In 2016 my photography partner, Tammy Michael, and I began volunteering at our local animal shelter, Union County Animal Protection Society (UCAPS). We provided them with fine art/fashion portraits of the adoptable pups in hopes of increasing their chances for adoption and the change in the perception of rescue animals. The response to the Shelter Pets Project has been remarkable. So far over 100 have been photographed. 80% of the animals we have photographed have either been adopted, transferred to another shelter, or have multiple pending adoption applications.
We want to change the way the shelter animals are perceived. The common perception is that these animals are unworthy discards from others, or that they have health issues. It is true that most have been discarded and abused by people, but that has nothing to do with the animal and everything to do with us. We allow that to happen by not creating stricter laws with tougher penalties and insist they are enforced. Every animal we have photographed at UCAPS is amazing. Each with such a different personality and disposition. We wanted to showcase that and did so by dressing them up so.
Over the past few years, the Shelter Pets Project has become a viral campaign. We have had the privilege of photographing these dogs in couture fashion from top designers, including Anthony Rubio and Joan Marentis Kelly in New York City. The dogs are regularly featured on Vogue Italia’s website as well as Vanity Fair, NY Post, Good Morning America, and countless other media outlets.