Rescue dogs

Photo project celebrates ‘inspirational’ connections between LGBTQ people and rescue dogs – Calgary

There’s a new way for Calgarians to celebrate pets and their people this week, as a photographer tours the city and focuses on how rescue dogs can end up saving their owners.

Toronto photographer Jack Jackson captures images for his Canada-wide project, “Don’t You Want Me.”

“To participate in the project, you must be LGBTQ, you must have a rescue dog, and you must have a transformation story,” Jackson said.

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Jackson met Calgarian Kylee Roman and her dog Honey for a photo shoot at the Peace Bridge on the Bow River.

“I deal with a lot of anxiety and Honey has really helped me with that,” Roman said. “Being able to look after someone else and have to go out every day is a huge mental health boost.”

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Jackson’s Traveling Photographic Exhibit is in Calgary until Saturday, June 10 at the Pet Valu store in the Sunridge area.

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“We’re just telling these stories and celebrating the transformations these people have made because a rescue dog, something that’s not wanted, came into their lives,” Jackson said.

The Calgary exhibit is the fifth leg of the exhibit tour, which visits a total of six Canadian cities.

“Members of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s very, very touching to see what they’ve been through,” said Pet Valu store owner Rhonda MacKenzie. “How a dog’s unconditional love can profoundly impact their life in such a positive way.”

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Jackson says the project is one of the highlights of his photography career.

“It’s great to be able to reach people across Canada,” said Jackson. “They’re so inspiring, life changing, so it’s just a complete celebration.”

Roman says she feels lucky that she and Honey were able to be part of the project.

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“Being queer, you save each other and help save each other and you know you’re both valid,” Roman said.

“You save a dog and that’s fine, but they end up saving you.”

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