World AIDS Day Photo Project: When Dogs Heal

A World AIDS Day photo project titled When Dogs Heal launches this week in Chicago and New York City. Watch below as the Associated Press explains. The exhibit opens tomorrow at Chicago’s FLATS Studio and on Thursday at NYC’s LGBT Community Center.

  • bpuharic

    A wonderful idea. Heartbreaking…I’m putting my baby boy to sleep tomorrow. Dogs are an amazing species. We are so fortunate to have them in our lives

    • hdtex

      I am so very sorry…..I have two very elderly dogs, one with canine dementia so I feel your pain.

      • bpuharic

        Yes, I wish he’d lived that long. 10 years old and strong until the end. So tragic. Good luck with your babies.

    • Wynter Marie Starr

      I’m so sorry. Having been there several times all I can say is give yourself time to grieve.

      • bpuharic

        Thank you. It was so unexpected….

        • Wynter Marie Starr

          Even when it’s expected, it’s painful. And then you have to deal with people who don’t get your grief or understand that our dogs are members of the family. I have three dogs, and I still find myself occasionally crying over a dog I had to put down about 12 years ago. I miss her to this day.

          • bpuharic

            I admit I never understood it until I got dogs. They’re astonishing. They’re an oasis of love in a chaotic universe.

    • MDB

      Bless you…I have had to return my 3 Lhasas to the Universe, each after
      long lives. Our dogs have loved us unconditionally when others couldn’t
      or wouldn’t……i miss my boys dearly.
      [[[[[[HUGS]]]]]]

      • bpuharic

        The capacity of dogs to express love is dazzling. And painful.

        • Joe knows who I am.

          Not just love, unerring, unquestioned loyalty. My partner’s dog AJ brought me back to love. and to life. I’ll never be without a dog as a companion for the rest of my days.

          • bpuharic

            I never had a dog until I got these 2 as puppies. I was swept away by their loyalty and love.

          • Joe knows who I am.

            How can you not love a dog with an under-bite? 🙂

          • MM213

            sweet!

    • Bj Lincoln

      I am so sorry to hear that. It is the hardest thing to do. I had to put my best buddy, Barney, to sleep after 22 years. It was the best thing for him. It is the humane thing to do. Keep that in mind when you say good-bye. Go ahead and grieve. Crying is good for the soul. Life will go on. Give it time.

      • bpuharic

        22 years! That’s a blessing. Yes, the crying seems non stop….

    • douglas

      Condolences my friend. I had to say goodbye to my girl in 2008. It was the hardest thing I ever did. I held her until her last breath. I’m not ashamed to say I still cry when I think of her. She saved my life when I was diagnosed. My heart breaks for you. It is my belief that we will reunite with our beloved pets someday. I hope that will help get you through tomorrow. Big hugs.

      • bpuharic

        I know. Even thinking about the final ride tomorrow is, paradoxically, unthinkable. He is such a daddy’s boy. I miss him already

    • oikos

      So sorry.

    • bkmn

      Sorry to hear about having to put your friend to sleep. It is always one of the hardest things to do.

    • NMNative

      You have my deepest sympathy. It’s so hard to say goodbye, but, we know when it’s the best thing to do.

      • bpuharic

        Yes….to keep him would be selfish. And I will be lost without him

        • NMNative

          It takes time. It took me a year to get ready to bring another little one into the house after we had to make that oh so tough decision for our 21 year old cat.
          Now we have Oscar the Grouch and Miss Kitty, aka Amanda Blake, to brighten our days. 9 and 10 years old, when adopted, we won’t get to have them as long as we had our beloved Lilly, but, we will cherish our time together, however long it will be. And, when it comes to that sad time again, we’ll cry, we’ll grieve and we’ll, after a time, save another. It’s what we do.
          And, if you don’t mind, may I add to all you JMG readers: Adopt a shelter pet, spay and neuter the ones you currently have and support no kill rescues groups in your community.

    • billbear1961

      I’m so sorry!

