When it comes to relationships, some are stronger than others. We find different forms of companionship in different people, and even if relationships don’t last forever, they all leave their respective marks. But one kind of bond leaves a mark that can’t be replicated.
It’s easy to think about the relationships between people and their dogs in black-and-white terms, but they’re usually far more complex than that. Conventional thought dictates that humans are the caretakers in these scenarios, but our dogs often care for us just as much in return. That is exactly what inspired photographer Robert Stoetzel to capture the exchange that happens between humans and the dogs that stand by them every day. Through a project called Human + Hound, Stoetzel celebrates that bond in the best way.
“It’s interesting to hear how people came to find their dogs and learn how they’ve changed each other’s lives,” he writes. “People are their truest, happiest selves when they’re with their dogs, and I love being able to capture that!”
When he runs into people and their canine companions, he asks them to talk about what makes their best friends so special. Whether simple or profound, their comments speak volumes about how powerful these relationships can be.
“Ghost is 9 months old. I’ve had him since he was 4 months old. He was never going to be small!”
Muhammad + Ghost — Midtown Manhattan
“Major’s the gallery greeter! Everyone knows him.”
Mo + Major — Louisville, Kentucky
“We’re best buds!”
Emily, Allan + Frankie — Time’s Square, Manhattan
“He teaches me how to be patient all the time, since he’s still a baby and we’re learning together.”
Betty + Little Bill — NoHo, Manhattan
“He’s 11 years old, and he just got back from Spain and Italy.”
Greg + Oscar — Williamsburg, Brooklyn
“I started dressing him up mainly to keep his feet from getting dirty, but then he got used to it.”
Ryan + Shaggy — Union Square, Manhattan
“I just moved here from Florida a year ago, away from my immediate family. I still get really lonely sometimes, so I decided to get myself a dog! He’s been with me for about 5 months now, and he helps me with the loneliness.”
Yair + Cooper — West Village, Manhattan
“These kids crack me up! I can barely get off the ramp before they’re on the board and ready to go!”
Suzanne + Claire & Edie — Bellport, New York
“He’s an 11-year-old Australian shepherd, beagle, husky mix. We come down to the beach because the exercise is good for him. It’s good for all of us!”
Dennis + Joey — Bayhead, New Jersey
“Bean is my best friend, my boss, my rock. He’s the inspiration behind both of our brands, and he lights up my life every day with his wiener dog ways!”
Claire + Bean — Williamsburg, Brooklyn
“She loves the snow. She won’t even walk on the sidewalk. She likes to check out every footprint!”
Susan + Lucy — Williamsburg, Brooklyn
“He saved my life while dealing with a bad separation.”
David + Hopper — Manhattan
So who’s really caring for whom? Sure, we feed them, rub their bellies, and view them as family, but they do way more for us than meets the eye.