This Photographer Turns Dogs Into Models So They Would Get Adopted Quicker, And Pirate Is The Badass One
People who go to animal shelters to find a friend often miss out on getting to know each of the dogs. But a photographer Rachael Rodgers from Canada is changing that with beautiful 'ads' for shelter dogs.
"A great adoption photo is a golden ticket to the perfect home," says Rachael. Her love for dogs and eagerness to help them motivated her to begin volunteering at the local animal shelter. She decided to take dogs, drive them to a beautiful location and take heartwarming pictures. The photographer highlights not only the physical features of each dog, she takes time to get to know them and describes they personalities vividly.
Her photos make a big difference in these dogs' lives. Many of them already found homes with Rachels help and many more are still waiting for their soulmates Rachel takes donations to help her continue this important work, you can help her here.
Scroll below to see the beautiful photos of lovely shelter dogs!
"This is Poppy. He’s about 4 years old and I was told he’s never been on a hike before. I was also warned about Poppy’s neurological issues; he has seizure episodes that show as him biting uncontrollably at the air. I was thus warned not to put hands or face in front of his mouth in case he has an episode.
I immediately witnessed Poppy have an episode in my car en route to our hike (see car video). I had leashed him in the back as instructed for everyone’s safety. I learned a lot about dog seizures this year as our own Denali started having them: they aren’t as serious as in humans, and dogs “bounce back” very quick. It’s scary and confusing for the dog, so the best support is a calm presence without restricting their movement.
That was the last I saw of Poppy’s episodes. (He was undoubtedly stressed in a stranger’s car.) Once we started our hike Poppy was ECSTATIC! He decided without hesitation that he loves hiking and me! I slowly let my guard down and we had many hugs. Poppy was really excited to see the water flowing in the creek and took many opportunities to drink. (Hydration is also important after seizures). His balance isn’t great, so obstacles on the trail that may seem small took Poppy some figuring. I could see that what motivated him was getting to me. He’s the sweetest loyalist stay-by-my-side dog I’ve met in a long time. He’s good with cats and likes to play with other dogs (as long as they are accepting of his quirks). Poppy has no desire to hurt anyone, but since he can’t control his seizures, he won’t move into a house with any children.
Even though everything I was told about Poppy was true, it doesn’t define him. Yes, he needs a special human who understands his quirk, but he brings so much more to the table than he needs in return. It’s rare that anyone makes me feel as much as Poppy does."
"This is Oso. He’s fresh off the plane from Mexico; some will empathize with the rude shock of coming to Canada in the winter. He appreciated my broken Spanish and learned a bit of East Coast English. He slowly took to the snow, but only packed down trails. We moved on from the snowy mayhem at Wedge Pond to a civilized snowshoe packed trail at Mud Lake. We met a few kind snowshoers who were very understanding of Oso’s inability to move off the trail into snow that wasn’t packed down. (Oso got pets on their way by and returned the love by leaning into them - he’s a friend maker). This was his first day in the snow, so a little acclimation time is called for. Before long he’ll be loving his winters and speaking Canadian, eh."
"This is Talus. He’s a slow moving gentle giant who loves the outdoors. We went for a cross country ski in Kananaskis yesterday with a harness. I thought I was going to get a free ride hooked up to this boy, but he’s so gentle! I did all my own skiing and Talus trotted along with me letting all the predators know not to eat his defenceless human chaperone. We uneventfully watched a couple moose frolic in the woods. He was extremely interested in snacks, but very polite. He waited patiently between bites of PB&J, scrambled eggs, and tomato, and delicately drank some water in the car. He barely fit in the back seat, but carefully maneuvered to a nap position on the way back to the shelter (like having a wolf in my car, it felt). "
"This is Homer. When I picked Homer up from the humane society first thing yesterday morning, he had a huge smile on his face and his tail wagged like a metronome set to 160. I knew right away that I was in for a great day with Homer. .
