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To the rescue of strays

Photographer Traer Scott documents the plight – and the promise – of street dogs in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Traer Scott rescued her first stray while on her honeymoon. She and her husband were in a cab in Antigua when she spied a scrawny Chihuahua mix on the street. The driver stopped, Scott opened the door, and the little dog hurled herself into Scott’s arms. Homeless dogs have been her concern ever since.

Last year, Scott published “Shelter Dogs,” a collection of photographs of dogs in shelters. This year, her new book is Street Dogs, 50-plus black-and-white photos of strays found in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

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“Street Dogs” aims to draw attention to the needs of abandoned dogs. Most are former pets and are friendly and eager to reestablish human relations. Scott found these dogs working in tandem with rescue groups, and many have since been adopted by US families.

In the back of the book are capsules telling the story of each dog. Many (although not all) have met with happy endings.

Skippy, a Corgi mix, was found lame and hungry behind a housing development in Puerto Rico. He lives today with a family in Massachusetts. Sugar, a beauty with two differently colored eyes, was found as a tiny puppy in a cardboard box in the back of a truck in Mexico. Her rescuer, a shelter operator, came to love her so much that she kept her as her own.

In addition to helping publicize the global problem of stray dogs, Scott also hopes her book tells the story of these dogs as individuals, each with a unique personality, and yet all sharing some essentially – and delightfully – canine qualities. Even in harsh conditions, many of these dogs demonstrate affection, friendly curiosity, helpfulness, and even playfulness. Some of the dogs band together to aid one another and to guard any of the group’s puppies. One pack of strays fought off violent assailants to protect a human rescuer.