Rescue dogs

Photographer Captures Powerful Bond Between LGBTQ Community and Their Rescue Dogs

The bond between a pet and its owner is special – and a local photographer explores how powerful the bond can be between the LGBTQ community and their rescue dogs.

Saturday marked the first day of Transgender Awareness Week, and the don’t you want me The project kicks off, examining the powerful bond between trans and queer people and their rescue dogs, through compelling photos.

The photo project aims to share some of the unique journeys humans share with their fur babies and the impact this has had on their lives as they transition and grow together.

“The rescue dog has been through this difficult situation and once he is safe, he transforms,” said Jack Jackson, co-founder of the project.

“All those anxieties and fears, those assaults are gone, and it’s the same for some people in the project.”

Marcy, a Chihuahua, entered Lucas Silveira’s life a year after his divorce. The trans singer-songwriter said she gave him a reason to get up in the morning and take care of him so he could protect her. (Submitted by Jack Jackson)

Jackson moved to Canada 10 years ago from a small island in the Channel. Leaving his career in finance, Jackson, who experienced transphobia as a trans man, was unemployed before finding photography and beginning to photograph dogs, as well as the queer and trans community.

“I was not well, it was a very difficult time and I found myself completely alone,” he said. Then he saved his dog Jet.

“What kept me going and moving was Jet,” Jackson said.

He then began capturing other rescue dogs and their owners.

Stella, who identifies as a pansexual woman, said Jada was a big factor in helping her get clean and sober. “She changed my life and I can’t thank her enough,” she says. (Submitted by Jack Jackson)

“The project isn’t just about mental health or vulnerability…it’s also about stories of transformation,” Jackson said. “It’s about giving inspiration and giving hope to young people.”

One of the pet owner relationships captured in the project is Lucas Silveira and his pet Chihuahua, Marcy. Marcy came into her life five years ago, about a year after her divorce.

Silveira, a Canadian singer-songwriter with The Cliks, is also the first trans man to sign a major record deal. It’s clear: Marcy saved him.

At the time, an old friend of Silveira’s who could no longer keep her dog called him to tell him that she had to give him Marcy.

“I love Chihuahuas,” Silveira said. “I was going through a really, really tough time…through a lot of depression, not only because of my divorce, but also the transition can be really difficult at times. It’s been an amazing journey since then, to be reborn and re-learn who I am. .”

From left to right: Amie, Diana, Nassau, Kyle, Nacho. “As two queer women of color, we experience so much invalidation from society – whether it’s for our gender, our sexual orientation, our race…or a combination of the three…Nassau is the only thing in our life that bears absolutely zero judgment.’ (Submitted by Jack Jackson)

Silveira struggles with agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear places or situations that could cause you to panic or make you feel trapped or helpless – something that has intensified for him during the pandemic. Without Marcy, who earned emotional support dog certification two months ago, he said he would have no reason to continue.

“She has been incredibly supportive and life saving to be honest,” Silveira said. “If it wasn’t for her, I would have no reason to get up in the morning, I would have no reason to make sure I took care of myself so I could protect her.”

the don’t you want me project can be found online. A traveling exhibit will also be on display at Pet Valu stores across Canada.

“Shortly after I had Kulu I had superior surgery and she was spayed – we were both healing together…we both understand trauma and we both thrive when we have safety and confidence. She was adjusting to life in the city after the operation and I was growing into my new body. We did it together, side by side,” says Nanook, left. (Submitted by Jack Jackson)