He’s a little shy when getting into a strange lady’s car, but he opened up quickly once inside. The metronome tail never settled for the whole drive and beyond. Homer just seems to be happy about everything. He brings a trusting attitude and loves to be included. He enjoys croissants very much, but isn’t big on apples. He’s very smart (he’s about 3 years old). .
We did two short hikes in the sun and then stopped at Mt Lourette Pond for some rehydration (he preferred the ponds over my boring water). In the car, he alternated between smiling, looking at all the sights and laying down content. He’s a calm happy guy who’s looking for someone to have the best days with. "
"When I leashed Bromley up in her kennel, she thought she was going for a routine walk down the road in Cochrane (which she was over the moon about!). But Norm from Hamilton (@wanderlost_nw71) sponsored her fuel for a mountain adventure day to get adoption photos. She was in for a day of exploration!
If you’d like to sponsor a pup’s day adventure, click the link in my bio. .
Bromley loved the idea of the car outside the shelter, but she wasn’t quite sure about getting inside. I got in the back and asked her to join me. No luck. Then I remembered Heartland: a horse didn’t want to get in the trailer because it looked like there was no way out. Solution: open another door. It worked. Bromley was all smiles in the car and calm enough to lie down for much of the drive. .
We went on a couple short hikes in the rain and snow. She was very curious about the creek and loved climbing as high up the rocks as I allowed. .
Bromley is one year old and loves chewing: sticks, roots, bones, arms, fingers.... she could use some training. .
We followed coyote tracks in the snow on one trail. Bromley found an old bone in the woods which she guarded as the most treasured prize. .
She wouldn’t tell anyone as I’m not sure she realizes (puppies...), but she’s homeless. She’s living each day the same as the last at Cochrane Humane Society just waiting patiently for her adventure to continue. If you know someone who would love a sweet young pup with a puffy tail, please let hem know Bromley’s tail is the puffiest. "
Sierra And Dakota
"These two big fuzzbutts are Sierra and Dakota. They are best friends and roommates staying @cochranehumane. They have super thick fur - great for frolicking in the snow! They like to take it easy on their hips with short walks and lots of love and kisses (they will take care of the kisses). They are very sweet and love attention."
"Cotton is not one of those dogs who jumps right into my car and pants with excitement about the car ride that awaits. She slowly approached the open door and sniffed with apprehension. She wanted to get in, but she also wanted to check that everything was safe first. We talked about the ABS, the winter tires, and last oil change and she decided it would work. After this very short period of shyness, Cotton decided she likes me lots. She’s a whacky, fun-loving, adventure seeking doggie. She wants to run and explore with someone who loves running and exploring. If you know a runner or explorer who would love this sweet enthusiastic girl, please tag them. Cotton will be chillin at the Cochrane Humane Society if you want to meet her."
"This is Memphis. He’s a very friendly and outgoing lad. He is absolutely sure he’s a lapdog. After thorough testing I have to agree. He’s hanging out @cochranehumane. If you know anyone who would love a cuddly energetic lapdog, please let them know: Memphis might be just the one they’ve been looking for."
"This is Pirate. This handsome little guy is only one, but he definitely acts more mature (usually) than that. Pirate has spent a good chunk of his one year at the Humane Society. I think this is the reason he’s developed into such a well mannered young pup. He gets loads of socializing (dog and human) during his days there. He’s also taken dog classes. He’s still working on his leash and barking manners at times when other dogs are around (he barks his head off in the kennels - probably most of the reason he hasn’t yet found his perfect home). I’ll let the videos speak to how wonderful Pirate is out of a kennel.
Pirate is eager to please and stands tall and proud. Even with the excitement of smells and sights on the trail in Kananaskis, he finds the mental calm to sit and stay. He’s cuddly and independent at once. His smile lights my feelings. He’s a photographer’s dream with his looks and cooperation (he made the high jump onto a big rock several times as requested when I didn’t get the shot the time before). Pirate was showing off just how far he’s come with his car riding both to and from the hike. He laid down 90% of the time (and even slept after the hike)."
