From ‘aggressive and controlling’ to ‘a little cuddle bug’: Touching photographs reveal the unbreakable bond between rescued animals and their (very patient) owners
A touching new photo series highlights the happiness and companionship that rescue animals, despite their introverted or aggressive temperaments, can bring to people.
Idaho-based photographer Theron Humphrey, 30, spent a year traveling around America’s 50 states talking to pet owners about how their adopted dogs, cats, horses, bunnies and even birds have had a positive impact.
While many of the critters were picked up at shelters, some were also found in the wild or via the internet on sites such as Craigslist.
Albert Lewis from Reno, Nevada, explained that his two pooches plucked from the pound, Indie and Comet, ‘definitely fulfill me’, adding: ‘I don’t know what it would be like without them or another animal in my life. I really connect with them, I care for them tremendously and I feel they give you that back in return.’
However, he highlighted while being interviewed by Mr Humphrey, that there is also a lot of work involved when rearing a rescue pet.
'I do think you need to be educated on that,' he said. 'Be prepared that it's not all easy days and there's going to be a lot of hard training.
'You never know where the animals came from or what their experiences were and you have to be very, very patient with them.'
Indeed, he says his dogs were quite hostile to begin with but now they are very loving and affectionate.
'[Indie] was very aggressive and controlling. Now she's a little cuddle bug. I'll whisper her name and she'll come and jump in my lap and come cuddle with me.'
Like Mr Lewis, Krissy from Rhode Island pointed out that adopted animals ‘definitely make the best pets.’
She continued: ‘It’s like they know what you’ve saved them from. Two of the three dogs I’ve had - both pound puppies - were so lovable and so grateful.’
Mr Humphrey said that he wanted to capture rescue animals in a new way because traditional adverts often depict them as ‘sad.’
'I don't want to see sad dogs in sad cages with sad music playing in the background,' he told The Huffington Post.‘Shelter dogs aren’t second-rate animals, so why depict them in that way?’
He titled his picture project Why We Rescue and launched an interactive website so that fans could track where he was on his journey.
Along with photographing each participant, Mr Humphrey also conducted audio interviews with them.
During the one-on-one sessions he asked the pet owners to talk about where they were born and raised, what their parents did when they grew up as well as when animals first came into their lives.Mr Humphrey concluded:’After seeing the project, even if one person decides to go to their local shelter to adopt an animal, I’d consider the whole thing a success.
'Every rescue story is a worthy story.'
'It is so amazing to watch as they grow and feel love, warmth safety and purr-manence when they find their furever homes.
'Whoever threw away the girls who rescued me clearly had no idea how priceless fuzzy lives are. I would never buy an animal from a pet store. For our family, other people's “garbage” is our gold.'
Mr Humphrey himself owns a shelter-rescued dog named Maddie.
The two previously went on a 46,425 mile-journey across America together as part of another photo project called Maddie on Things.
The resulting images - published in a coffee table book - show the Coonhound balancing on everything from a McDonald’s Golden Arches logo to a USPS postal van.See more photos & learn the stories behind the photos here: