No bones about it — it’s tough to be a dog in search of a forever home. At any given time, there are millions of them in shelters or rescues around the country, and, sadly, too many of them never find a family to care for them full time.
That’s why October is officially “Adopt-A-Dog-Month.” Over 30 years ago, the American Human Society began this event with the purpose of calling attention to the plight of dogs in shelters and to encourage people to save a life by rescuing a shelter pup.
If you’re ready to open your heart and your home to a dog in need, your local shelter or rescue group can help you to find a pooch that’s right for you. But even if you’re not in a position to adopt, there are plenty of ways to help out.
If you’re looking for ways to support your local shelter during Adopt-A-Dog-Month, or at any time of the year, you may have considered donating money or supplies or volunteering to spend time with the animals. But did you ever consider offering to photograph the dogs?
That’s right — especially now when people often turn to social media to help them in their search for a new furry family member — quality pictures of adoptable dogs can make a huge difference. A photo of a pooch that captures his personality can win the heart of potential adopters.
Much to the delight of adoption advocates, such as myself, a new wonderful trend is helping more pets get adopted in less time. Professional photographers are using their talents to create beautiful photos to help dogs get adopted. Here are a couple of their stories that are sure to make your tail wag!
Casting Adoptable Dogs in a New Light
In 2014, Hungarian artist, Sarolta Ban launched a project she named “Help Dogs With Images.” Sarolta, who started down the road of canine-inspired art when she created an image for her own rescue dog, wanted to do something to help dogs in shelters get noticed. So she accepted submissions of ordinary photos of adoptable dogs around the world. Using these as a starting point, Sarolta then created truly beautiful, surreal images of her canine subjects — sure to capture lots of attention!
It’s easy to see how images like these would stand out in a sea of ordinary adoption photos!
Sarolta’s project went beyond helping the dogs in the photos find homes. She also donated a portion of the sale of her images to the shelter that the dog was from.
Sophie Gamand is a French award-winning photographer and animal advocate who lives and works in New York. Sophie is fascinated by the human/dog relationship. She travels around the U.S. donating her time and expertise to shelters and rescue groups. Her hope is to encourage a more positive perception of these pups and to bring awareness to their plight.
In addition to photographing shelter dogs for free, Sophie’s series ,”Flower Power,” is aimed at combatting the negative prejudice surrounding pit bulls. She photographs pit bulls in shelters around the country, defying their tough, dangerous image and showcasing their sweet nature. She accomplishes this by taking pictures of them wearing crowns of flowers.
The result is absolutely fur-bulous! She has created over 500 of these pit bull portraits since 2014, and many of her subjects are now enjoying life in their new forever homes.
Showcase Your Own Rescue Mutt
If you’re like me, all of these amazing dog photos have gotten you thinking, “I want some pictures like that of my dog!” Highlighting your own rescued pets with beautiful pictures or paintings displayed in your home can help make your decor both stylish and meaningful. Not to mention it’s a great conversation starter, as many visitors are sure to notice and ask about them! Sharing your own rescue story just could give someone the inspiration they need to go save a life of their own!
You may be able to snap some great photos on your own. Just be patient — dogs are not always the easiest subjects! You may have to take many, many photos before you end up with one that captures your doggie’s personality just right. Remember to keep it fun for both of you. Sophie Gamand offers some paw-some tips on her website. These are great if you plan on taking some shots at your local shelter too!
If you’re looking for something a little more along the lines of what Sarolta Ban has to offer but aren’t a photoshop pro, I’ve got good news for you! Sarolta offers the option to create custom images of pets. Just submit a photo of your furry friend, and she’ll work with you to get just the result you want!
Another fun option for turning your pup’s photo into a work of art is My Pooch Face. They create custom pet portraits (either digital or hand-painted) from an ordinary photo that you submit.
There’s no arguing that, whether you’re a professional or not, you could do a lot of good for shelter dogs simply by taking some pictures!
Do you have a favorite way to show off your pet in style? I’m currently seeking pet lovers willing to participate in my new focus group! You’ll get notified when I find new pet products that focus on lifestyle and home decor solutions and I’ll be asking for your feedback.
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