Anybody who knows me knows that I am crazy about dogs. I have never been able to understand people who would give a dog up. And to be honest, I don’t want to understand them. The act of giving up a dog is mean, and shows no empathy, no compassion, no responsibility. And yet, there are many who do it. Every day, every hour, probably every minute, dogs are brought into shelters all over the country…as strays, or maybe they are too old to play, too much to care for, or they just aren’t wanted anymore. It’s a heart-breaking cycle…for the hundreds of thousands of dogs who wait for their people to come back and for those dogs who are euthanized because no one came.
It’s also an emotional saga for the people who rescue dogs. These people go deep into the shelters to find the dogs who need them the most, or to locate certain types of dogs for breed-specific rescue groups. They have an intense love of dogs that is all encompassing. It is a daily, hourly, constant thought or worry for them. They take dogs out of shelters to fill openings in foster homes–or their own homes. They raise money for care. They network to arrange permanent homes. They schedule a patchwork of transportation to drive dogs to new fosters, or forever homes, all over the country. These people…and there are many…work tirelessly and with all their might for the dogs. I am in awe of their strength.
There is a great joy in opening a cage and rescuing a dog. And there is great pain turning around during that moment of joy and looking into the eyes of the other caged dogs who are hoping you will reach for their door next. So it is with a bittersweet determination that I begin this project to photograph some of these very special souls who rescue, foster and transport dogs. Please take a look. Meet a few of the dogs and the people I will be spending some time with over the next few months, and let me know your thoughts.