    • TheManicMechanic

      I’m so sorry. It’s an awful thing to have to do, having been through it a few times. Not long ago a friend of mine had to do the terrible deed, and he was sure he would never replace his beloved pup with another. I kept telling him you never can replace a pet that has died, but instead you allow another the chance to do what they do best, the chance to bond and love their companions. Unconditional love actually has a price, and that is the all-to-brief life they have with us. Yes it’s heartbreaking, but there are countless thousands of unwanted dogs out there begging for a chance at family life. Why deny them, or yourself, something so precious?

    • Phillip in L.A.

      I feel for you; my condolences

      Bawled like a baby when I had to send my first on her way to the Rainbow Bridge

    • JCF

      {{{bpuharic and your pack}}}

  • Ninja0980

    Dogs are truly man’s best friend.

  • douglas

    I know firsthand what a dog’s love can do to help someone living with HIV. I was diagnosed in 1998 after I ended an abusive 7 year relationship. I felt very alone. I felt unwanted. I felt dirty. I felt like ending it all. Enter my sweet Coco who lifted my spirits every time I walked through that door. She always did her welcome home daddy dance. We cuddled for hours. Every glance her way triggered a frantic tail wagging. She saved my life. Today I am happily married to a wonderful man. We are both very healthy and we bought a puppy together and named her Coco. She is a carbon copy of the angel who saved me and who crossed over that rainbow bridge 10 years after my diagnosis. I only wish I could have done for her what she did for me. I would not be here today had it not been for her.

    • bpuharic

      We can never do as much for dogs as they do for us.

      • David Walker

        Perhaps. But they know something’s going on. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the picture accompanying this was the dog saying, “It’s what I do.” We may feel we haven’t done all we could, but I think they would protest that. My heart is with you. Know you’re doing the right thing for your friend.

        • Prixator

          My sweetie – gone 11 years now – always knew when I was especially down. She would come to where I was sitting and put her head in my lap or try to climb into it (she wasn’t really a lap dog and, at other times, she would only get into my lap when I signaled her to). And it always helped!

    • zhera

      Sounds to me like you were good to her. 🙂

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Thanks for the interesting, heartfelt, thoughtful & well-written post!

      Without dogs, this world would be totally unlivable for me. . . .

  • tcinsf

    Loki approves

    • billbear1961

      That’s who that is in your avatar, tcinsf?

      🙂

      • tcinsf

        Yup.

  • TuuxKabin

    A man arrives at the Pearly Gates. He is greeted by St. Peter and a good sized ‘mutt’ obviously happy to see him, tail wagging, happy dancing.

    St. Peter says to the man: “you must be Bobby I’ve been hearing about all these years!”

    I’ve always felt I could never give back the amount of love my dogs have given me. But I sure tried.

  • delk

    Me and my dog Gav are in the exhibit! I’ll post the pic later, I’m on my phone right now.

  • OMG

    Yay! Just the sort of over-the-top saccharine sweet drivel that the JMG readers LOVE!

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Oh look, a bitter queen has decided to grace us with her putrid, pedantic and petulant presence. Hurry up, someone go find a hammer so we can crown her.

    • billbear1961

      idiot

    • bzrd

      You got it, OMG, love, love, love. JMG readers are full of love and so are their pets, some so much they have sweet drivel coming from their mouths as the romp and play with joy.

    • pch1013

      Obviously a cat person. *ducking*

      • JCF

        No, a catty person. Not the same thing. [But also, a bitch!]

    • SLK in SF

      What a vile thing to say about a genuinely good story.

      • billbear1961

        There are lots of twisted people out there who love to try to cause pain.

  • David

    These are wonderful.

    What have we ever done to deserve dogs.

  • billbear1961
    • yetanotherLaura

      You bring back so many lovely memories for me, Billbear. In my younger, mediocre violin-playing days, I played this as well as a number of other pieces you’ve posted here. Thanks for the happy trip down memory lane.

