Sheltering dogs1 Comment
Traer Scott’s motivation for action is long lived. Even as a kid, she was taking on the world for dogs in shelters. Scott’s project and now published book, Shelter Dogs, is emotionally breathtaking. Each canine portrait is bursting with a communicative yet melancholic depth that barks loudly to potential saviours and dog lovers, a subliminal education to an online audience to the desperate cause of dog overpopulation in shelters. Scott’s mission to put a face to the breed is impacting individuals worldwide to take action, the perfect synergy of art for a cause. Do something because you love it, change and honour will follow.
The project started as a volunteer assignment to take dog portraits for the shelter’s online adoption agency to help people connect with a dog and potentially streamline the adoption process. As images began to stockpile, Scott found herself unable to delete the files from her collection, almost as if each picture was the only proof that this dog ever existed in the first place. Shelter Dogs commemorates these pups and helps enlighten the public about stereotypes associated with certain breeds and the horrendous breeding practices that cause a canine surplus in shelters.
While the need to find each dog a home still exists, some dogs will never be adopted (between 30%–50% on average) and will therefore be put down. Scott has become “a very ardent advocate” for pit bulls in particular because their “largely undue negative stereotype”. Unfortunately, the majority of homeless pit bulls across America do not find homes, making them prime candidates for euthanasia, a tough task for shelters to carry out. Scott adds “sadly, euthanasia is often necessary at shelters for many reasons, the most heart-breaking being the simple need for space.” As proud owner of Audrey (a pit bull from the Rhode Island dog shelter), her experience has been incredibly heartwarming.
The project has ultimately led to a full-time professional career where Scott can combine her passion for photography with her love for animals. In her own words, Shelter Dogs “put me on the map professionally and my life has never been the same since”. Following her heart has led to working with a real sense of purpose and intergrity that Scott is proud to share. Memorialising dogs in shelters might just drive potential dog owners to the pound rather than the pet shop. What a feat.
Photography by Traer Scott
For more information about Shelter Dogs and to see more work, visit the site