Details make patterns. Choices make habits. Imagining makes art. Believing makes seeing.
It’s been a while since I went out to wander and photograph just for the sake of wandering and photographing. It felt good: stretching my legs, stretching my imagination and shaking off this long strange summer. This was the weekend at Open House Chicago 2016.
Sandstone held to a bell tower with metal band-aids and hair nets. The bell tower survived the Great Fire in 1871, and still wears the blackened crown to prove it. Saint James Episcopal Cathedral.
Six red galeros, hats of dead bishops, streaming from the ceiling of Holy Name Cathedral. Hanging high behind the crucifix carved from one large piece of balsam wood, they wait for the day they collapse to dust and nothingness and return to the ground.
Ornate chandeliers are turned down low to let the stained glass windows tell their bible stories in the 2nd floor chapel of Saint James Chapel at Archbishop Quigley Center.
Ivy climbs and clings to the detail on the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue, in the morning shadow of the Hancock. And in this church, at long last we get to go upstairs to the balcony…and there’s a pipe organ, gentle at first and then lighting up the guests with a loud pounce.
The 5th place was an art house in an old mansion. Giant windows, rimmed in dark wood. Pocket doors and white marble fireplaces in every room. Studios for rent and live models seven days a week. An open studio on the 3rd floor smelled of oil paint as I rounded the final set of stairs up. The old floors were for dancing when this was a home and this level housed a ballroom. Now the wood floors showed wear from drops of paint as artists made their art. At this moment, they were sans model, but they worked as if she were still there. An imaginary model. Cross breezes fluffed papers from the transom windows along the floor where the band used to sit.
The Monroe Building, with Rookwood tiles, and tiles, and tiles, and a working mail chute for the 14-story building. This building and the one across the street, on the north side of Monroe at Michigan stand like sentinels, equal sized gate posts, greeting traffic entering Chicago on what used to be the main thoroughfare.
The chapel in the sky at the Chicago Temple. The highest place of worship above street level. Twenty two floors via elevator, then A through E floors via a cozy elevator, then 31 steps up to this tiny little Sky Chapel. Stained glass windows line the room and limit views of the sky and the surrounding city. The wood is ash, preserved forever from the Emerald Ash Borers that have killed so many trees in the Midwest.
Almost 8 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters each year, and almost 50% of them will not come out alive. The cycle is horrific. Dogs come in abused, neglected, heartbroken, sick, old, pure-bred–with one thing in common…they are unwanted and unloved. It is hard on the animal-lovers who work for the shelter. It is hard on anyone who loves animals.
What many people don’t realize is that about 35% of abandoned animals are pulled out of shelters by rescue groups. Rescuers go deep into the shelters looking for adoptable dogs. They find foster homes, they provide food and vaccinations and spay/neuters. Their own homes are usually brimming with wagging tails. They sell t-shirts for medical care fundraisers. They network to find just the right family for each dog. They organize transport to move dogs all over the country, to get them to homes where they will be loved and taken care of. Their phones buzz with incoming texts, emails, messages…about the dogs they’ve saved, or about dogs that are urgently in need of a place to stay before time runs out.
Rescue groups operate all around us. Rescuers seem to lead double lives…working full time jobs, raising families and giving the rest of their time, hearts and homes to the dogs they save. It takes a great human to traverse through this bittersweet cycle. Rescuers experience extreme joy when opening a shelter cage to save a dog, only to turn around and have their hearts broken when they look into the eyes of the desperate dogs still in their kennels. And there is pain–anger–when they walk to the front of the shelter, only to see a line of people dropping off unwanted pets. It takes a hearty soul to care so deeply, to do so much, to function so effectively around “humanity” and to give so much of their lives.
This is the story of Kelly and Judy: special souls who are dog rescuers in this never-ending stream of unwanted and abused animals. View the photos in slideshow to see captions for each. Start slideshow by clicking on the first photo, and then using the arrows to navigate through.
Rescuers make life or death choices. Every day. Rescue groups are responsible for saving about 35-40% of the dogs brought into shelters, pulling those considered adoptable and transporting them around the country. But it is hard. There is compassion fatigue from witnessing all the sad, scared eyes, all the life behind those bars. The dogs are desperate for someone to slow down, to look, to touch, to acknowledge that they are alive. 2013.
