No matter the breed or background, a dog deserves a place to call home. Unfortunately, however, not every canine — especially those in shelters — find it.
Award-winning photographer and author Traer Scott is looking to change this through her work. Scott's book, Finding Home: Shelter Dogs and Their Stories was published in 2015, and Finding Home: 12 Notecards and Envelopes was released earlier this month. Both aim to convey the narratives of shelter dogs, from their personality traits to shelter life and subsequent adoptions (though, sadly, not all were adopted, as portrayed in Scott's book).
Scott, who is a passionate animal welfare advocate, was motivated by her own time spent with rescue dogs. "Both 'Shelter Dogs' and 'Finding Home' were inspired by my extensive volunteer work in shelters and desire to help spread the message about the need for adoption, and the immense number (7.5 million) of unwanted animals that end up in shelters every year," she says. "The project's purpose is to encourage adoption and education about the issue of homeless animals."
Though Scott's goal is to increase the number of animal adoptions, she hopes the book and notecards will also persuade more pet owners (or future pet owners) to foster animals where possible. "Foster homes are always needed and is a wonderful way to save lives," she says. "A family may realistically adopt (and thereby rescue) one or two dogs over the course of ten years, but you could easily foster 20-40 over the same time period."
And remember: If you're not able to take on the responsibility of adoption or foster care, volunteer work is always an option. "Volunteering is probably the best way to make a big impact in the lives of shelter animals," she says. "You don't have to go walk dogs at a shelter. Maybe you have accounting skills or are a good web designer or want to organize fundraisers. Everyone has a talent that is useful."
Check out more of Scott's work, which has been featured in the likes of National Geographic, Life, Vogue and People on her website.