On the road — Four&Sons

On the road

Theron Humphrey and his coonhound copilot, Maddie, are road-tripping across America again, this time to capture adoption stories on photo and film for his new project, Why We Rescue.


On the road

Maddie might be the most famous dog in America. Theron Humphrey discovered his coonhound—the namesake of the book Maddie on Things—was a star during his year-long, cross-country photo tour for This Wild Idea, when Maddie started standing on things. On bicycles, basketball hoops…even people.

The dogs in Humphrey’s new documentary project, Why We Rescue, may not be able to defy gravity, but each one stood out at shelters from Maryland to Mississippi, and got their wiggly butts adopted. The photographer is once again road-tripping across the US of A with his canine copilot, this time filming bite-sized segments of people sharing their adoption stories.

There’s Lindsay Cummings’ English bulldog, Mikey, spurned and starved by a previous owner. But one wouldn’t know it by looking at the portly boy, who now wheels around Baltimore in his Radio Flyer wagon. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number for Gitesh Gohel, who rescued Woody from Oldies But Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue in Virginia. Brooklyn couple Sabine and Greg Gurtz’s scruffy mutt, Jack, was once a stray on the streets in China!

Humphrey has found that the people are as unique as their pets. Stephen Calsbeek of Georgia, for one, put a lot of thought into dubbing the four-legged members of his family: Triple Coupon Thursday (Blue pitbull), Samurai Zeti (Boston terrier), Otto Spaghetti and Jedediah Whitebeard Shanks (cats). But New York firefighter Steve Sietos has put his all into Wilma, a flaxen-colored pitbull who wandered into his firehouse a few years ago. Wilma suffers from a number of rare ailments—which cause her paws to bleed and her tongue to clumsily flop from the side her mouth—so Sietos mastered herbal medicine to painstakingly treat his best girl.

Eschewing hackneyed, heartbreaking tales of past abuse, Why We Rescue focuses instead on the present, capturing the heartwarming bond between adopter and adoptee. If you’ve got a story to tell, Humphrey and Maddie are currently en route to Ann Arbor, Michigan…

Photography by Theron Humphrey

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