Rows and rows of metal cages, filled with barking, terrified dogs. Almost half of the dogs who enter a shelter will never make it out. Judy walks the rows looking for the right dogs to fit open foster homes. These trips to the back pavilions at the shelter can take hours as rescuers talk to each other and shelter staff/volunteers and network the dogs across social media. 2013.
Rescue groups go deep into the shelter to look for dogs to save. The back rooms at the shelter are sometimes loud with barking, and sometimes eerily quiet. There are all kinds of dogs at the shelter–pure bred and mutt, small and large, old and young, stray and owner-surrendered. Strays are held for a minimum of 3-5 days in case someone comes looking for them. Because no one is going to come for owner surrenders, they may be euthanized immediately if space is needed. 2013.
Some dogs cower in their cages–terrified, trembling, heartbroken and confused, and maybe shattered forever. These dogs seem to not want anyone to look at them, to see them, matted and dirty. They will not look up and shrink into the corners. 2013.
“Are you ok?”, Judy asks. Judging from his scars, he may have been used in dog fights. Judy walks through the pavilions asking this again and again. Sometimes it is a question. “Are you ok?” Sometimes it was a statement, willing them to be ok when options looked bleak. Even if she spent only a second with each soul–that little moment, a smile, a kind voice…It means everything…to the dogs…and to Judy. This dog, we later learned, did not make it out. He was euthanized to make room for the steady stream of unwanted dogs. 2013.
During the summer of 2015, Canine Influenza ripped through Chicago’s Animal Care and Control. Dogs were categorized by the severity and stage of their illness, and rescuers’ visits to the various pavilions were sequenced from healthiest to sickliest so that the healthy dogs stayed healthy by being visited first. Disposable yellow gowns and rubber gloves were required, and had to be changed between pavilions to lessen the spread of the virus. The shelter had an added layer of sadness–to see the dogs shivering in their kennels, too tired and sick to move, to hear the hacking coughs in the sickest pavilions, to know that most of these dogs were not going to make it out alive. Rescuers continued to do what they could to pull dogs and find fosters who could accommodate dogs who had been exposed to the virus. Rescues had to be isolated for two weeks or more to avoid spreading the virus. 2015.
Dogs are introduced to other dogs of different sizes, personalities and gender to see how they react. Rescuers hold their breath–hoping for tail wags and play postures. If the dog acts aggressively, he will go back in the cage, with a slim chance of ever making it out of the shelter alive. 2015.
After a full day of work, Kelly stops by the Chicago shelter to check in on potential rescues. She leads a Pit Bull out into the yard for a little fresh night air, some exercise and a temperament test. It is estimated that 30-35% of the dogs euthanized are Pit Bulls. Unchecked breeding and the vilification of the breed has led to shelters overflowing with these powerful yet often untrained and frequently abused dogs. 2013.
At CACC on a Sunday night, we came across these 3 bonded girls. The white one on the left was the designated watch dog…protecting her siblings by positioning herself in front of them, or over them, and snarling like a fierce dragon. The other two seemed to want to say “hi”…but big sister wasn’t having it. As we left the shelter that night, these 3 were getting rescued. The white one had given up being the strong one…and leapt into the arms of the rescuer. Surprisingly, chihuahuas are one of the breeds most often dumped at the shelter. 2015.
Kelly takes Betty Page back into the shelter after a brief and brisk winter day walk around the grounds. Construction had begun to update kennels in the Chicago Animal Care and Control facility. The new kennels are larger and the pavilions have more natural light. However, during construction, there are fewer open kennels for homeless dogs. 2015.
“Peep” came into the shelter with one eye dangling. Judy and Kelly committed to her rescue immediately and her eye was removed in emergency surgery. The next day, her painfully matted hair was shaved. A few weeks later, Peep lost her other eye to infection. When she healed, Peep was adopted. She is now living happily ever after with a family who adores her. 2014.