"This is Ben. He’s one. You can read about his past in his profile on Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue. There’s no arguing that this little guy has been through it. But none of what he’s endured defines him. His outstanding friendliness, patience, and loyalty DESPITE what he’s been through defines Ben.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Ben yesterday. He was excited to meet me and introduce me to his friends at the shelter. I played for a few minutes there with a couple happy pups (a situation I find difficult to leave), then we headed into k-country to attempt Grizzly Peak with human friends. I had explained to my friends that I didn’t know how far Ben would/could make it, so we took a separate vehicle in case Ben was hesitant or tired. I didn’t expect to make it far (this is a very steep hike that’s not possible if the dog isn’t an angel on leash, among other requirements). Ben showed no sign of weakness or defeat; I was extra vigilant for this. We made it about 90% to the peak before I made the decision to turn back. I didn’t want to exhaust loyal Ben even if he was willing. He happily drank the water I brought for him from my hand during a few rest stops.
We met lots of friendly faces on the trail and Ben loved the introductions (sometimes laying on the trail in very uncomfortable looking spots just for pets and cuddles from strangers). The idea of climbing a mountain just to unclimb it is definitely new to Ben, but he embraced it."
"Peaches. Her name is “Peaches”. Well, this world is rough and if a dog’s gonna make she’s gotta be tough. I imagine her namer knew he/she wouldn’t be there to help her along. So she got named “Peaches” and they said goodbye. She didn’t really get tough or die, but maybe it’s that name that helped to make her strong. And rambunctious. And kind. And cuddly as a teddy bear. Peaches is in a foster home in Banff. If you’d like to meet her, contact Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue or dm me for help coordinating. "
"This is Titan. Titan is one. He’s extremely friendly, yet independent. He’s giant, yet gentle. He gets along with everyone and wants everyone to have a good time. He can play wrestle a whole pack and also hold a conversation with a horse. He’s really really ridiculously good looking, but knows there’s more to life. He can do leash, or no leash. When he plays in a group, the others look to him as the leader of the pack."
"This is Maia. I picked her up yesterday from @cochranehumane for a day in the mountains. She’s just as fun and odd as she looks and she’s currently single and looking. She enjoys taking people for walks on frozen lakes and protecting against birds in the sky. She’s not shy and just wants to have a good time for a long time with that special somebody. If you know that somebody, please do them a solid and alert them; she may be their soulmate."
"Ayaz (residing temporarily at Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue) came for another little play in the mountains yesterday. It had only been a few days since our first day out together and she remembered me well. I was greeted with an enthusiastic wagging tail and a smile. We loaded into the car (she knew the routine from last time) and made our first stop at a park to meet my doggies and begin a search for a little girl’s lost stuffie: a bashful floppy eared bunny. We found the bunny right off, so then we headed for a hike near Goat Creek.
Ayaz has a talent for finding the best lay down spots. She looked so peaceful in her soft moss bed, so we picnicked there overlooking the pond and mountains. Ayaz is still very quiet and apprehensive, but she’s quickly learning that she’s safe. This means she can slowly stop worrying about where her next meal will come from or what dangers she has to protect herself (her life) from. These are heavy thoughts for a two year old pup who doesn’t speak Canadian. So an adjustment period is reasonable. Ayaz is a very happy girl trapped under a metric tonne of worry."
