I'm currently going through the enormous process of selecting the portraits for the Finding Shelter book- which will be published in early 2017 by Lyons Press. This project documents hundreds of volunteers and abandoned animals at animal shelters and rescue groups across the country. I interviewed and photographed over 300 volunteers and animals for this project over the past two years, but the book will only include a fraction of those portraits and stories. So now I'm spending time reviewing all the work from the past two years, including selecting the strongest portraits, and listening to the countless hours of interviews I did. Though I've clearly already heard all the stories before, listening to them again has honestly inspired me to continue this work and feel a true sense of pride in this project, just like all the animal shelter volunteers feel as they continue showing up to do such grueling and emotional work without any financial compensation.
I just edited the story of the dog above- McCoy, who is part of Big Fluffy Dog Rescue in Nashville, Tennessee. Though I can't share the entire story until the book is published, McCoy was pulled from a terrible hoarding case where he was found malnourished, abused and living among countless dead dogs. It was an unspeakable example of animal cruelty. But also an incredible story of survival and resistance, as McCoy was taken to a city shelter (where he may very likely have been put down because of over-crowding), then rescued by Big Fluffy Dogs, and fostered by an amazingly kind family. He was nursed to health and prepared for adoption. What a powerful example of the beauty within the animal shelter system- which is the whole goal of the Finding Shelter book.