This photographer has taken lockdown portraits of dogs and their owners

Thank god for dogs right now

9th June 2020

Willie Runte, from Gledhow in Leeds, credits his dog Suki for keeping him sane during lockdown  “by making me stick to her routines, exercise and, surprisingly, meet new people”.

Missing the creativity and socialising that came with work, the commercial photographer began asking other dog walkers if he could take their portraits.

“I didn’t expect to have many people interested but people kept saying yes,” he says.

He says he met people who were fostering dogs, borrowing them for a while and people who “are completely in love with their own dogs and would vouch for being the best cure for sadness”.

He says: “I think dogs and pets in general have played a very important part during the lockdown. While walking my dog I met a few people living alone who had their pet as their only companion and were really grateful for having them in this period.

“The simple act of owning a dog makes you walk more, even on raining days, get away from screens (something most of us do way too much) and have emotional support available at all times.  The bond you make with a dog fills up a lot of emptiness.”

He hopes the project will encourage people to adopt dogs, but has just been happy to stay creatively busy during a difficult time for everyone.

“I was lucky to have a dog to break the conversation barrier with total strangers.

“I ended up getting to know a lot of incredibly nice and friendly people that I would never have spoken to otherwise,” he adds.

You can see more of Willie Runte’s portraits on his website and on Instagram.

9th June 2020