Forgotten Dogs of The 5th Ward Project

I’ve had my eye on her for months.  Ever since she heard of the white boxer at the cemetery that we were unable to catch…she wrote me right away…said if I could find a foster, she was on her way out there to assess the situation. So many rescuers…but she’s different. A dog whisperer, perhaps. Call her what you want… but the bottom line is she’s got freaky skills & her gifts are called upon for the toughest of cases.

A retired nurse & modest woman…become independent rescuer…just minding her own biz…but now on a mission to save & protect “The Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward” in Houston.

Meet Kelle Mann Davis. RockStar.

It happened pretty quickly… I mentioned that I’d love to spend the day with her sometime…& after I convinced her it didn’t matter how icky her car was…she said, “how about tomorrow if it doesn’t rain?”

4 of us went in Kelle’s car at noon today…met on the east side of town. They had a list of things they wanted to accomplish. First up was a call from Barrio Dogs about 3 puppies near a ravine. The man that heard them crying was supposed to meet us there…but he was nowhere to be found. So, we started walking. Should have worn my boots today…

We were walking a couple of stories above the ravine…it was terribly steep…i’d say close to 90 degrees…& the dirt was mud…you get the idea. The thought of them being close to the water scared me…had no idea how we’d pull that off without being in serious danger.

Then they made some noise…2 lil’ shits in the bushes. Aren’t they cute? They came over pretty quickly when the food came out. But, that was just 2 out of 3 puppies…

The puppies were eating & we turned around to see a skeleton of a dog in the distance. Kelle walked in his direction…they met each other half way…he was a friendly guy. He got a meal out of one of the many bags of food in Kelle’s trunk. This continued to happen throughout the day…dogs appearing out of nowhere…TONS of them.

And then we were off the find puppy #3…

There was an abandoned bridge about 1/4 mile up the road. It all happened really quickly… I heard a peep, looked over…& I couldn’t believe what I saw!

I turned around to call for Kelle…& this is what I saw… A neighborhood street…with people walking & cars passing…right next to a dead dog on the road. It’s commonplace in these parts of town. Very sad…but true.

Also wanted to show you…on the left side of photo is where the walkway towards the puppy is.

Without 1 ounce of hesitation Kelle was running for the bridge. As soon as the puppy saw Kelle, her tail began to wag!

Can you even believe this shit?? And btw…it was a miracle in itself that my 50mm lens captured this…no telephoto today.

Then she friggin’ swoops down & grabs the baby!!! Sherry was waiting for Kelle to pass her up. Unbelievable!!!

So, our first mission was just about over… Insane!

So, then the guy who originally found the puppies showed up with a crate. The next puppy came out of the bushes & Kelle got him pretty quick. The 3rd & final puppy was a different story… Let’s just say he gave her a run for her money. But all ended well. And this gentleman took all 3 home to foster temporarily through Barrio Dogs, Inc.

Then the ice cream truck showed up. Totally weird. So, the girls got Kelle a creamsicle for her troubles. HaHa. We were soon off to make the rounds. Here’s one guy that Kelle visits weekly…she knows the owners & drops off dog food.

We went to visit Oleta. She’s 90 years old & told Kelle she’d like to sign a form that would give Kelle rights to her dogs if anything should happen to her. Unfortunately, she wasn’t in the mood to discuss today…she had just rec’d bad news from the doctor’s office…

Please don’t let all this work be in vain. I am an animal advocate before I am a photographer. So, I hope these photos inspire you to reach out & do more. Your skills can fit in somewhere in the animal welfare community…I promise… If making a donation is how you’d like to contribute…then you may do so here:

Bringing you these dog stories takes precious time and resources. It's important to me, and I'll do it no matter what. But your small donation — even $1 or $2 — goes a long way toward helping me maintain my website and continue to invest my time and energy into helping give voice to these animals who so desperately need one.

robyn arouty