Photographer Richard Phibbs began volunteering with the New York chapter of the Humane Society in 2012, an experience that inspired his series called Rescue Me. The endearing endeavor features portraits of dogs who have had a rough time in life and found themselves at the shelter—some with heartbreaking journeys that demonstrate their resilience and incredible will to live. Thankfully, through the dedication of people like Phibbs, they find comfort and protection.
To honor these pups—and help some find their forever homes—Phibbs captured them against a simple, neutral backdrop. After long stretches of neglect, their beauty and strong spirit finally shine as they’re given the respect they’ve always deserved. Many of the dogs have physical reminders of this troubling time, but with these dignified portraits, it’s clear that they’ve come out on top.
“The goal is to find every animal a home,” Phibbs writes of Rescue Me. “I hope to inspire people who are thinking of getting a dog or cat to ‘adopt instead of buy.’ By sharing your home and your life with a homeless animal, you become part of this great awakening, this transformation of human consciousness that recognizes the essential value of all living beings.”
Rescue Me will soon be available as a book through the Aperture foundation. In addition to the photos, journalist Richard Jonas writes about each animal’s inspiring story.