Stacked ten high, they span the length of two football fields and outsize Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings. But for Jacksonville, Florida, artist Mark Barone and partner Marina Dervan, the collective masterpiece of thousands of 12x12 portraits dubbed An Act of Dog is more than a work of art – it's a heartfelt call to action.
"A camera can't give an image soul," Barone says in the trailer for the upcoming PBS documentary on the project. "But an artist can."
To that end, Barone set out to paint the soulful faces of 5,500 shelter pets that were euthanized over the past few years – each portrait representing one of the 5,500 dogs lost to America's kill shelter system daily. That's 1.2 million dogs put down each year because shelters are simply out of space and the animals are out of time.
It took two and a half hours to remove a seemingly infinite amount of dirty, matted fur. It was hardened and heavy, weighing five pounds.
But the horrific circumstances of Harry's rescue by a shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, don't end there. The Chow Chow is missing most of his nose and he's partially blind due to scarred corneas from his eyelashes growing into his eyes, reports FOX 4 KC.
Underneath all that fur, staff at the KC Pet Project found a sweet but emaciated dog, who suffered like this for far too long.
When actress Rachel Brosnahan saw an elderly dog alone and struggling in a Santa Fe, New Mexico, dog park, she knew she had to do something.
The Manhattan and House of Cards star was walking with her own two pups when she spotted the dog who appeared to be dehydrated.
"He kept trying to stand up on his front legs, but his back legs had totally given out, we thought he was injured," Brosnahan, who is filming the second season of Manhattan in Santa Fe, told KRQE News 13. "The poor guy had just been toasting out there I think. We brought him some water and called Animal Services."
Midpoint in the sorrow following the church shootings last week in Charleston, South Carolina, big slobbery dog kisses helped to spread comfort among the emotionally wounded.
As thousands of people rallied at a park across the bridge from the city on Sunday to honor the victims, Porsha (a St. Bernard) and George (a labradoodle), certified therapy dogs with the nonprofit, all-volunteer HOPE Animal-Assistance Crisis Response, went to work communicating peace and love in their own way.
Handlers Cindy Becker and Julie Scott say that their dogs offer relief to everyone – from first responders to trauma victims, to children who just want a kiss and a wag. "We let people approach us," says Scott told PEOPLE. "Our dogs offer unconditional comfort, even if it's just five minutes with this loving, calming animal."
Home. Some pets never have one to call their own. We'd like to help change that by introducing you to an extraordinary adoptable pet every week. Today, meet Keena, a pup that was scooped up from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where the tribal council began rounding up stray dogs late last year.
Whether this mutt knows it or not, she is very lucky – many of the strays found roaming the reservation have been killed, according to the Rapid City Journal. She was saved by LightShine Canine and hitched a ride to Sarah's Treasures Rescue in Watertown, South Dakota, in November.
Home. Some pets never have one to call their own. We'd like to help change that by introducing you to an extraordinary adoptable pet every week. Today, meet Anderson, a sweet and silly American pit bull terrier currently being cared for by Wags and Walks in Los Angeles, California.
Although he's smaller than your average pit bull at 48-lbs., Anderson has a big personality to make up for it.
"What I love about Anderson is that he is happy wherever he is – he's happy to join you on a 5-mile hike or snuggle in bed all day with you on a lazy Sunday!" says spokeswoman Kayla Morrow. "He is only 1-year-old and has already had so much training under his belt, crate trained, house trained and knows his commands."
Home. Some pets never have one to call their own. We'd like to help change that by introducing you to an extraordinary adoptable pet every week. Today, meet Titus, an 8-year-old St. Bernard currently residing at The Humane Society of New York in Manhattan.
Though this sweet pup – whose story came to us via the Mayor's Alliance for N.Y.C.'s Animals – grew up in a rural area, when his owner became ill and was no longer able to care for him, he ended up in the Big Apple. The 101-lb. pup is still adjusting to the change, but he really wants to return to country living.
Mr. Pickles couldn't explain his predicament himself, so a note did it for him.
"Please look after this cat. It is being mistreated," read the handwritten note, left when the cat was abandoned early Monday morning on the grounds of an animal rescue center in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The semi-long haired cutie, who was named Mr. Pickles by the shelter, is a bit bashful but showed no apparent signs of maltreatment, according to the Scottish SPCA's website.
Home. Some pets never have one to call their own. We'd like to help change that by introducing you to an extraordinary adoptable pet every week. Today, meet Ramsey, a short-haired tabby currently living at St. Francis Animal Shelter in Buffalo, Wyoming.
This 1-year-old feline came to the shelter as a stray kitten, and he's more than ready to find his forever. If you're the type of person who longs for a couch companion to snuggle with, Ramsey is the pet for you.
The Charleston Animal Society wants to find the person who did this to Caitlyn.
The 15-month-old dog's muzzle was taped shut with electrical tape this week and now the pooch may lose her tongue because the incident affected blood flow to the area, WLTX reports.
The society is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.
Caitlyn is a stray in a neighborhood in North Charleston and on Monday, area residents saw her and recalled her looking healthy, the report said. But Wednesday, she was found on the doorstep of a home with the tape around her face.