Kelly stands in the hall at Chicago Animal Care and Control. She is making final arrangements for foster homes for these two lucky dogs who will walk out of the shelter tonight with her. The Pekingnese will go to a breed-specific rescue group. The dignified little dog standing was grossly underweight and had been shaved to treat his dry skin and matted hair. He had been surrendered by his owner in very poor condition. Four months later, he is still getting healthy in a foster home. 2015.
Betty Page peers out of Judy’s car. She had just been rescued from the shelter by Kelly, and is keeping an eye on her savior. Kelly and Judy are both texting to see who has space for Betty Page tonight. If no one does, Judy will take her home for the night. Judy and Kelly pull 2-4 dogs a week from the Chicago shelter. They meet in parking lots near animal hospitals or pet stores to coordinate and move the dogs to available foster homes. 2015.
Hilde left the shelter with just a generic standard issue rope cord. First stop was a pet store to get her very own collar and leash, toy and treats and a stash of food. Rescues do everything to get a dog into a good foster home. They want and need successful and repeat fosters. Fostering gives a dog a chance to get healthy, get socialized, and learn house rules. Fosters and rescues pay close attention to dogs’ personalities and needs so that potential adopters enter into the arrangement with no surprises. 2015.
Otis is a pet shop boy. Ruby is a rescue and is a little mentally askew. Many rescue groups take only the healthiest and youngest animals from the shelters to control costs and to prevent having unadoptable dogs. Other rescue groups take the dogs that speak to their hearts and may specialize in a certain breed, or the seniors, or the physically handicapped. 2013.
Rescuers have an intense, all encompassing love of dogs. Their homes are often full to the brim of wagging tails, clicking toenails, water dishes and crates. 2013.
Dog rescuers collect crates…from donations, yard sales, pet supply store sales, etc. The crates are bleached and readied for trips to the shelter or weekend transports. 2015.
Kelly takes one dog out for a run in her backyard while she checks emails, texts and social media posts for rescue-related information. Rescue is a daily, hourly, constant occupation for rescuers. Everything is about the dogs, for the dogs. 2015.
Every weekend, dog rescue teams move dogs across the country in a series of one to two hour relays. Why transport the dogs? Some areas of the country don’t have as many unwanted dogs and so the dogs pulled out of Chicago’s shelters have a better chance of being adopted elsewhere. Sometimes dogs are going to a breed-specific rescue in another state. Dogs travel with their paperwork and specific instructions for feeding and caring for them on what may be 2 to 3 days of 12 hour drives in a series of cars. Transporters have prearranged meeting places to switch the dogs from one car to another, and walk and feed/water them before getting on the road for the next leg. For transporters, it’s a time to meet one another and enjoy the 3-10 dogs they transport. For the dogs, it’s life saving. 2013.
There are strict rules during transport to ensure the health of the dogs. Puppies are often “no paws on the ground” if there is any chance of parvo. Dogs just out of the shelter can have many problems including worms or stomach/bowel issues due to stress and change of diet. Rescuers, transporters and fosters are diligent in monitoring the samples in order to treat any sickness. 2013.
Rescuers often have a lot of dogs in their homes. Some are theirs, some are fosters, some are only passing through for a night or two. There are rooms designated to isolate new guests who may be sick or scared. There are crates and cages for private time. And everything needs to be cleaned between occupants. 2013.
Judy and Kelly look at a place on a rescued bulldog mix. Although they both work in marketing, Judy and Kelly have enough experience with rescue that they can quickly identify health issues and can better work with the vet clinics who donate time and treatments. 2013.
Two groups made a 160 mile road trip to meet in the middle of Indiana. Traci and her friend/friend’s son came from Ohio with a couple of old boxers who had been rescued by Judy and Kelly the year before. Mr Belvedere had been frail and malnourished when he was pulled from the shelter. After almost 2 years in his hospice foster home, he is pleasingly plump and happy. Though he had not seen Judy and Kelly since his rescue, he recognized and greeted them with zeal at the meeting place in the empty parking lot. He will live out his life with his foster. 2015.
