Over the course of three years, we have photographed countless dogs, puppies, kittens and cats, but this past week we experienced a first.
Ian Desmond, shortstop for the Washington Nationals, joined us with his rescue pibble, Bailey. Ian’s sister found Bailey dumped on a back road in Florida – emaciated, sick and covered with mange. The family nursed him back to health and for the past six years, Bailey’s been Ian’s heart and soul.
When Bailey first came into the room, he greeted everyone with a wiggly butt and a lot of tail wagging. However, once in front of the camera, the sounds and flashes of light terrified him to such an extent that he ran to a corner and curled up trembling. We all waited with bated breath.
No Bailey meant no shoot.
Ian tried to comfort and coax him out with treats, but Bailey continued to shake. We suggested a Plan B – let’s try using a different lens that won’t require the lights to automatically flash in between each shot. Once again Ian picked up Bailey, held him in his arms and returned to the set. And once again, Bailey shivered in fear.
That’s when Ian Desmond went from being a Big Softie to a hero in our eyes.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t do this” he said, ” I can’t bear to see my dog looking so scared.”
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t devastated at the thought of losing Ian and Bailey, but we were so touched by his very real concern for his pup – it made the decision an easy one. We gave Bailey a pass and were prepared to call it a day until Ian happened to mention in an offhand comment that Bailey had a little Chihuahua sister at home.
Well, hello Archie.
For those who don’t know, Archie is our four-legged assistant photographer and goes everywhere with his photographer dad, Leo Howard Lubow. (In fact, Archie got his leg up in life through the Show Your Soft Side campaign. Found dumped outside a Baltimore City 7/11 a few years back, he was introduced to Leo by BARCS and the rest is history.) Although Archie usually stays behind the camera, this past week he became an official Washington Nationals pinch hitter and performed like a champ in Ian Desmond’s arms.
Bottom line, Washington fans have a lot of reasons to be proud. They’ve got a hometown team that regularly puts on “Pups in the Park” nights to benefit the Washington Human Society. They’ve got a class act player like Nate McLouth who not only expanded his own four-legged family, but was the catalyst for the Nats participating in SYSS. (And let’s not forget, while in Baltimore, Nate and Lindsay spent their free time volunteering at BARCS.) And they’ve got Ian Desmond – a guy who knows his priorities and puts his responsibility to his four-legged family first. GO NATS!