One of the biggest stories of the year has been the chronicling of Chocolate's progress.
In case you've missed the dozen or so stories and updates on his road to recovery, Chocolate is the Chesapeake Bay retriever with two broken legs that Sonia Ayala rescued from Franklin County. After the Herald ran a story, we continued chronicling his journey through rehabilitation to adoption, as well as the outpouring of generosity to fund his recovery.
As I covered his return from WSU Pullman in July, he surprised everyone with a very unsurprising act:
Never miss a local story.
He had just wrapped a three-hour limo ride, after all, but the evacuation still caught everybody off-guard and elicited a few chuckles. I managed to suppress my inner adolescent and quietly grabbed a quick photo instead of busting out the macro lens while chortling like Beavis and Butthead.
When it came time to produce the photo gallery, I faced the decision on whether or not I should include this frame. It's funny and not graphic, though its inclusion could be interpreted as crass.
Ultimately, however, I decided against adding it.
No, it wasn’t a newfound sense of decency, but rather an odd sense of respect for the pup.
When I'm choosing a photo of a person, I try to make sure that the subject's expression is flattering. This means excluding shots with blinking people, weird mid-word expressions or ambiguously gross gestures, as often happens when somebody scratches his or her face.
Or sometimes, it’s an effect I'm going for, but ultimately decide against using, as happened with this photo of Jim Harbertson, one of the judges for the Tri-Cities Wine Festival.
I still think it’s funny, but to have included it in the gallery without an explanation could have seemed like I was making fun of him.
And for me, that same context applies to what Chocolate do-did.
Plus, if I had included it in the original gallery, I don’t think I would’ve been able to look him in his big brown eyes again.