The virtual world is a funny, often inane, but sometimes magical place.
My love of dogs is well-documented.
I am the proud companion to a Harlequin Great Dane and a German Shepherd—so it’s not surprising that I belong to endless “groups” and “pages” which focus on everything canine.
In these little corners of the ethereal world I have run across some very special people doing important work. Some are helping to save animals from being euthanized and re-homing them, some serve as foster families for the unwanted, some simply set an example of what pet stewardship should be by training and treating their animals correctly—no small task.
Every now and then I fall in love with a pet owner and their pet, though I’ve never actually met them (Hiccup and Kristi Flint, Redford and Waylon Lewis, Mystery and Damon Breeland and countless others… I’m talking to you.) Through images and words posted, it’s easy to see the love they share is palpable, and I adore standing in it’s reflection, an anonymous admirer.
Of all the beautiful images and love stories I have the luck to watch unfold though, the most striking are those of Spike and Princess and their companion, Jorge Vega. I recently privately messaged Jorge after he put up yet another astonishing photo of his Danes—I had to know more about him, his photography, and his animals.
What I discovered was very moving.
I assumed Jorge was a professional photographer—not surprising based on the quality of his photos—but that is not the case.
His father, however, was.
Jorge’s dad, Carlos Vega, known affectionately as Carlucho, was a renowned photographer in their home country of Cuba. According to Luis, he was prolific and well loved, and also happened to be a devoted yogi with an Om symbol tattoo’ed on his shoulder—which, according to my calculations, must have been done long before every aspiring yogi and their first and second cousins (including me) had their Om symbols inked discreetly on their ankles or the backs of their necks. Meaning, he was an independent thinker and likely a spiritualist.
Jorge and his father were quite close, though Carlucho remained in Cuba and Jorge made his way to Miami. They shared the same outlook on life, similar passions, and bore a striking resemblance to one another.
When Carlucho was 73, he visited Jorge in Miami. It would be the last time they ever saw one another. When he returned to Cuba, he was hit and killed by a car on Valentine’s Day, his 74th birthday.
When he died, he left Jorge a special gift—his old camera, a Nikon D300. As Jorge says, he never even had a decent camera before. Armed with this unique hand-me-down, he started taking pictures—but not ordinary ones. These images are saturated with color and light, capturing fleeting moments of joy and beauty. They speak to me as a dog lover, yes, but also on a deeper level.
Jorge was surprised by my interest in his work, unaware of the powerful impact it had on me and I assume, on many others. I humbly share it now with you, and feel certain that it will, at the very least, bring you a moment of delight in an otherwise ordinary day.
To see more Spike and Princess photos, follow them on Facebook.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photos: via the author and used with permission