Finding Shelter Volunteers Speak Out
Finding Shelter, my series of animal shelter volunteer photos, has been getting a lot of attention recently. And that's great. Mostly because it has been inciting volunteers and animal shelters and rescue groups from literally around the world to reach out and introduce themselves to me. Us dog people are pretty nice. I'm so flattered to continue receiving so many invitations from animal shelters to come photograph their volunteers for Finding Shelter. When I began the Finding Shelter photo series, most people said it was an impossible feat, that animal shelter volunteer photos are impossible because volunteers are too shy and don't want to be in the limelight, that shelter animals would be too scared of a stranger with a camera, and that it just wouldn't make for a powerful photo essay. Not to be one who ever listens to nay-sayers, I was confident that my vision of emotion and connection would be there right from the start. So, it's a real testament to that connection that exists between animal shelter volunteer and the dogs who love them that Finding Shelter is being noticed. And that is such a huge honor.
Below is one of my favorite unsolicited responses I've received so far (kept anonymous on purpose):
"Your photography is beautiful. I volunteer at the kitsap humane society in WA state. Before I became a volunteer over a year go some big time things happened in my life. My dad passed away and 6 days later my husband walked out. I was scared, alone and completely lost. If it wasn't for my two dogs I would of lost all hope. They kept me going. Over the next year they watched the emotional roller coaster I had become and stuck by my side. When the light at the end of the tunnel started to appear I realized through all this I was never actually alone...those two dogs kept me company, they kept me safe and the loved me. I knew I had to give back somehow. My two were already in a home and safe so I wondered what else I could do. I started to volunteer at the humane society a a dog walker and I was instantly addicted. Those dogs healed me. We needed each other and in that need we found strength. I watched my love and time help them gain trust and hope. And I watched their trust and love mend my heart. Thank you for seeing what volunteering is all about. Thank you for helping animals and thank you for your beautiful pictures."
Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed and shared the Finding Shelter photographs, and to everyone who has reached out to share your own stories and extend invitations for me to photograph at your local shelter. I will do everything I can to make it out your way.