Why We Rescue
By Kimberley Coughlin
March 27, 2014


Of the fifty images on WhyWeRescue.com the first image I clicked was Aurther Gilbert’s. When the page loaded I was surprised to hear Aurther’s voice as he started to tell the story of how he wound up in Arkansas with just over three dozen pets; I was immediately immersed in his story.

Photographer Theron Humphrey is the man behind the lens, capturing the images and recording these stories. He is a champion of shelter dogs across the country. According to the “About” section of his website, “Why We Rescue is a yearlong story-telling documentary that is traversing across all 50 states highlighting how pets transform our lives for the better.” The images are beautiful and tell the story of not only the animals, but the families they belong to as well.

Charise and David opened the doors of their adorable Delaware home to speak primarily about their dog Olive (although they do have a cat as well). Of the pair, David was the dog enthusiast and it took some convincing to get Charise to go along with it. After the adjustment period it’s clear that both Charise and David are committed to Olive: “she is very connected to us.”

Another image that caught my eye was of Philip Kim with his 10 year-old rabbit named Luca. He also has an 8 year-old pit-bull named Sienna who Kim credits with grounding him and lowering his stress level at a hectic time in his life.

These stories and the 47 others curated on the site paint a captivating portrait of pet ownership. Humphrey asks about his subjects background, their personal history with animals, what brought them together with the animals they have now, and, perhaps most importantly, what advice they would give to someone looking to adopt or rescue. Humphrey partnered with Purina ONE because Purina, “believes the best way to help shelter pets is to shine a light on what makes them so wonderful.”

Unfortunately, shelter animals are often viewed as being inferior in terms of health or behavior, a stigma which Humphrey believes is the mean reason “that roughly three out of four people acquiring a new pet aren't considering adoption from a shelter.” Hopefully Humphrey’s work will help correct these misperceptions and find more shelter animals their forever homes.