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.
On June 23, PEOPLE reporter Diane Herbst found two dogs locked in a hot car with the windows shut and decided to take action. This is her first-person account of what happened.
Sure, the Queen loves her corgis and Prince William and Princess Kate represent team Cocker Spaniel with family pup Lupo, but there's another avid dog lover in the royal family – and she's waving the rescue flag!
Duck, duck, duck ... dog?
Meet Dug, the rescue dog who helps his owner, farmer Matt McDougal, raise massive amounts of ducks on his farm in Canada.
McDougal tells Inside Edition that the pooch was trapped in an apartment in a big city for the first 15 months of his life, so being outdoors with the birds is a treat (not the kind you swallow, since all of the ducks seem to be accounted for).
Ladies first. Respect your elders. Blah, blah, blah!
These societal courtesies are nice and all, but manners are moot when water slides are involved.
Even man's best friend ditches his loyal nature when confronted with the inviting, wet plastic of an inflatable slide.