From the moment you bring your dog, cat, or other pet home from a shelter, you begin forming one of the most important bonds of your life.

But before the cuties make their way into your home, they snuggle their way into the hearts of volunteers like those focused on by photographer Jesse Freidin in his portrait project “Finding Shelter.” He was inspired to show the sweet connection between the incredible humans who donate their spare time and the animals who are given a second chance at happiness because of them.

Each black-and-white photo features a volunteer explaining in their own words what inspired them to make a difference.

Jesse and Picasso from Muttville in San Fransisco, CA

Jesse and Picasso from <a href="" target="_blank">Muttville</a> in San Fransisco, CA

“I volunteer to help senior dogs find their way through strange and scary times.”

Mari and Mark from Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame, CA

Mari and Mark from <a href="" target="_blank">Peninsula Humane Society</a> in Burlingame, CA

“My heart is full when I work with dogs; their needs are minimal, but they give so much joy.”

Sonya and Maude from BADRAP in Oakland, CA

Sonya and Maude from <a href="" target="_blank">BADRAP</a> in Oakland, CA

“…with all the experiences Ive had, and all the pit bulls Ive gotten to know, I can say: I love these dogs.

Emma, Sophie, Macy, and Jimmy from Farm Sanctuary in Acton, MA

Emma, Sophie, Macy, and Jimmy from <a href="" target="_blank">Farm Sanctuary</a> in Acton, MA

“I understand that every animal is unique, special, and important.”

Kaya and Knox from Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco, CA

Kaya and Knox from <a href="" target="_blank">Family Dog Rescue</a> in San Francisco, CA

“…I love seeing the dogs’ big, cute smiles on their faces when I give them a cuddle, kiss, or even a little treat…”

Paula and Neptune from spcaLA in Los Angeles, CA

Paula and Neptune from <a href="" target="_blank">spcaLA</a> in Los Angeles, CA

“His story is a perfect example of how helping animals is not just helping animals, but helping people, too.”

Tim and Rhonda from Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame, CA

Tim and Rhonda from <a href="" target="_blank">Peninsula Humane Society</a> in Burlingame, CA

“…the animals give me a lot more than I give them.”

Watch the video for a behind-the-scenes look at the project:


The project will soon be available in book form, something you can help make happen by heading over to the Finding Shelter Kickstarter page and making a donation. You can also check out the rest of the series (and stay tuned for more) on the project’s website.