Black dogs do not fair well in shelters. They are the last to be adopted and most likely to be euthanized. As a commercial photographer specializing in animals I decided that I needed to do something to spread awareness about the issue to help combat the problem.


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Black dogs are just as loving and just as playful but shelter staff can have a hard time photographing them. A good photograph is crucial to creating interest for a potential adopter. While I can’t take great photos of every black dog in a shelter I can bring awareness to the problem and with this series show that black dogs are stunningly beautiful.

I teamed up with Sarah Brasky, founder of Foster Dogs NYC and The Dog Matchmaker to recruit 14 black rescue dogs to participate in the photo shoot, five of whom were a littler of eight week old black Labrador mix puppies in foster care. The complete series of images and video can be viewed at shainafishman.com.

Brasky’s own dog was photographed for the series. She says, “It’s hard to believe, but it’s a real problem. I’ve seen first-hand the pattern of black dogs being picked last, even young puppies like Ozzie who was eight weeks when he came into the shelter.”

The puppies that participated in the shoot were not receiving much interest from potential adopters. After the group image of the puppies was posted on social media interest peaked and all five were quickly adopted.

According to the ASPCA, 20% of the 3.3 millions dogs in shelters nationwide are euthanized every year. Through increased foster and adoption rates, these numbers can fall drastically. “A stigma can follow adoptable animals who are black, as they often wait longer to find their forever homes” says The Bark in an article about the plight of black dogs in shelter. “Many shelters take extra steps to make black dogs more adoptable, according to Kate Pullen, director of animal sheltering issues at the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C. Teaching the dogs tricks, putting placards on kennels highlighting the dog’s personality… anything to catch the eye and imagination of potential adopters.”

There are so many dogs in need of a loving home and waiting to be adopted. Start your search for a black dog on fosterdogsnyc.com and at your local shelter.

To see the series and learn more about my work visit shainafishman.com. Considering adopting a dog or want to foster, visit fosterdogsnyc.com to learn more about the important work being done.

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