few resources to help the dogs. A local veterinarian in Hanga Roa does his best to to provide medical care to the indigenous people of Rapa Nui who can’t afford to vet care for their pets. However, the need is still immense. There are so many starving dogs there. I wanted to help them all!
While there, I fell in love with a little German Shepard puppy whom I named Cora, short for Corazon or Heart in Spanish. She came to me about two months old, abused, starving, covered in fleas and with an extended belly, probably filled with worms. I took her to the vet and gave her the best care I could for the short time I was there and I eventually found a loving grandmother to take her into her home to care for her. She wiggled her way into my heart and remains anchored steadfastly there. Unfortunately, I did not have the personal money, resources or time to go through the intricate process to take Cora home with me. I cried on the plane the entire way back to Santiago.
It remains my dream to find Cora and one day be reunited with her, as well as to fund a no-kill shelter in Hanga Roa. These photographs I dedicate to Cora, whom I love with all my heart and soul. And to all the homeless dogs of the world everywhere.