As he recounted to AOL.com, "I was taking pictures, doing portraits of dogs, in order to get them homes. That's the purpose of the pictures, right? And when I started to do it four years ago, it proved to be [super effective] -- there was a great success rate, more traffic at the shelter, and the dogs were adopted more smoothly and quickly."
However, despite him never predicting it, you can see 60-plus of Phibbs' pup portraits in his new book, "Rescue Me," out October 25 -- and the way the project came about is a perfect example of how successful Phibbs' efforts can be.
"Aperture approached me -- after the executive director of [the publishing company] adopted his dog from a picture he had seen. So he came and approached me and said, 'Would you consider doing a book?' That's how it all sort of unfolded," Phibbs explained.
Phibbs' Instagram is full of his animal portraits, but get a small taste below:
Richard Phibbs' Dog Portraits
Richard Phibbs' Dog Portraits
"I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons."--Will Rogers This sweet dog is homeless. Danny is a 4 year old Husky who is recovering from heartworm disease. He was surrendered by his family who could no longer care for him. To meet sweet Danny contact @humanesocietyny #adoptdontshop #bekindtoanimals #RescueMeTheBook
This sweet special dog is homeless. Of the hundreds of dogs I have photographed there are a few that have deeply touched my heart. This is one of them. Christopher is a 12-year-old toy poodle whose history we are not quite sure of but what we do know is that he has been severely neglected. The good news is that he is now in the loving arms of the angels of the HSNY. He is blind and deaf and had to have one eye removed due to an untreated infection. He is just now beginning to put on weight. What is so inspiring and moving about Christopher is the love and light that this beautiful being radiates. To be in his presence feels like a special honor. The inspiring president of the HSNY, Virginia Chipurnoi, when speaking about Christopher says "...that sweet boy...so from another world." To meet Christopher contact @humanesocietyny #adoptdontshop #bekindtoanimals #RescueMeTheBook "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched--they must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller
This dog is homeless. Yoda is an older guy who was surrendered to the HSNY. His family had undergone some changes and he was not included in their plan. He is a Yorkshire Terrier who is full of personality and love. To meet Yoda contact @humanesocietyny #bekindtoanimals #adoptdontshop #RescueMeTheBook "Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil, jealousy or discontent."--Milan Kundera
This dog is homeless. He is a sweet boy who just wants one good friend to take care of him. He is a pretty big guy for being a Chihuahua but a gentle man.To meet Jodey contact @humanesocietyny #bekindtoanimals #adoptdontshop #RescueMeTheBook "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."--Mark Twain
This dog is homeless. She is a 4 year old terrier mix who was found wandering around Manhattan. She did not have a microchip so her family could not be found.She loves to play and she loves all dogs. To meet sweet Veronica contact @humanesocietyny #adoptdontshop #bekindtoanimals "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." --Dalai Lama
This dog is homeless. He is a 2 pound three year old Chihuahua. This tiny guy is beyond sweet. To meet Jonathan contact @humanesocietyny "Mankind's cruelty and abuse to other people will not cease until mankind ceases cruelty and abuse to other animals."--A.D. Williams. #bekindtoanimals #adoptdontshop
This dog is homeless. This sweet guy is a five year old Dachshund/Chihuahua mix. His owner moved and he was not part of their plan. He must have been so overwhelmed at being left behind he had a seizure about one hour later. He has since adapted to the caring and healing sleep-away-camp energy of the HSNY and he hasn't had any more seizures since. Of the hundreds of shelter dogs that I have photographed...this sweet and gentle guy shines bright. To see for yourself and meet Timothy contact @humanesocietyny #adoptdontshop #bekindtoanimals #rescuemethebook "To love beauty is to see light."--Victor Hugo
This dog is homeless. Rebecca Louise is a sweet and friendly Beagle and she is waiting for her life to change--again. Originally adopted from a college for veterinary technicians, which keeps dogs for a semester while students learn by nursing them before finding the dogs at home, the female beagle had security until the woman who adopted her became too ill to care for her. After some medical treatment provided by the HSNY she is now ready for her forever home. To meet this very loving and kind sweetheart contact @humanesocietyny #bekindtoanimals #adoptdontshop thx @uncs.rich "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."--Mark Twain
This dog is homeless. Alexander is a one year old Rat Terrier. He is a sweet guy with lots of energy. The breed gets their name from Theodore Roosevelt. His dog named Skip did such a great job of clearing the White House of a rat problem that he named the breed the Rat Terrier. They are very loving and loyal. If you have the energy and time for a dog that needs lots of cardio Alexander is the dog for you. To meet this cute guy contact @humanesocietyny #adoptdontshop #bekindtoanimals " Believe you can and you're halfway there."--Theodore Roosevelt
One of the sweetest and happiest dogs in the world was found isolated and tied to a tree in a back alley outside of Tulum,Mexico. She was malnourished and sick and after several negotiations with her owner she was rescued . For the next six weeks she was in the medical care of an angel of a vet in Tulum Once she was strong enough to be vaccinated and had enough chemotherapy to to dissolve a growth in her reproductive system she was escorted to nyc. So many people have helped Cosita on her journey. Dozens of loving and caring people. Yesterday Cosita left her residency at the The Humane Society of New York and went to her forever home. We wanted a very special home for Cosita where she would never be alone, a place where she could feel safe and feel loved, and where she could be the only dog in the house so she would be the focus of so much love and attention for the rest of her life. This was realized. This is a story where the kind forces of many people turned utter darkness into a big bright light. Cosita now lives on the upper East side of NYC with a family that loves and adores her.
