Yesterday I experienced enough in a 15 minute span to keep me thinking deeply for half of a year. For the sake of your minds and hearts I will speak only to one thing because I feel most comfortable with it and I am not quite finished processing the other events.
I am the kind of person who believes that a lot of what happens in our lives happens for a reason and those things that happen make us ourselves. Yesterday was one of those moments for me. Let me explain...
I drove to Detroit Friday morning to help a dear friend of mine renovate the Manilla Bay Cafe which is in the 4731 Gallery on Grand River. (I do a lot of work there) He was running a little behind schedule, which is fine with me I can get lost in the city taking pictures. When I photograph Detroit I like to enter a lot of abandoned buildings to see the silence, feel the past energies, and imagine what the place was like at its busiest. So driving down Grand River I get this urge to stop at a building I have photographed the outside of before so I turn down a side street and drive up a back ally way to safely park my car.
Looking up at the sky with hardly a cloud in sight, I know this is going to be a pretty good shooting day. I grabbed my camera from the passenger seat and when I do I realize that to my surprise one of the boards on the building I want to shoot has been removed leaving the inside exposed! This is a part that I will not go in depth with yet but shoot some pictures of the inside of those building and move on to the next.
Feeling a little anxious and thrown off I almost got in my car and drove off but for some reason I moved to the building next to the first to see if I could enter that one too. The chances were pretty slim, but I found a window that was not very big and deciding I could squeeze myself through it because there was a car hood right inside I could land on, put myself inside the building.
From on top of the hood I start to orient myself with the place, to my right part of the roof is missing so there is a bright beam of light trying to illuminate the whole space. a little forward of the hole in the roof there are two cars torn apart, dusty, and broken, at the front of the building there are two rooms one in each corner with a garage door in the middle with yet another car in between, same condition as the first two. The left side of the building I don't recall much of because of the lack of light and that is when I noticed I was being watched.
Our eyes locked and I froze in my place. Keeping myself calm and speaking in a soft voice I tried to understand the intentions of what I soon realized was a very hungry dog. After speaking it hopped right out of the car to the filthy ground and with energy that could't have existed it put its front paws on the hood trying to get me down. Understanding that it was no harm to me I greeted it with love, thinking to myself 'Shit, I don't have any food!' it greeted me with the same love as I quickly tried to snap shots of the building a squeezed into.
The dog followed me around while I explored, trying to lick my face every time I kneeled down to take a photograph while wondering how the hell it had gotten into this place if it was so difficult for me to. I came to the realization that taking pictures was not on my priority any more but the health of this dog was at risk and I needed to save her. I took one last shot of the car it was living in with the window just above the hood of the car then put my camera away. I called to the dog, it came right to me. I looked it over discovering that it was a girl and that just about every bone in her body was visible through her skin covered in fur. my heart sank. Such a sweet dog, how could any one let this happen to her?
'Let's get you out of here okay girl?' she looked at me and I moved to the only exit I knew... the small window I crawled through. I climbed onto the hood of the car calling to her, 'Come on girl, come up here' She simply couldn't make the jump.
'I will have to pick her up' I thought, 'but what if she isn't so sweet when I try to do that?'
I couldn't let myself over think it. I kneeled down, told her to come to me and picked her up then placed her on the dusty old hood of the car. I told her to stay but she looked at me funny because her feet felt squirrelly on the slippery hood of the car. I too climbed up and picking her up again awkwardly tried to put her out the window without breaking any part of her frail body. I struggled for a minute and finally 'PLOP' she was out the window.
I prayed she would stay as I forced myself out as fast as I could. To my surprise she stayed like a good girl I told her. We walked back to my car as she sniffed anything she could in the area without leaving my side. Walking up to my car, I knew she would hop in because for how ever long she was in the building her home was a car and those had to be a safe space for her.
Looking to the floor for food she sniffed around for something to eat. While she was distracted I found a bag of old chips to feed her. Being as starved as she was I didn't want to feed her too much too quickly or she would get sick so I put a couple on the ground and she practically in hailed them as I closed her door and climbed into the drivers seat. I called My buddy from the gallery to explain what happened and ask if she was okay to come inside while we worked. Arriving at the gallery with the thumbs up to bring her inside I was greeted at the door by his father and uncle who had been working since early that morning. They were both glad to see the dog was in good spirits but in their eyes was a great sadness for the condition of her health.
I explained what had happened not ten minutes before, how I found her and talked about possible plans for her future. As the day progressed with her in the cafe her well mannered attitude and openness to every one she met rubbed off on every one, she wasn't aggressive when I fed her dog food, she was eating, drinking water, her nose was still wet, she has solid stool, her face was adorable, and she was just all around well tempered my buddies uncle, Steve, started to fall for her spark. I knew I couldn't take her home with me but would have if I could so Steve asked if I was okay with him taking her home explaining how he once had dogs, has a 2 acre piece of property for her to play on and was willing to take her to the vet to check her health.
Delighted that I had saved her life and found her a new loving home my heart filled with warmth but at the same time sadness that she wouldn't be mine, I was honored to know she was going some place the life she had before would never happen again. In about a month or so she should be back to normal size for her breed, Rottweiler, and her age, about a year or a year and a half. We named her Manilla after the cafe and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do walking away from her to go back to Ann Arbor but I know it was for the best.
There are many ways that I have processed what happened yesterday and there are still many thoughts flooding my head about it but this I know for sure... Some how, Manilla and I came together yesterday. I was meant to save her from that building. There is no way of knowing how much longer she had to live or how or why she was trapped in that building but she and I had a connection.
These are the small moments that allow us to grow and test our strength in life but what gets me is this kind of thing is happening all the time not just in Detroit but all over the world. What we do has an effect on things and that is a perspective that as humans we need to be aware of. Follow what your heart and body are telling you. Who knows what you might find and how that might impact you. Living or not our interactions through life have something to offer us. Big or small, Everyone and everything in the world is connected in some way, dog or human, a life is a life that deserves to be celebrated.
This is me cutting my thoughts short but I could add so many other thoughts and ideas. With time I will post more on them. Steve, who kindly adopted Manilla into his life, has agreed to keep my updated on her health so with processing thoughts I will update you with photos of her too! The next set of photos will be a series from inside the building and Manilla in her original health but for now here is my photo of the day.
Manilla is in the right side of the picture with her front two paws on the hood of the car which is where I believe she was living and keeping warm. Above the hood is the small window I had to get her and myself out of to safety.