"This is Mr. Biggles, a peculiar young dog of interesting traits. I like to call him Biggles, Biggs, or Biggie (depending on why I’m calling him). Biggles hasn’t been on too many car rides before, so the drive to the mountains was pretty scary for him. We stopped lots of times en route so he could be sure of his ability to exit the vehicle when needed (I sat in the back seat holding his leash and let him jump out and back into the car over and over when he wanted to). He really loves walks. We couldn’t go for a hike yesterday since it was -27°C, but I think he would be the best hiking partner! His hearty paws got too cold so I sat down so he could stand on my lap to warm them and he did right away (smart and sweet doggo). Then he easily let me carry him partway back to the car (to help his paws - he didn’t ask questions). He, like me, loves sandwiches and snacks. Upon returning to the car, Biggs brought me the container of PB&Js I packed for us to share. He layed down and relaxed for the whole car ride back to Cochrane (car rides aren’t so scary, after all). "
This is Luanne. She’s a super-fluffy, super-smiley, super-good time. I met her yesterday at the Cochrane Humane Society. When I asked her if she wanted to go for a car ride the answer was YES! She eagerly directed me to all the closest car doors. She was calm and observant for the whole drive to Kananaskis. Lu is six years old and as cute as ever!
"This is Bear. He’s a sweet 5 year old friend. Bear loves the car as it means new adventures. He gets a bit anxious while driving and likes to stick his nose out the window to smell his location. He’s very good on leash. We hiked a very steep trail on Baldy Mountain. Bear patiently waited for me to navigate the steepest parts while he looked around. He’s in the midst of taking off his winter coat (he left it in my car to remember him by #theoldleavebehind). He’s fluffy and sweet and available for some lucky family to adopt. •
Bear has been at Cochrane Humane for months. He’s very patient, but he wouldn’t mind moving on to a life of love and adventure and maybe a bed in the corner of the family room.
Bear has so much support from volunteers right now; he’s a huge favorite and many are working to help him find his home. He doesn’t present himself the best at the shelter as he’s excited and barks whenever anyone walks by, so there’s usually a sheet over his area to keep stimulus low. He didn’t bark once when we were together as soon as we stepped outside. One volunteer told me of a plan to sit with him in his room on a busy adoption day to show how gentle Bear is. Another volunteer, Linda @embark_embroidery not only sponsored Bear’s mountain adventure yesterday, but is devoting all of her energy to get Bear adopted. She walks dogs regularly at Cochrane Humane and advocates for them in such a loving way. Volunteers like Linda keep the quality of daily life high for animals during their temporary stay at the shelter. My heart feels when I drive in and see the smiling dogs out for walks with the many awesome volunteers. "
"This is a very sweet Chica from Mexico. She’s about 11 months old and just made the huge trek to Canada on Friday. We spent a good part of the day yesterday getting to know each other. We definitely struggled with the language barrier, but body language still communicated the important stuff. She was very she at first and hadn’t eaten her breakfast yet. Most of us can relate to not feeling 100% after a big travel day (and that’s with all the human comforts and reassurances we get). We met one sweet adepted dog on a trail in Canmore. After she got to say hi to that dog she seemed to feel better. Then we met another young pup getting into the car. That pup was from Mexico as well. They jumped and played and talked about the motherland before parting ways. Now Chica (that’s not her real name), really started to open up and even chowed down on some late breakfast.
We made a few more stops to meet local welcoming dogs and picnic by the lake before another small hike. She liked the aerial perspective and seemed pretty happy to be there."
"This is Dax. Dax is an interesting eight-year-old fellow. He likes his peace, so he lives in a different part of the shelter than the other adoptable dogs. Due to this, Dax doesn’t meet everyone who comes in to adopt (which is the way he likes it... #introvert) and he’s been kicking back at Cochrane Humane for quite a while now. •
Dax is a very particular guy. He likes things a certain way.
He likes lakes and rivers, but not to get in them (to look at, and perhaps quench a thirst). He likes getting in the car. He was the most relaxed dog I’ve had in my car for his first ride. He rode laying down, but whenever I turned to check on him he was staring at me (I’d say suspiciously). When I slowed, he’d stand up and excitedly check out the window. He loves getting out of the car to see where he ended up.
He is a bit food driven, but not for the snacks I packed. Vanessa at Cochrane Humane supplied me with some dried liver that was much more to his taste.
