Remembering Jazz

Jan 6, 2013   //   Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on Remembering Jazz

Christmas day this year was bittersweet for us as our family dog of 15 years, Jazz died. You know her better as the inspiration for the Dog Meets World mascot, little Foto, who helps fetch photos for children in need around the world.

We often joked that Jazz felt like she was a human being. At the dog park she rarely interacted with other dogs, preferring instead to stay close to us. Losing her felt like losing a close personal friend, a confidant, someone who had seen you through a lot of different life stages.

For a humble dog, a pet, Jazz, aka Foto, had a pretty special life. She’s always was puppy-like, in her energy and her sweet face. Just a few weeks ago someone thought she was a couple months old, at 15 years! When she was a few years old she won a silly little contest that made her “the champion pooch” of our little town Ponte Vedra. She even had a crown. One time she was in a photo with a supermodel. Im still waiting on my turn for that one.

It wasn’t until 2008, when my mom was searching for a new initiative, that Jazz became the mascot of Dog Meets World, almost accidentally. My mom had been traveling the globe every few months, always bringing with her a stuffed facsimile of our dog. She would send me these dispatches with “Jazz” propped in front of world landmarks from Macchu Picchu to Angkor Wat,

Everywhere she went with this little stuffed animal, people reacted positively. Parents and kids alike wanted to pose with the stuffed pup in the photo. Combined with my mother’s love for children, and sincere care for the photographs she has gathered her whole life, the seed of the idea for Dog Meets World was born.

Dog Meets World has always been about person-to-person diplomacy, the idea that breaking down the barrier between traveler and local would, overtime, make a smaller world with less division. Taking and giving a photo is such a small act, but the process around it is unique in its brief but impactful nature. It is somehow both tender and caring – to stop and appreciate a stranger.

But sometimes we found breaking the cultural barrier presented too great an awkward obstacle. That’s where the stuffed animal came into the picture, no pun intended. It served a dual purpose of breaking the ice, providing a posing buddy and uniting all the photographs with a memorable and meaningful symbol. Under the front paws are a heart and a peace sign.

When Jazz, aka Foto died, someone sent us an email, reading “how many other dogs have been memorialized all over the world, she is a truly special pup.” The symbol that our little cock-a-poo came to represent, is a genuine love and appreciation for all the people in all the world. She “visited” over 40 countries and will forever adorn the smiling photographs of over 10,000 children from some of most difficult places to grow up. Every day she showed us affection and unconditional love, and it is our hope that that feeling has been spread in some tiny way in an order of magnitude greater.

Thank you, precious dog, for providing us with tangible joy for as long as you were in our lives. It is through the little canine toy Foto that we will continue to give tangible joy to those less fortunate.

Hug your pups and kids close for us this season. Enjoy some of our favorite photos below.

Love, the Dog Meets World family.


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Best Foto of the Week!

Praise for DMW

"Participating in Dog Meets World was a truly magical experience, bringing joy and wonderment to all I met."

John Carr, Phodographer across South America

"Dog Meets World unleashes the power of photography as a diplomatic and personal tool in building connections among the people of the world. It embeds a memory in photographer and subject alike."

Prof. Patrick Fleming, Fulbright scholar & Phodographer Cambodia & Kyrgzystan

"You will never know just how important that photo will be long after it is taken and given."

Delores Barr Weaver, co-owner Jacksonville Jaguars

"Dog Meets World went over fabulously in my village. It is a perfect option for Peace Corps volunteers like myself. I like the Foto dog mascot, kids like it, and it is a representation of the peace and the ideas of the project."

Kristen Woodruff, Phodographer Costa Rica

"The kids are absolutely loving Dog Meets World. For a majority, these were the first images of themselves that they have ever owned."

Marti Johnson, Phodographer Uganda