Avery entered the shelter as a cruelty case, with all of her legs broken and toes crushed. While Avery’s casts were on, Judy carried her outside several times a day and made sure her movements were restricted so that her young bones could heal. Sadly, almost 3 years later, Avery is still available for adoption. http://www.adoptapet.com/pet/11244516-brooklyn-new-york-american-pit-bull-terrier-mix
“Peep” came into the shelter with one eye dangling. Judy and Kelly committed to her rescue immediately and her eye was removed in emergency surgery. A few weeks later, Peep lost her other eye to infection. She was adopted and lives happily ever after with a family who adores her. 2014.
Atticus kisses Judy. He once was a rescue. Now, Judy belongs to him. She adopted him and he graciously shares his home with a stream of fosters. 2013.
Now and Then – Ravenswood Gardens, Chicago. Old brick street marker at the Southeast corner of Wilson and Rockwell, Chicago.
Old brick street marker at the Northeast corner of Wilson and Rockwell.
Old brick street marker at the northeast corner of Rockwell and Eastwood.
Old brick street marker at the Southeast corner of Eastwood and Rockwell, Chicago.
Old brick street marker at the Southwest corner of Eastwood and Rockwell.
Old brick street marker at the Southwest corner of Wilson and Rockwell.
Old brick street marker at the Northwest Corner of Wilson and Rockwell.
Southwest corner of Wilson and Rockwell.
Old brick marker at the Southwest Corner of Windsor and Rockwell.
Old brick street marker at the Northwest Corner of Windsor and Rockwell.
Fifteen brick structures mark the entrance to the streets of this 100+ year-old neighborhood near the river. These sentinels stand in pairs, trios or quartets along Rockwell between Montrose and the el tracks at Rockwell. Some have planters on top, others a concrete ball resembling a bed knob. They mark the streets of Ravenswood Gardens, a community planned in 1909 by William Harmon. Photographed on film with a Seagull and a Rolleicord. Now and Then – Ravenswood Gardens, Chicago
At this year’s Open House Chicago, sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, I went to see the interiors of buildings not normally open to the public. And what struck me most were the rich details…the ornate little extras, little treats for the eyes built in to the old spaces.
Whatever happened to those days of craftsmanship? When those little flourishes mattered? Now it seems that buildings are mundane. Character has disappeared in favor of efficiency, productivity, mass production and bottom lines.
I’ve taken a couple of weeks off from “the career” to focus on my photography…this week a series of short workshops, seminars and presentations by Filter Photography Festival and next week an intensive workshop with National Geographic photographer, Sam Abell, in Santa Fe.
At the mid-point of Filter’s 4 days, here are the things sticking in my head:
1) Filter is about ART. Photography as ART. It’s eye-opening to see the constructed projects that may begin with photos (the artists’ or someone elses’) but certainly doesn’t end with the photograph. For some, there’s washing out bits with bleach, or putting the photo onto plastic and warping it, or cutting precise little holes in exact spots to add meaning. It’s also photography with WORDS. The metaphors explained. Artist Statements to bring the viewer along…how did the idea happen? what’s the process? what does it mean? what to see? what thoughts should ride along with the photo when you view it?
2) The PRINTs. LARGE prints. On RICH papers like bamboo, kozo or deckled rag. Portfolios brought in boxes and displayed on tables. Eric Joseph from Freestyle pointed out that when we were in the darkroom years ago, “the paper mattered.” It was an important decision in the darkroom. We had our favorites for their warmth or texture, or cool smoothness….Ilford, Oriental… But somehow with digital printing, paper was forgotten. He was at Filter to remind us, to show us…to let us feel and see the differences…(and yeah, to sell us papers). It worked. I’m convinced.
3) Kelli Connell’s 23 questions for portraiture. A technique to question yourself…quickly and periodically…to see themes and threads through which you view the world, and photograph from. Wow. More on this later.
4) Debbie Fleming Caffery’s sweet and sassy southern voice. I can hear it still. Her workshop was to be on sustaining long term projects, but instead turned out to be more of a portfolio review. I showed up with glossy and puny Walgreens prints expecting to use them only to give an idea of my work…my project that needs sustaining…and articulation. I felt like I was a day late and a dollar short. Regardless, I learned a lot from listening to the dialogue of the others…the Artists. For example, making selections to tie themes or colors or moods together. The self-published books, and again the papers and the printing processes. The possible sources for more knowledge, more photos, more words (or videos) to add to projects. And the outlets…ideas for my big question of “What do I DO with the projects?”
