Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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I have always admired companion animals, and several years ago I decided to volunteer at a shelter in New York City. By law the animals there had to be killed if they were not adopted within a short period of time. So I started taking photographs of the animals and posting them on social media. I wanted to convey their unique personalities as well as their loneliness and fear. Almost immediately the adoption rate at the shelter increased.
I no longer volunteer at the shelter, but I hope my photos can still raise awareness of the fact that the majority of animals in such facilities are put to death. These beautiful, abandoned creatures deserve to live out their lives in loving homes.
The photographs appear in my book Animal Shelter Portraits, which is out of print but available online as an e-book at facebook.com/theACCbook.
— Mark Ross
© Mark Ross
After reading Nancy Matson’s essay about working in an animal shelter [“Dirty Work,” May 2017], I wasn’t ready to turn the page and look at Mark Ross’s “Animal Shelter” photos.
Then Grover, a shelter cat I adopted several years ago, jumped into my lap and started purring. His affection was just what I needed as I took in those sad faces. It was almost as if Grover were thanking me.
Mark Ross’s photo essay “Animal Shelter” [May 2017] reminded me of when I went to an Oklahoma City humane shelter to get a kitten for my son and ended up leaving with an overweight two-year-old cat. The people at the shelter told me she was supposed to have been put down the day before, but they couldn’t bring themselves to do it, because she’d purred when touched. They extended her life for one more day. I kept her until she died at the age of sixteen.