Rescue Dogs & Their People

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.

Rescue Dogs & Their People
Rookie loves Kelly.
Rescue Dogs & Their People
Atticus kisses Judy, with Hiccup & Beau
Rescue Dogs & Their People
Solstice’s fair skin sunburns easily. Most days, she wears a t-shirt and sunblock.
Rescue Dogs and Their People
Atticus is an older Boxer with one bad eye. He is protective of Edward, a Boston Terrier with cancer.
Rescue Dogs and Their People
Shakira stays mum.
Rescue Dogs and Their People
Rookie is afraid to come down steps…
Rescue Dogs and Their People
Rookie telling me why he is afraid to come down steps.

6 Responses

  1. A small bit of support for people who give up dogs: Sometimes they just can’t afford to keep them, and giving them up is kinder than not being able to care for them. I was at the shelter in Santa Fe when someone called asking for help for a friend who couldn’t afford to feed her dog. The shelter could not give any help other than asking the woman to sign her dog over to them. I saw the same on a show on animal planet about the SPCA: Not uncommon.

    1. Thanks for your comment Nancy. I know that times can be tough, and dog food isn’t that cheap…but I still think it’s a horrible decision to take a pet to the shelter. Pets are family. You go through things together, good times and bad. I think a dog would rather be with someone they love, even if it means being a little hungry. Dropping a dog off at the shelter breaks his heart. They don’t understand. And what I’ve learned is that “owner surrenders” have no holding time in shelters. That means that unlike strays, they are NOT given a 5 day hold in case someone comes looking for them. If cages are needed, those pets die first. Maybe if people knew that fact, they would find another option. You raise a good point about the need to assist people with pets who are having hard times…food donations, medical care, places to stay during foreclosures or devastating fires/floods…but in the end, my belief is that you make a commitment, a bond with a pet. And for all their unconditional love, they deserve our unconditional care through their lives.

  2. Amazing words, Amazing Pictures, You may think you are just a witness but you are now part of rescue….telling the story of those who need help….of those who need second chances….XOXO Thank You For joining this Army. Wet noses and wagging tails welcome you. :)

  3. there is absolutely nothing like the love of a rescued dog and the love of the people who rescue them. I am honored and proud to know these wonderful ladies!!!

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