In the stunning collection called Lifelines, photographer Norah Levine and audio producer Gabrielle Amster, along with the Animal Trustees of Austin’s 4Paws Program, captured voices that are rarely heard and faces that are rarely truly seen. They profiled homeless people and their pets. Below you’ll find the inspiring photographs and thoughts on companionship, loyalty and love.
“I like the word companion better. They are like your best friends. Friends come and go and people come and go but like I’ll always have my dog. You can have my backpack. You can have all my money. You can have whatever I have but it doesn’t matter because I’ll always have my dog… Everything will be okay as long as I have Dixie.”
“She comes first, before I do. I always make sure she’s got food, water. I carry two backpacks. One’s mine. And I carry a second one that’s full with nothing but stuff that belongs to her. You can’t judge somebody because they live out here. I’ve had people look at me and say ‘ah man you neglect your dog.’ And then they get to looking at her and they see how big and healthy she is and they change their mind. They can’t believe she’s that healthy with me living out here on the streets.”
“I’ve never had a dog like me. I like dogs but they don’t seem to like me but she just, she loves me from the beginning.”
“I was sleeping up in the stairwell of a parking garage and went into a bad seizure and a mild heart attack. And I fell underneath the stairs, nobody knew I was there. Charlie starting running up and down the stairs until security grabbed his leash and from what I was told, he dragged them to where I was at. That makes the bond greater knowing that I’m not alone out here. He’s always gonna be there. And I think he thinks the same thing cause he knows that I’m never gonna leave him. I’m always gonna be here. Without Charlie, there is nothing. I love him. He means my life. And I would give my life for him.”
“But like me and most people that have dogs, the dog is everything to me. She is with me 24/7. She’s first. Whatever she needs, she gets it. She tends to make people smile. She just brings a lot of joy to everybody, everybody she is in contact with. She is a blessing to me. She’s my heart, you know. She’s there for me.”
“They are my little babies so I gotta make sure that they’re alright. They are always someone to talk to even on my worst days they are always there to make me happy. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have my pets. I didn’t really plan to have four cats and two dogs. I guess you could say they are the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“I picture my future in an apartment, you know stable, going to work, going to work for her. I’m not only getting my things together for me, my dog I love to death. She’s my precious, precious girl. I tell her every day, ‘I love you, Mimi.'”
“Being out here is very stressful, very very stressful. It’s very rarely where you are able to just sit back and have a puppy just lick your face and make you feel better…She’s the one that made our family out here. She’s the one that adopted everyone else.”
“He had been born the night before and I remember the next day I was looking at him and I was looking at him, and I was like that’s my puppy, that’s my son.”
“He has been the best thing that ever happened to me…I had nothing left to live for before I had him. He’s my life. He’s everything I got. He’s my boy. I will never leave my baby alone and I will never not give him love. He’s my right-hand man.”
“If I had to get off of the road for the rest of the my life to take care of my dog, I would do that because the love I have for her. She’s my angel, she’s my god, she’s everything. If I lost her, it would kill every piece of me. I love here with all my heart, everything.”
Be sure to check out the full post, including the audio clips.