The story behind this photo of a child and his miniature dachshund is a heartbreaking one.
Marvi Lacar, her husband Ben Lowy and their children Mateo and Kaleb, recently said goodbye to their beloved pup, Wheat.
They had been told by a vet that he was too sick to survive much longer, after an intestinal disease and the subsequent complications had left the 11-year-old dog in a horrendous amount of pain.
Wanting to remember Wheat for the strong, fun-loving, doting dog he was, Marvi, a professional photographer, decided to document his last moments.
The most heartbreaking photo, however, documented Wheat’s last moment.
The family had taken Wheat to his final veterinarian appointment in October, knowing full-well that this may be the time they were forced to say their final goodbyes.
Sadly, they were right.
7-year-old Mateo’s final goodbye was the most emotional. Pressing his head against Wheat’s, Marvi captured their final moment together. The pain in Mateo’s body language is unmissable.
As a documentary photographer, Marvi has been recording her life for years. She was inspired to take the photo of her son with Wheat because she felt it was a truly important life experience.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘For me the question has always been when to experience life without the camera and when to record a moment that is so emotionally indelible that it needs to be memorialized on film (or I guess in this case, a digital recording).
‘When Wheat died I felt that I wanted to give credence to how profound this stage was going to be in my children’s lives by recording it. I want them to be able to grieve or even celebrate Wheat’s life, pull out the photo and talk about their feelings.’
She added: ‘I suppose I knew that one day, Mateo would want to talk about that moment with Wheat and I wanted him to have something tangible to refer to.’
On taking her children along to be a part of Wheat’s final day, Marvi explains that she wanted her children to experience the ‘circle of life’, to teach them that part of this circle is, unfortunately, death.
However, she feels her family’s coming together showed what great love they all shared for Wheat.
Marvi explained: ‘As strange as it sounds, Wheat’s death was a beautiful moment in that the immense pain was diametric to the profound love our family had for Wheat. Being able the be there for the person or creature you love as they take their last breath, to comfort them, to tell them how much you love them, is intensely beautiful.
‘In a way I’m thankful that children’s first experience with death was quiet and peaceful.’
Marvi later shared the photo of her son with Wheat to her Facebook, to share with her friends what had happened that day.
Alongside the photo was the most tear-jerking post, which read:
It has been a month since our family lost Wheat but the pain is still so raw. One day I will summon the courage to go through these set of images and write him a proper send off but for now, a short one will suffice. Even at the very end, Wheat was still leaving pieces of life lessons for us.
He taught us how to parent through grief. He taught my children that Ben and I can be vulnerable. That sadness isn’t something to shy away from. That recovery is a process and can look as graceful and as wretched at any given time.
And that in the most painful moments, we are always each other’s comfort. Our family left that room with one heartbeat less that day but somehow, more resilient.