The overwhelming response…that I’m hearing across Filter Photo Festival: GET YOUR WORK OUT THERE. Enter contests, print large and show in festival portfolio reviews, be active in social media, blog, and JUST DO IT. Make your own exhibits. Be tenacious. Make connections. And keep on shooting…keep on creating.
Heading out for Day 3. But first, a dawn walk with Charlie on this gorgeous Fall morning. Let the day begin.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about going with Judy early one morning to transport 10 rescued dogs on a 60 mile segment of their journey to Minneapolis. A rescue mission that felt good…happy…exciting. I had held a parvo-surviving puppy. She was lucky to be alive. Lucky to be out of the shelter on that sunny day and lucky enough to be healthy and on her way to a rescue. I felt her little heart beating, felt her tiny breath–felt her sigh as she gave in to a few minutes of sleep. I was happy and full of hope holding that little dog…so, so full of hope.
Later that day, after the transport was complete, we went to animal control…a place where hope is hard to feel. This is the place where almost half the dogs who walk in never come out alive*. This is the place where so many people who love animals have the sad job of collecting unwanted, lost or abused dogs and cats. This is the place where volunteer doctors and staff work tirelessly to save animals, and yet have to euthanize many healthy and treatable animals simply because there is no more room. This is also the place where rescuers go to begin their work, where saving a dog begins. They identify dogs for rescue, posting and sharing snapshots to network the many homeless faces, hoping that just maybe someone somewhere will fall in love and they can pull a dog out of there. Rescuers go to Animal Control often, especially when they know their fosters have room to squeeze in just one more.
The place is a maze of “pavilions”, rooms separating the animals into those ready for adoption, those being held as “evidence” for court cases, those in medical care, or those simply doing their time in hopes that someone will come looking for them before their 5 days are up. There are no outside windows in these rooms full of cages. The rooms can be loud with echos of barking, crying dogs. Or the rooms can be silent…like the air has been sucked out of the place, like dementors have been there.
Today, we were there to look for a couple of dogs that had been posted online for potential rescue, to temperament test another. I followed Judy and her scrap of paper with the cage numbers. All those sad eyes on us. All the life behind those bars. Some of the dogs desperate for you to slow down, to look, to touch, to acknowledge that they are alive. Other dogs cowered in the cages, terrified, trembling, lost and confused, and maybe broken forever. These dogs seemed not to want anyone to look at them, to see them, matted and dirty, shrinking into the bright orange tile and concrete corners.
It is hard to witness. I tried to concentrate on photographing Judy with the dogs, on learning what she was looking for when she studied their paperwork. I followed her–her golden ponytail, her scrap of paper with the cage numbers, her voice. And I watched her…I watched her muster her spirit, her smile, her hope in this hard place. I watched her giving hope to each of those shelter dogs. “Are you ok?” she asked each of them with a smile. “Are you ok?” Sometimes it was a question. Sometimes it was a statement, willing them to be ok when options looked bleak. Whatever it was, even if she spent only a second with each soul–it mattered. That little heartbeat of a moment, a smile, a kind voice…It means everything…to the dogs…and to Judy.
It is a cruelly hard job for animal lovers to work in this place, to remain hopeful, to not give up at the sheer magnitude and the never ending streams of needy faces. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the dogs.
* Most current (2011) Asilomar Accords records from CACC: “Jan 1 holding 863 dogs. Thru 2011: Took in 11,115 dogs. Adopted out 943, Transferred out to rescues/other organizations 3,407, Returned to owner 1,355. Euthanized/Died in care: 5,477. Dec 31 holding 793 dogs.” (corrected math on records shows 796 dogs remaining.) Please see www.asilomaraccords.org for more information on shelters in your area.
Ever wonder what happens with the dogs saved by rescue groups? Transporting rescue dogs gives many a better chance of adoption or foster in a new state. Almost every weekend, hundreds of rescuers move these precious souls miles in 1-2 hour bits of travel. It’s an incredible network, and a feat of organization and determination, and sheer love for the dogs.
