Today is #pawfessorMacLovin’s rescue anniversary! Time to celebrate and remember. Warning: some of the images might be hard to look at. 1st pic is Mac's shelter portrait I took that day.
PART 1/2: A year ago, I visited the Arecibo shelter (Albergue Capitan Correa) with @thesatoproject. My plan was to bring awareness to their needs, and the TSP was going to rescue lucky dogs. (I received news that the shelter suffered very little damage from the hurricane, thankfully!) Puerto Rican shelters deal with horrors. Every day, dogs are pouring in. Owner surrenders, truckloads of strays of all ages, from newborns to seniors. That shelter’s euthanasia rate is around 90%, and many more dogs die while in their custody (distemper and parvo being the biggest enemies). After a long conversation with the owner of the shelter, I was able to convince him to let me photograph their intake floor. These photos are from there (by opposition, their adoption floor was actually quite nice, and they are really working hard at making a difference in their community). I wasn’t sure how to photograph, how to convey the feeling of walking around the overwhelming facility. But my goal was to bring awareness and help the shelter make much-needed improvements. Things I could never convey in photos: the smells, the cries, the barking, the panting, the relentless mosquitoes, the excruciating humidity, the slippery floor as you walk through, your heart pounding, a mix of fear, anxiety and utter sadness rushing through your entire being. But what my photos could capture, were the broken dogs. And for every dog we were able to pull, so many more would be awaiting their fate. I can’t explain to you what it does to your soul, when the shelter staff asks you “are you done photographing these puppies? Because we must euthanize them now. They have been crying for food for 2 days and unfortunately no lactating mom came in, we must put an end to their suffering”. So we raised awareness, and money. Some of it was used to vet the dogs The Sato Project had pulled and the rest was used to upgrade the facility (tiled floors, puppy quarantine area, safer cages, new washer/drier, new vetting equipment).