Maggie Epling knew she wanted to give back during her summer vacation from college. Interested in photography and helping animals in need, she found the perfect volunteer opportunity at her local Pike County Animal Shelter in Pike, Kentucky. There she used her camera to instant portraits of cats and dogs and paid special attention to black animals in shelters. The results are striking glamorous shots of cats and dogs searching for their forever homes.

Epling decided to approach the shelter after reading articles about how animals with good photos are more likely to be adopted. The Pike County Animal Shelter was happy to have her and she got to work. During this time, she has heard from fellow volunteers that black kittens and puppies often struggle to find their humans. Black cats, in particular, suffer from it because of the enduring superstition that they will bring bad luck.

The photos were a hit; the images drew attention to animals in need. The Pike County Animal Shelter is in a rural area, but her portraits have caused people to call the organization, much to the shelter’s surprise.

Epling’s approach to taking his beautiful portraits is to first get to know the animal beyond the fact that it is in a kennel. To illustrate this, she tells the story of a dog named Tiny. “She [Tiny] looked so sad in his kennel with his ears drooping and his tail tucked between his legs,” Epling told My Modern Met. “When I took her outside for our playtime before the photo shoot in the yard, she became a completely different dog – she went from stressed and nervous to silly and playful.”

Tiny has big ears and two different colored eyes, so Epling knew she wanted to showcase the dog’s striking features and vibrant personality. “When we arrived at the studio, you could see it immediately; I squealed a toy and his ears perked up and I got the hit. I love how focused she looks because that’s how it is: she’s a determined little dog! »

Tiny’s photo sums up what Epling wants to accomplish by volunteering. “I want to use photography to show what these gentle dogs really look like when they’re not in the stressful environment of a shelter,” she explains. “I want to show people what these dogs would look like at home, in the park with them, or on walks with them, in a way that just isn’t possible with a photo taken through the bars of the cage.”

Maggie Epling knew she wanted to give back during her summer vacation from college.

Photo of a black dog

Interested in photography and helping animals in need, she found the perfect volunteer opportunity at her local Pike County Animal Shelter in Pike, KY.

Photo of a black dog

She used her camera to take portraits of cats and dogs and particularly focused on black animals in shelters, which often struggle to get adopted.

Photo of a black dogphoto of a black cat

Epling used her talents to take pictures of all the adoptable animals looking for their forever homes.

Photo of a shelter dog

Tiny the dog, one of Epling’s favorite photos.

Photo of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dog

“I want to show people what these dogs would look like in their home,” she tells My Modern Met, at the park with them or on a walk with them, in a way that just isn’t possible with a photo taken through the bars of the cage.

Photo of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dogPhoto of a shelter dog

Maggie Epling: Facebook

My Modern Met has granted permission to feature photos of Maggie Epling.

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