Brandon Stanton's dog Susie was the inspiration behind an organization that promotes the adoption of senior dogs.
Humans Of New York photographer Brandon Stanton is known for giving a voice to individuals he encounters on the streets of New York City, and has been praised for sharing impactful stories that illuminate the human condition. But his dog Susie, who died a few weeks ago, had a mission of her own, and an impact that may have been just as big.
Susie was already 12 years old when she came into Stanton's life. He first noticed the dog while photographing in Brooklyn about five years ago. The little dog was sitting on a stoop and, as he sat petting her, her owner told Stanton that he was unable to care for her any longer, and asked if Stanton could take her. Though he was broke at the time and sleeping on a friend's couch, Stanton said yes.
"...Everyone that I asked told me that it was 'not the right time' for a dog," Stanton wrote in his Facebook tribute to Susie. "But I was so charmed by Susie, and the whole encounter seemed so fated, that I offered to take her. It was one of the best decisions I ever made."
Susie was Stanton's first dog, and she introduced him to the unconditional love dogs have for their people. Over the last few years Susie also developed a special bond with Stanton's fiancé, Erin O'Sullivan, and served as the inspiration for the creation of Susie's Senior Dogs, a nonprofit organization that promotes the adoption of older dogs.
Since there is such a high demand for puppies, older dogs have a harder time getting adopted and are often euthanized or forced to spend the rest of their lives in shelters or foster homes. However, over the past few years, Susie's Senior Dogs has placed several hundred senior dogs into loving, forever homes.
"Susie was a gift and she has certainly spurred a movement bigger than she'll ever know," O'Sullivan wrote in her own tribute to Susie, on the Susie's Senior Dogs Facebook page.
Thousands of people commented on the posts and shared their own pet stories. Many said that Susie was their inspiration for adopting an older pet.
"She was my introduction to the love of dogs," Stanton wrote. "And she helped Erin discover her purpose in life. So in a way she's going to stick around forever."
All images via Facebook/Susie's Senior Dogs