“These are not just cute pictures of dogs,” says photographer Shannon Johnstone about her 18-month photography project called “Landfill Dogs.” “These are dogs who have been homeless for at least two weeks, and now face euthanasia if they do not find a home,” she said.
Johnstone, a professor at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., took a year-long sabbatical to photograph one dog a week from the county animal shelter at the local landfill for the project.
There are two reasons she takes pictures of the dogs at the landfill. First, it’s managed by the same group that runs the shelter, and second, it’s where they will end up if they don’t find a home.
Her portraits, which can be found on her Landfill Dogs Facebook page and on her website landfilldogs.com, have put a face and a personality to these largely forgotten dogs that struggle to find homes.
Her work has helped to save the lives of many of the dogs she’s photographed. Since November, 56 of the 73 dogs have gone to permanent homes or rescue groups.
According to her website, each dog that Johnstone photographs gets a car ride, a walk, treats and two hours of individual attention.
“My goal is to offer an individual face to the souls that are lost because of animal overpopulation, and give these animals one last chance.”