Dog photos rarely fail to make us smile—and they can make for amazing workout partners too.
Unfortunately, millions of dogs are sick, hurt, and homeless around the world. To be more specific, 3.9 million dogs enter shelters in the U.S. every year and 1.2 million are euthanized, according to the ASPCA.
So, to help find more dogs their "forever home," fashion and portrait photographer Richard Phibbs has joined forces with the Humane Society of New York (since 2012), snapping portraits of dogs up for adoption as part of the Manhattan shelter's effort to place pets with families.
Some of his greatest pictures have been featured in Rescue Me: Dog Adoption Portraits and Stories from New York City. The book boasts colorful photos of 67 dogs, along with their personal stories, detailing the journey from rejection to rescue.
Click through to see a handful of the featured pups, most of which are now living happily in New York City.
After being locked in a portable kennel for some time, police found and brought Little Lowell filthy, dehydrated, and in poor shape to HSNY. One eye was so damaged it had to be removed—but now the six-year-old is comfortable and happy, living in a townhouse off Fifth Avenue in the Village of NYC with his new family.
After being abandoned on the streets, Herschel found a home with a woman seeking a dog who can fly in-cabin with her when traveling (luckily the terrier mix isn't prone to motion sickness like other dogs). She totes all 25-pounds of Herschel as she goes about her day-to-day—a killer arm workout! After some time suffering with “severe separation anxiety,” he's learned to trust she'll always come back to him.
The Labrador mix was first found, abandoned, by a homeless man who kept her for nearly a week before he realized she needed medical attention. Chelsea was brought to HSNY with slashes on her head and body, but no background as to what happened; though it's thought she might have been used as a "bait" in dog fights. Luckily, she's reclaimed her former playfulness and lives in Jersey City with her owners and another canine companion.
Davey was discovered running aimlessly through the Bronx without a leash or identification. He's still a ball of energy, only now he runs around his home in West Chelsea. His owner Chris, says: “Nothing wears him out...he’s an acrobat, he ducks and dives, he runs between dogs’ legs and jumps over them.”
The book's cover star, Zeppy, had a severe ear infection and a coat so tangled and matted to his body it had to be shaved completely. But now he goes to work with his owners, who own a gallery in Martha’s Vineyard. The lovable Havanese even takes some time out of his busy schedule to FaceTime with the couple's son in college.
Nuno, a bichon frise, was surrendered by his first owner and left with her mother who kept him tied to a doorknob. He was fed but not walked or groomed. Eventually, a neighbor called HSNY and swayed her to give Nuno up. Now, at ten-years-old, Nuno lives in the Upper West Side with a new family. He loves to “yap as if he were singing too” when the couple's daughter has singing lessons.
Leo was not quite eight months old when his family brought him to HSNY for being “too strong.” Fortunately, Leo was a “super-smart” pup, so his new owners had no problem training the chocolate Labrador, now almost two. His owner Dan says: “I have a stressful job, but Leo greets me at the door and changes my mood as soon as I get home."
Yoko came to HSNY with two broken legs. The two-year-old Italian greyhound had incredibly brittle bones due to being malnourished by her owners. But, after six months of care, Yoko was placed in a family who could care for her fragile frame. She now lives in the Upper East Side, 10 minutes from Central Park. She's thriving and goes on a couple walks every day.
Hamilton, originally named Papi, was just two when he was saved from a kill shelter in Texas. Now the Chihuahua mix lives with an NYU student majoring in photography and history (her favorite founding father is Alexander Hamilton—hence the name change) and another adopted dog in the East Village. His owner Caroline says: “He’s my best friend, my comic relief, my pup in shining armor, my real-life Alexander Hamilton.”
Finn, a purebred long-haired Chihuahua, was given up by his owner before he even turned two. Richard Phibbs (the book's photographer) says: “When I put him on the platform to be photographed, it was an instant connection.” Despite the fact Phibbs didn't want a toy dog, Finn's spunkiness made a lasting impression. The two are inseparable now.
Cedric, a cockapoo, ended up at the HSNY when he was just a five-month-old pup. Even though his breed is hypoallergenic, his family found themselves highly allergic and gave him up. Luckily, a couple adopted Cedric to serve as the “little brother” to their own six-year-old cockapoo Chloe. They all live in Hell’s Kitchen—though they frequent a second home in Miami—where they have plenty of parks and piers to run on.
Cookie was born with a tricky disorder—a soft, unprotected spot at the top of her skull, called an open fontanel. Fortunately, a vet adopted Cookie and her brother Taco at just 12-weeks-old to provide the special care necessary to prevent serious brain damage. "They were so adorable but so afraid,” she says. “As I held them in my lap, they calmed down and cuddled close. I had to honor their trust in me.”
Hugo, a terrier mix, survived a Caribbean kill shelter that asked HSNY to find homes for several dogs. His owners are smitten with the pup; they've even created an Instagram account for him. Together, they live in Hell’s Kitchen and have a circle of “dog people”—a group of owners who meet for play dates and walks with their dogs.