Thank you for submitting to the "Why We Love Pets" assignment. As I was looking through your photos, I realized this assignment shares thematic similarities to the other Your Shot assignment I was curating at the same time, "The Gift of Life." Both invited you to reflect on gratitude. Both encouraged you to think about something special in your life. Both asked you to make me care about your story.
There were a lot of images of animals submitted; however, this assignment asked you to share why we love pets— not why we like animals. Think about it: the relationship we have with pets is completely different from our interactions with animals. For this final story, I wanted to feature photos that made me feel the reasons we love pets. Then, I looked for compelling captions that share stories to further help me appreciate why we love pets.
When I interned at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the director of photography would always say the same thing before he looked at my photos from the day’s assignments: “Make me care, David Lee.” This assignment is called “Why We Love Pets,” and the key word in this phrase is “why.” The “why” reveals the heart of the relationship we have with pets; the “why” is the reason you refer to your dog, cat, horse, fish, etc. as a pet and not as an animal. The photos selected for this final story reveal the “why.” I hope this recognition inspires you the next time you’re out shooting, and the next time you submit to a Your Shot assignment. Make me care, Your Shot community. Make me understand the “why.”
David Y. Lee
National Geographic Partners Associate Photo Editor
Before joining the Your Shot team, David covered the White House for Time and Newsweek, and served as an official photographer for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also started The Waiting List, a non-profit storytelling project humanizing the statistics of organ donation.