Pets & Animals

Photographer 'blings out' shelter dogs' recovery cones to help them find homes

Some college courses change students’ lives, but one art student's photography class changed the lives of some lucky pups.

Erin Einbender, 30, was in an entry-level photography class at the Art Institute of Chicago when she decided to merge two of her passions: art and animals.

“I had started volunteering at a dog rescue called One Tail at a Time,” Einbender told TODAY. “And I decided that I wanted to take a photos of the rescue dogs.”

Courtesy Erin Einbender
Erin Einbender's photography project helped dogs at the shelter where she volunteered find forever homes.

Before they’re adopted, the shelter makes sure that the dogs are spayed or neutered.

To Einbender, some of the dogs seemed a little glum as they were healing.

So she decided to decorate the dogs' recovery cones, which are used to keep the animals from hurting themselves post-surgery.

Courtesy Erin Einbender
"Miguel was in the shelter for almost two years," Einbender said. "One of the volunteers actually bought a house in the suburbs so that he could adopt this dog. We had a big party and I gifted Miguel his print."

“I decided I wanted to bling out the cones to help them get adopted,” Einbender said.

“So I did this photo shoot, and it was amazing because some dogs you could see a change — some even seemed to model.”

She spent about $200 on crafts from the art supplies store Michael's to make the bedazzled cones.

Courtesy Erin Einbender
So far, every dog she photographed has been adopted, Einbender said.

Einbender says the day she shot the photos not only lifted the pups’ spirits, but the volunteers’ spirits as well.

“So far every single dog has been adopted,” said Einbender. “I got to involve the community, which is great.”

In total, Einbender helped eight dogs find their forever homes.

Word of the project got out, and other Chicago shelters have contacted her about art projects to help get their dogs adopted.

Courtesy Erin Einbender
Einbender spent about $200 on art supplies from the crafts store Michael's. "I found butterflies and pom-poms," she said.

She’s been contacted by the Chicago Animal Shelter to help brainstorm ideas that could help their animals find forever homes.

Courtesy Erin Einbender

“I would love to reach out to other charities and have a craft day,” said Einbender. “I just did this because I love dogs and I want to help them.”

We can’t wait to see her next project!

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