Last Saturday, I rode on a dog transport with Judy, picking up 10 dogs in Merrillville, Indiana and driving them to Itasca, Illinois. This was just one leg of their 8-9 hour journey from Indianapolis to Minneapolis.
I arrived at Judy’s just after 7 a.m. as she was configuring the van with her crates and cages. Like a Tetris puzzle, she arranged the crates to maximize the space and to make sure there would be enough separation for the parvo survivors we would soon meet. There was a smell of fresh laundry–bleach maybe–from the clean padding, beds, and towels lining the cages. Some towels were strategically placed on top of the cages under the air vents, so no dog would get blasted with the AC. Behind the driver’s seat was a bag of slip-leads and collars, some towels, baggies, water dishes and water.
We had a list of the passengers to expect…
1. Shelby – Poodle-x, 9y F(S), 30 lb.
2. Goofy – Pomeranian, M(N), 5 lb.
3. Maltese – F, 8 lb.
4. Juno – Terrier, F(S), 30 lb.
5. BeaglePup – 10 weeks
6. Lil Bit & Skittles – APBT puppies, 8 lbs. each
7. Frenchie – 10 weeks
8. Dexter – 4 months
9. Puppy – 8 weeks. WILL TRAVEL IN OWN CRATE
The list also told us the that these dogs were traveling with health certificates, collars and that all were up-to-date on shots. There was an updated e:mail with more specifics on the meeting places for each of the 7 legs of the journey and who would be receiving the dogs upon arrival in Minneapolis. We pulled out of Judy’s driveway around 7:20 a.m. with the crates, the list and the sunshine, headed to meeting place #1 in Merrillville, Indiana.
We arrived a little early to the parking lot where we’d make the transfer from one car to another. A text let us know that Tara and Gwen were 10 minutes away, coming in 2 cars from Indianapolis. While we waited, Judy reminded me to be careful not to touch another dog after touching a parvo-survivor puppy. The parvo-surviving pups would also have to take their potty breaks in a different place.
And then, they arrived! Two cars pulled up, on either side of Judy’s van. Introductions, hugs and brief chatter as we jumped out to make ready for the transfer. I think I laughed and cried at the same time as Gwen’s hatchback opened to reveal a carload full of dogs looking back at me. The next 30 minutes was a whirlwind…get the dogs out, walked, watered and then situated in Judy’s crates and car.
After all the walks, after all the crate moves, Judy and I got back in the car with our passengers. Lucky, lucky me–I got to ride with Jema in my lap! This little girl was recently spayed, and a parvo-survivor. She tried so hard not to sleep…she wagged her tail and smiled at Judy, at me, at the dogs in the back, at the scenery out the window and for a few minutes chewed on my hair. And those of you who know me, know that I was in heaven holding this little happy and curious girl with her sweet puppy smell. Everyone settled in. Some stared out the window–and I wondered what they were thinking, their lives so changed. Some slept peacefully, despite the one who cried and voiced her opinion about a few things.
We arrived in Itasca to meet the next 2 cars who would take these babies on to Rockford, Illinois. Once again, walks, water and a transfer of crates and cars.
It was only in the last few minutes that I realized how bittersweet transporting days were, as we petted and hugged these lucky dogs one last time. Saying our goodbyes, and wishing them safety on today’s journey and much love and happiness for the rest of their lives.
Transporting rescue dogs, from August 3, 2013.
Want to know more? Check out these websites for dog transports–and donate, volunteer, foster or adopt–anything and everything helps:
By the way, I had planned to write a little more about Avery, the beautiful pup who had 17 broken bones. Shortly after I met her, she had her last two casts removed. I plan to see her again soon and get some additional photographs and details. So, more to come. Thanks for your patience!
We have had a mind-numbing heat wave in Chicago this week. And the heat is still here… It was muggy and oppressive even before the sun came up this morning. So to refresh you and make you smile on this hot and humid Friday, here are some hot dogs cooling down.
As a reminder, if you’re hot, they’re hot. Careful on the burning sidewalks. Try turning on dog-level fans to stir the air. Make sure everybody’s water dishes are full–yours included! And for god’s sake don’t sit in a hot car for longer than 1 second! Happy Summer Friday everyone!
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.