Special thanks to all of the angels @humanesocietyny @alfiwalls @therecipegrinder @harriganlola @greenisgood_ @andy_churchill_ @trephoto @maxdworkin @olafderlig @theredfoxxx @teddy3399 @chika_kobari @melodybrynner @jordanshipenberg
This sweet dog is HOMELESS. She is a 10 year old Spaniel mix who was so severely neglected that she could not walk on her own. Apparently she had lived under a bed and that her severely matted coat prevented her mobility. The happy news is that she is in the care of the angels at the HSNY and she will never have to experience that utter darkness ever again. Understandably she is shy and cautious but everyday she is becoming the sweet dear pup that she was always meant to be. Please know that this special girl will be in a safe place surrounded by the loving and caring angels at the HSNY until she has found a home that will treasure and love her for the rest of her life. To meet Cecilia contact @humanesocietyny "Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog the world will change forever."--K.Davidson #bekindtoanimals #adoptdontshop
This dog is homeless. No one intended to leave this sweet guy homeless or force him to go years without medical care. Bill, an English Bulldog, was two when he was given to a family. They treasured him for three years until they had to move and couldn't take a dog along. They placed Bill with the family's grandparents but unfortunately they were too ill and also could not afford to take Bill to the veterinarian. When he arrived to the Humane Society of New York, Bill had heartworm disease and needed five months of treatment and rest. Now cured, Bill has a friendly, funny disposition. He's patiently waiting to go to his forever home. To meet Bill contact @humanesocietyny #bekindtoanimals #adoptdontshop "Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent."--Milan Kundera
This dog is homeless. Gizmo is a super friendly Shih Tzu. His family moved and he was not part of their plan. He needed lots of medical attention once her arrived to the HSNY but now he is ready for his forever home. He is hypoallergenic and house trained. To meet this sweet guy contact @humanesocietyny "All The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming."--Helen Keller #bekindtoanimals #bekindtoanimals
This dog is homeless. Bianca is a friendly Shih Tzu. Her original owners moved and this sweet little girl was not included in their plans. She came to the HSNY needing medical attention but now she is well and up for adoption. She is hypoallergenic and house-trained. To meet Bianca contact @humanesocietyny "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."--Will Rogers. #bekindtoanimals #adoptdontshop
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While each and every dog's story in "Rescue Me" will undoubtedly tug at your heartstrings (the majority of the featured pooches have found forever homes), one dog's journey in particular touched Phibbs himself.
One of my favorites is Little Lowell. He was a dog that was found in a carrier left on the street on a really hot day. He had been in this carrier we don't know for how long. The police found him and they didn't know even what kind of animal it was. And if you saw the pictures of this guy before, it's heartbreaking. But what's so amazing is his rehabilitation and his recovery. So his picture is really special to me and important, because I was so determined to give Little Lowell the dignity that he deserved.
And the best part is Little Lowell has his only Instagram, so I can see how his life is now, and he has the most amazing family.
You can see Little Lowell and learn more about him in the new book.
Not only does Phibbs have a special connection to Little Lowell, but he also ended up rescuing one of the other dogs he photographed, named Finn. Take a peek at the cutie:
At the end of the day, Phibbs' ultimate hope for the book is simple: "Photography has this ability to speak the truth. And I think these photographs speak the truth. And what I hope people do is that they see this book and are more enlightened of the value of shelter dogs and the value of all living beings."
And now that he's has ventured into the publishing world, he doesn't seem to be turning back.
"I have a huge volume of cats as well, I have hundreds of cats. We can certainly do a cat book as well."