A Delicate Trust

THIS PROJECT BEGAN at a small, wildlife rehabilitation center seventy-five miles north of Seattle, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, where injured, wild creatures come to finish their journeys or to start new ones. I’d gone there to document the delicate union that exists between humans and animals—to explore not just the places where our lives often intersect, like forests or parks, but the more intimate spaces where our emotions meet.

To gain the trust of the amazing people who worked there, I cleaned cages, fed and intubated animals, and gave medications. I struggled with harsh fluorescent lighting, limited time for picture taking during moments of crisis, and constant stress from sick and dying animals—all the while looking for moments of beauty around me. My goal was to capture the obligation we have to take care of these vulnerable animals.

Annie Marie Musselman’s work is dramatically inspired by the human-animal connection. She believes that true kinship with animals can transform our lives for the better. After spending two years helping rehabilitate an injured raven, she became focused on transcending this experience for others in her art. Her award-winning books chronicle this subject, including Finding Trust (Kehrer Verlag-2013), Wolf Haven (Sasquatch Books-2016), and Lobos: A Mexican Wolf Family Returns To The Wild (Sasquatch Books-2018).

Musselman’s work has appeared on the covers of Audubon, Smithsonian, and Outside magazine and inside The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and the New York Times among others.

Finding Trust received the German Photo Book award as well as one PDN’s selected books of the year.

Her work is represented by the Charles A. Hartman Gallery in Portland


  1. The photos depict people helping animals. Animals also help people–a theme for another presentation.

  2. thank you for sharing these heart warming/heart wrenching (poor animals) images. I live in Wisconsin, about three miles south of the Horicon Marsh. This is the 4th year a Canada Goose is unable to migrate with her/his buddies because of a broken wing. I don’t know where or how it survives the winters but it does. I feel so sorry for it and yet it endures. At this stage do I attempt to help it or allow it to continue to survive on its own? I am disabled and there is nothing I can do to even get near it. I just watch from a distance about the length of a football field and wish it well.

  3. Hi Oksana, If the Canadian goose has survived like this for four years then leaving the bird as is probably the best option. Especially if no one can approach it! However I’d like to put you in touch with a local rehabilitator to discuss the case in more specifics. If you email me at info@theiwrc.org I can provide you with contact information for a rehabilitator within an hour or two of Horicon Marsh.

    Kai – The IWRC

  4. that would be such an amazing experience. truly that threatened to bring tears to my eyes. i only wish this kind of care could be given to all the animals that need it.

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