      • billbear1961

        My pleasure, Laura!

        (I will remember this about you!)

        • yetanotherLaura

          The one I always REALLY wanted to play was the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. Alas, I could barely even follow along with the violin part while listening to it — to say it was beyond my abilities is putting it mildly!

          And to return to the topic, even though I’m not HIV positive, my avatar, too, is my beloved idiot golden retriever Rusty, who had to be put to sleep six years ago. I still miss him every day! We’ve had other dogs, but none of them NEEDED me the way Rusty did. Poor baby, he had the worst anxiety I’ve ever seen in a dog; we had to spend 24/7 together if there was even the slightest chance of any storms blowing up. And since we lived in New Orleans, that meant 10 months out of the year at a minimum.

          He saved my sanity on many occasions, too; the pure love in a dog’s eyes is truly unlike anything else, isn’t it? I grew up with cats, so I was completely unprepared for just how much a dog can own your heart. They’re not just pets; they have a healing quality that means so much to people in a million different situations. When my father was dying, petting a visiting dog would put a smile on his face when almost nothing else would. Children can open up with dogs because they’re such uncritical, loving listeners. We’re going to be adopting a new furry family member soon (hopefully saving one from a kill shelter), and I can hardly wait!

          • billbear1961

            I still dream that our dog, when we were kids, my sisters and I, has run off down the street and I can’t find him (or that I have to take him out for his walk).

            Then, I find him and all is well.

            Then I wake and remember he died in August 1984, age 11.

          • yetanotherLaura

            Awwww….you’re making me cry, billbear!

          • billbear1961

            I still dream about him quite a lot–I’d say a few times every couple of months–and it’s always a melancholy letdown when I remember he’s gone. (I don’t know if there’s something that triggers the dreams.)

            One of my sisters says she still dreams about him quite often, too.

          • yetanotherLaura

            That just means you’ll love him forever, if you ask me. And there’s nothing more beautiful than that!

          • billbear1961

            In a sense I think the dreams keep him alive.

  • TheManicMechanic

    I am reading this as one of my pups is sleeping in my lap, and the other one is next to me asleep on the studio sofa. Sometimes just watching them sleep like this is the most comforting feeling. Dogs are definitely empathetic, and just their company and unconditional love are incredible positives with real healing power.

  • SLK in SF

    I finally got a dog last spring after my doctor (who specializes in HIV/AIDS medicine) had been urging me to go ahead and do it for the past several years. It has made such an enormous difference in my life.

  • Jamie_Johnson

    Well thanks, folks. I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face and trying not to sob out loud as I read these touching, sweet notes of canine love.

    I lost my little Buddy just over two years ago to kidney failure, and I still cry when I think about him. He was the sweetest, most loving creature who stood by my side when I was down, cuddled when I was lonely, and brightened every day in so many ways I cannot recount them all.

    Like many of you, he got me through a very difficult time. Without him in my life, I know I would have given up. And I say this as someone lucky enough to have a devoted husband of 20+ years (who adored our Buddy as much as I did and do). There is nothing like the love of a dog. Nothing.

    Shortly after we lost him, he came to me in a dream in which he told me to honor him and our love by adopting another. You can’t replace a dog, but you can love another. We’re now proud papas of a happy, healthy and toy-loving princess who exudes joy with every breath. There are so many shelter dogs in need of a good home that there really is no excuse.

    Now you’ll have to excuse me as I blow my nose and wipe away my tears.

  • cubscoutii

    What about the cats? Mine are always there when I am not feeling well. They sense it.
    Once again cats get the shaft.

    • JCF

      Heh-heh, can’t resist: “What a beautiful fur muffler you’re wearing!” ;-p~~~

  • JCF

    La-la-la-LOVE!

  • MM213

    I’d be lost without my main man Saunders! It has been a wonderful relationship. he brought me back to life. He is also the reason I am wearing that cast. I was playing football and he ran onto the field to play and I tripped avoiding him and broke my wrist.