The year the Earth stood still. In late 2019, an epoch of our time would arrive in the form of a virus. This virus, COVID-19, would spread swiftly and brutally across the world in the early stages of 2020 and throughout the year that followed. This virus would ultimately steer humanity towards a global crisis of unprecedented reach, and would soon lead to a catastrophic death toll in the millions. Many would face the full brunt of anxiety, sadness, isolation, and despair. However, it is always darkest before the dawn. As vaccination rates rise and necessary safety procedures are being implemented throughout the country, humanity has endured an extraordinarily vigorous trial for the past year and a half. Although we are beginning to return to a sense of relative normalcy, we must also look back on those that have helped us through these troubling times. As countless individuals were separated from friends and family, many have turned to another unique member of the household for comfort: the canine. I am the Chief Storyteller of Dogs I Meet Pet Photography. Having all paid work come to an abrupt halt when the pandemic hit, I decided I would create a personal project. I chose to delve deep into the notion that dogs are the unsung heroes of the pandemic is a core aspect of what Tales of Support within Dogs I Meet is all about.
Built from the ground up, the humble beginnings of Tales of Support stem from a passion project. During the pandemic, I strived to document how dogs act as prime support companions for their humans, as well as to take note of the important role they play in sustaining their family members’ emotional needs throughout the era of COVID-19. During this time, I interviewed and photographed dozens of people and captured their stories and their respective bonds they shared with their dog. From this, Tales of Support would come to fruition. As I spent time interviewing different dog parents, it was apparent how essential the role of the family dog was during the pandemic. Essentially, they took on the role of that of a therapy dog during this unprecedented time of loneliness and tragedy. Undoubtedly, their wagging tails and endless capacity for love and affection would prove to be an incredibly effective tool for improving the mental health of their humans during these difficult times. During the pandemic, dogs across the world would act as beacons of light as opposed to the darkness COVID-19 has brought upon the world. Due to this, I made it my mission to share the many stories I have come across, and to be the voice for the dogs who support us along the way and are helping us through loss, isolation, fear, and the quarantine. The individuals interviewed for Dogs I Meet’s Tales of Support would all note how their lives would forever be positively altered by owning (and in many cases, adopting) a dog (or two) during the pandemic.
Ultimately, as the pandemic seemed to become our new normal for a while, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity of building Tales of Support from the ground up and expanding the Dogs I Meet organization. Within Dogs I Meet, I have also traveled to different countries, armed with a camera, with the goal of spurring support, creating awareness, and raising funds for the many animal rescue organizations in the world. I am grateful for the many people and dogs I have met along the way, and I will constantly strive to emphasize the notion that every dog has a tale.