Alone but not Broken

With her tail between her legs she scurried towards the nearest shelter she could find. Petrified by the loud thump of a soccer ball I found her curled up behind the trees outlining our complex. Immediately she put her head on the cold, hard ground signaling that she did not want to fight. With a soothing tone in my voice I carefully I inched closer. She did not flee, as I had expected, but lay rather motionless. Her eyes, reddened with fatigue, traced my every step.

I reached down to gently stroke her ears. With a subtle twitch, I could sense her fear; for she was uncertain if pain was to soon follow.

“It will be okay,” I promised, trusting she could feel my sincerity.

With the slightest touch, I caressed the dirt infused fur on her head. The outline of her skeleton poked visibly through her thin, matted coat.

As secretively as I could, I snuck away and grabbed two slices of bread from our hotel cafeteria to offer to her. Despite heavy persistence, she would not eat. Eventually I left her alone in hope that the bread would be missing upon my return.

To my relief, it was.

Voices grew quieter as the complex began to empty. I once again continued to guide my hand along her spine in harmonious repetition. I do not know how long I sat there, but it felt like hours. Eventually she closed her eyes and rested her cheek against my thigh.

My new friend and I did not know each other until tonight, but my heart already resonated with unfathomable adoration. I could tell this dog had been through a lot, quite frankly more than I could ever possibly imagine. She was shy, lost, and fearful of the world around her—but she had not given up.

The sky grew darker and I watched as passerbys turned their heads with perplexity; uncertain as to why I was sitting next to this vagrant creature.

I could not help but wonder why it is that our eyes are so easily drawn to the dogs who are groomed, well fed, and spoiled with attention. Yet we turn our cheeks at the ones riffling for scraps, stained from their dirt mattresses, and masked with fear from all the suffering they’ve endured.

So often I get asked, "why do you love animals so much—all animals? "

My response: We will all face different trials in life, some harder than others; but just because you do not have a home, a family, or life figured out does not necessarily mean that you are broken.


#photography #Kazakhstan #Alongtheway #Shymkent #Photojournalism #dog #Homelessanimals