For the next few months Rachel Buckley’s Photography will be displayed at Grassroots a Salon. Here is Rachel’s story behind the inspiration to this amazing collection and fundraising event:In October of 2010 I had the pleasure of traveling to Cancun, Mexico to work closely with Pet Project Rescue, a Minneapolis based rescue organization, documenting an annual Spay and Neuter Clinic that is hosted and organized by the amazing people of CANDI International, Isla Animals Rescue Shelter, and Achates Legacy Rescue Foundation. To say this experience changed me is an understatement. I witnessed a pure, unselfish love offered up to each and every animal. An unyielding level of commitment and determination towards a greater cause that exceeds anything I have ever seen before. It melted my heart that even in the worst conditions, often created by humans, trust and hope was still ever present in the animals that crossed our paths. It was so obvious to me that these animals clearly and simply wanted two things: to give love, and to receive it. And at the end of the day isn’t that what we as humans want as well?Volunteers worked ten-hour days (sometimes longer) in two vacant school buildings at a local school registering, vaccinating, de-ticking, operating, cleaning, and reviving animals. After five days we had spayed and neutered 600 animals! According to statistics one dog on average will have two litters of eight puppies a year and each of those offspring in turn will average the same. As a result, in one year that one dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs! It is unfathomable how many unwanted and neglected lives were prevented during the week of the clinic! Unwanted seems like a harsh word even now as I type this but the truth is that these animals aren’t seen as ‘pets’ at least not in the terms we are accustomed to here in America. They mostly live on the street, are “neighborhood” dogs or often are collected and utilized for home protection. Many die of diseases such as distemper and parvo. Those who do choose to keep puppies often release the animals once they are adults as they have lost their “cuteness” appeal. Spay and neutering on a personal level can cost a household $60-$100 per pet, an amount equal to a weeks salary for many people, and is simply not affordable. The wounds and diseases some of these dogs carry due to neglect and malnourishment caused many volunteers, including myself, to spend a few nights in tears.However, there is hope and I was witness to that as well. This clinic was marketed specifically for pet owners (although every day dozens of street dogs were taken in as well) and we were all pleasantly surprised by the turn out. A main goal of the clinic is to educate the locals (and in our case the school children) on how to keep the overpopulation of their animals under control and to ultimately prevent the spread of disease and unnecessary death. It was encouraging to see the school children playing with the animals and the owners waiting patiently for hours on end for the care of their pet. It was heartwarming to watch a young girl lovingly stroke the kitties as they came out of surgery (which she does every year when the clinic is in town) and witness two older ladies, having dressed their dogs up in colorful t-shirts), constantly bending over for doggie kisses. All of the puppies that did not have ‘owners’ found shelters throughout the United States and Canada. Not a single one was returned to the street thanks again to the commitment of these volunteers and shelter organizations. The whole experience; from the animals willingness to trust, the owners willingness to learn, and the organizers/volunteers willingness to devote their lives to this cause, has left me speechless. My only hope is that these photographs can express and evoke the emotions, love and commitment to this event and help in anyway possible the future endeavors and educational programs of these shelters. For more information go to:The money from the proceeds of the sale of Rachel’s Photography, Vande Walle’s candy bars, and homemade “doggie biscuit treats” made by our very own stylist, Eric Robert will be used to purchase vaccinations for this years clinic to stop the spread of disease and death.