SCARRED — Four&Sons
Community, Photography


Hounds’ tales of heartbreak and hope by photographer Mathias Mensch.



Every dog has a story. In a perfect world, they’d be stories of endless belly rubs, fetch-filled afternoons and time spent lounging in patches of sun. But for an untold number of dogs, life has been a rough road. In his portrait series ‘Scar Dogs’, photographer Mathias Mensch shines a light on a handful of hounds who landed in dog shelters—some rescued from abuse and neglect, others due to behavioral problems—each bearing battle scars, physical and emotional, yet ready for love and life.

Weasel, a pitbull missing one eye and most of his teeth, was used as a fighting dog. While his devastating treatment led, understandably, to behavioural problems, there’s much more to Weasel than meets the eye: ‘His scars do not deceive his original disposition, which is friendly, cheerful and cuddly,’ tells Mensch. Then there’s Bodi, a doberman crossbreed whose unpredictability around children saw him handed repeatedly to animal shelters. But rather than consign dogs like Weasel and Bodi to a life in shelters or euthanasia, Mensch believes—and aims to show through his art—that every dog can thrive given the opportunity and the right care: “For example, Bodi needs an individual with a lot of experience with sensitive breeds; someone who can recognise and show him his limits, even if it gets uncomfortable, and give him his freedom.”

‘Scar dogs’ teach us to appreciate life, says Mensch: “Gratitude is very noticeable in dogs with a history of suffering. They value being helped and feeling better, which isn’t always the case with people. Dogs don’t give up, whether they’re missing a leg, their teeth or an eye, their instinct to play and interact with others is always there.”

All images courtesy of Mathias Mensch



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