"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Second Chance

This was featured by the Best Friends Animal Society on their Facebook page. Best Friends were the hosts of the show Dogtown, which started when they picked up the Michael Vick dogs, rehabbed them, and found them homes. It is an AMAZING sanctuary out in Utah on many, many acres of land that takes in all animals that can be owned by man: cats, dogs, horses, farm animals, birds, exotics, big cats, etc. It's one place I  wouldn't mind working at if we ever found ourselves in that part of the country.

The website featured was this one: Landfill Dogs. It is by a photographer named Mary Shannon Johnstone. With permission from her local shelter, the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, NC, she picks up dogs that are on death row. She borrows them for 2 hours so she can spend time with them and take them to the local landfill to let them play on the grass and take some amazing photos where she truly captures their personalities. A landfill?! you say. As she states on her website (I'm pretty much directly quoting her), there are two reasons for the landfill site:
1. "The dogs will end up buried in the landfill if they don't find homes. The photos represent the last opportunity for the dogs to find homes.
2. The county animal shelter falls under the same management as the landfill. This government structure reflects a societal value: homeless cats and dogs are just another waste stream. The landscape also offers a metaphor of hope. It is a place of trash that has been transformed into a place of beauty." She tries to capture the beauty of these unwanted, homeless dogs.

If you're not choking up yet, here are some of the photos. They are copyrighted, but Mrs. Johnstone allows them to be shared as long as they are within the context of sharing her website:

(I may have cried a little when I saw this one. Such joy at being free from a cage.)

It is a lovely project. Of the 66 dogs that she has photographed, 45 have found homes. Of those remaining, 5 have been euthanized. The other 16 are still waiting to be adopted; some are in foster homes. Mrs. Johnstone admits that this is not exclusively due to her project, as there many more people involved in trying to find them homes, and the shelter takes in an average of 35 new dogs a day! Landfill Dogs features a different available dog each week.

She has a section on the site of some of the dogs she has photographed that are still available for adoption. Each one has his/her own portfolio. Here is the link. You can also purchase photos from her site. All proceeds go towards the shelter.


  1. We almost moved to Best Friends for my dad to work there instead of coming to TN. Still would love to get out there and do an internship or work sometime! And those photos--ahh. :'( Saw them on FB earlier...

    1. I considered doing the vet tech internship at Best Friends when I was just out of school, but it was such a huge move that we ended up deciding against it. It is a wonderful place in a gorgeous location; I'm glad they are able to maintain the funding for such a huge project.

  2. Awww! Mistletoe is the best! Look at that jump!

  3. Replies
    1. It's a beautiful project. I was so excited to read that most of the dogs have been adopted!