Adopting my dog Lucca from a shelter nearly eight years ago is, hands down, the best and most gratifying decision I’ve ever made. While I would never suggest that the love I feel for Lucca is greater because of it, I do think the experience of rescuing a dog, rather than buying from a breeder or a pet store, is very special and meaningful. Back in 2007, I didn’t know what kind of dog I wanted. I don’t think I really cared about a “kind.” I had some loose requirements — a Mastif wasn’t going to work in my studio apartment — but mostly I wanted to find a dog I connected with and who connected with me. It was about finding the right dog, with “right” based much more on intuition rather than a list of breed qualities. This feeling is what photographer Theron Humphrey has captured in his series “Why We Rescue,” featuring photographs of 50 people who adopted their pets and the stories behind those adoptions. The series aims to change perceptions about how loving shelter pets can be.
If you’re committed to adopting an animal, the process can be a trying one. Visiting shelters and mobile adoption centers always left me upset — they still do; I can’t go in one without crying at some point — because I was keenly aware of how many dogs needed homes, how long many of them would go without them, and how some of them would never find one. Then one day I saw Lucca and the search was done in an instant. I’ve always said that Lucca chose me as much as I chose her (that’s her and I on the day we met and she came home!) and we’ve been inseparable ever since (seriously, she won’t even let me pee alone). But it was bittersweet in that in “saving” and adopting her, meant every other dog that was there was not going home with me. And maybe not going home with anyone that day. Or that week. That there are so many pets who need homes, who just need some kind human to look upon them and say, regardless of breed or where they came from or what they might have experienced the past, “You are just right for me.”
Check out a few of Humphrey’s photographs below, and then click on over to Why We Rescue for more photos and stories. And seriously — if you’re looking to add a pet to your family, at least consider adoption. There are so many amazing, wonderful animals who need loving homes.