Above: LESLEY + KONA: Wags and Walks Rescue
“I started Wags and Walks after volunteering in my local shelters and watching them euthanize perfectly friendly adoptable dogs due to overcrowding. I learned this number was close to 40,000 dogs a year just in Los Angeles. I felt it was my obligation to jump in and strategize how to help this unthinkable crisis of man’s best friend. I mustered the courage to leave my job as a pharmaceutical sales representative because my passion was to advocate for these amazing, special, even purebred dogs. With my background as a daughter of a veterinarian, my relentless passion for dogs, and my keen sense for pairing dogs with the right home Wags and Walks is now the fastest growing rescue in the nation growing from saving 50 dogs in its first year in 2011 to 525 amazing dogs in 2014.”
Above: TIM + RHONDA: Peninsula Humane Society
“I often have the public make the comment to me when they see my work with shelter cats, ‘It’s so great that you work with these animals, you give so much to them’. I then correct them and tell them ‘You have it backwards; the animals give me a lot more than I give them.’”
Above: LETTI + JAMIE: BADRAP
“I volunteer because of the impact I can have on one dog in one moment. It is easy to get lost in the hugeness of the challenges facing pets – overcrowded shelters, the shortage of pet friendly housing, failed rescues turned hoarders and abusers, and all the other types of cruelty and neglect suffered by our companion animals. BADRAP has helped me learn that by focusing on an individual dog you can truly make a difference.”
Above: JEREMIAH + PICASSO: Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
“I volunteer to help the greater dog community by giving back some of the love that my old dogs gave to me. I volunteer to fulfill my duty to animal stewardship for breeds and species in existence only from human-made breeding programs, especially the old ones. They wouldn’t be here without us. I volunteer to bring joy to the world one senior dog at a time. I volunteer to help senior dogs find their way through strange and scary times. Encouraging and reassuring them that they are safe, loved and that there’s warmth and goodness left in the world just for them.”
TENNILLE + OLIVER: spcaLA
“The reason I love working at the shelter is plain and simple; I love it. It is extremely rewarding to be able to help take care of the cats (and dogs) on a daily basis, and give them all the love and attention I can. Being able to not only care for them, but help them find a forever home is the best feeling in the world. While it does get difficult at times, the good far outweighs the bad.”
ABOUT THE PROJECT:
Finding Shelter is not a shelter animal project- it is a people project. It tells a story about our nation’s animal shelters that has never been told before, from the perspective of the volunteers. By looking at the intimate bond formed between volunteer and abandoned animal, I believe a more peaceful and joyful portrait of the shelter system can be shown – in turn encouraging more adoptions and volunteerism and uncovering the beautiful interconnectedness between humans and animals within the shelter system.
A NOTE FROM PHOTOGRAPHER JESSE FREIMIN:
I truly believe that dog photography is simply a study of the human condition, and that animals shelters are a place where humanity thrives. The Finding Shelter project has already documented over 100 volunteers and animals in California, and this Fall I’ll be driving across the country to create 150 more portraits. But I’ll need some help along the way.
In order to turn this national project into a beautifully published book I’ve created a Kickstarter campaign- launching August 11th– to help me fund this effort. The backer rewards are so fun, and it’s a very special way to get involved, show your support for animal rescue, tell your local shelter volunteer that you have their back, and help me create a huge positive impact.
Want to know a little more about Jesse Freidin? We shared an interview with him at Shutter Sisters a few years back. Check it out!