He is not a fan of new people; he needs a bit of time to assess how cool you are. I thought he didn’t really like me much until I saw him tell some elderly fishermen to move along (I think he was upset that they came inside his (our) 8 meter comfort zone). He also protected me from a hiking couple who thought they would say hello to us."
"I met Benny almost two months ago. He had just been taken in by Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue (he was found near the casino on highway 40). He was sweet and well mannered, but sooo shy. He was adopted right away and according to his forever human, he’s done a 180. He’s so happy now and loves humans (and sits on everyone’s laps). "
"This is Kimi. Kimi is that friend who’s good to do whatever adventure you propose... not because she’s small and you have all the say in the matter (actually, you’re sure to include this friend in the decision because she’s so great), but because she is happy and adventurous and easy to please. And she wants to be with you. Kimi is another dog who has never been out even hiking before, so I was astonished at her affinity for kayaking during our day out. Actually, the only time she was a bit apprehensive was in the car en route to Kananaskis Country. It wasn’t the car that was scary, it was the whole situation. With Kimi’s past, a healthy vigilance is standard. As soon as we got where we were going and she got immersed in fun smells and walks in the woods, she was ecstatic. She was the best kayak partner I’ve had yet. She was so relaxed and worn out, she took a little siesta in the kayak. We saw elk and geese and lots of other doggies (holiday long weekend). Kimi stretched out in my car and napped on the way back to her temporary home at Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue. If you’d like to meet Kimi (It would be crazy not to), head to their website to proceed. "
"This is Otis. He’s four years old and wants to party hearty in the outdoors. He took me for a big walk yesterday up Prairie View trail (a place I vowed to never go again sans bike). You walk up an old access road in the woods for 6km. The view is great at the top (and the bike down the other side is great!), but the way up is pretty boring if you lack the right enthusiasm. Otis came armed with exactly the right enthusiasm. He saw squirrels, rabbit and deer tracks, and got to smell a thousand tree trunks that he doesn’t have access to at his temporary home in Cochrane. He was in his element on the trail and he charmed everyone we saw. We met a couple dogs on the trail and although we can’t interact on volunteers hikes, Otis was calm and looked like he wanted to say hi. He’s been gaining weight and getting strong during his stay at the shelter and he’s ready for adventure. "
"This is Kermit. We met yesterday when he took me for a play on the trails near his temporary home. He was so excited to go outside with me (a complete stranger with dog-like enthusiasm to meet him). He’s a seven year old puppy who was showing his tricks as soon as I let him calm down enough to remember them. We were both a little distracted at the sights and smells. Kermit is smart, sweet, and adventurous. He’s kickin’ back for now @bendhumane, but he wants to go on adventures and have someone give all his kisses. If you know someone in the PNW who would love this seven year old super puppy, please alert them."
"This is Diesel. He’s been spending his nights at the Cochrane Humane Society, but he’s looking for a bigger commitment. He likes hikes and picnics and photos. He didn’t talk at all today, so I’m not sure how melodic he can be. He’s super gentle on leash with technical terrain (unlike my dogs who I swear someone paid good money to make it look like an accident)."
"This is Lobo. He’s a super energetic friendly little furhead. He just flew into town so we showed him a few key spots that all the newcomers like to see. He leapt through the snow at Cascade Mountain, investigated the cracks in the ice at Minnewanka, and revelled at the reflection of the Three Sisters. He really enjoyed lunch time when he dined on a picnic of kibble and snacks while taking in the view of surrounding mountains. He definitely appreciated the scenic vistas, but this little guy would be happy anywhere. All he’s really looking for is someone who loves to run and play outside."
"This is Oscar. This guy wants to play! Every time I’ve seen him he’s been the most ready for a walk as possible. He loves attention and affection (indoors and out). If you know someone with some extra affection to give please tag them so they don’t miss out! Oscar won’t hold back on his end. You can find him relaxing."