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Photographer advocates for shelter dogs by giving one canine the best day ever

How does a giant closet full of shoes, a steak dinner, and a massage sound? Oh, and drinking from a golden toilet. That’s how one photographer helped shelter dog Willia find a home — by giving her the best day ever, from a dog’s perspective anyway.

On Thursday, Canon announced Guinnevere Shuster as the winner of the Rebel With a Cause campaign, celebrating the Rebel SLR’s 25th birthday.

For her project, photographer and animal rights activist Shuster wanted to raise awareness for the 3,000 animals euthanized from overcrowded shelters every year. While the photographer has been working with shelter dogs for four years, she wanted to do something even bigger than her studio portraits and change the stigma behind shelter dogs by showing a dog at play. And what better way to capture a dog at play than to create a day full of a canine’s favorite things?

Willia was the lucky shelter hound selected for the project, enjoying everything from car rides and six back scratches at once to a room filled with dog toys. The entire video was filmed with a Canon Rebel T6i.

“With millions of animals still in shelters looking for their forever home, I wanted to try and make a difference and do my part to change people’s opinions of animal shelters and their residents,” Shuster said.

“It’s been amazing working with Canon to change the portrayal of shelter animals by showcasing how to use photography to capture dogs in their natural state, having fun, rather than the stereotypical pictures that show shelter animals behind ‘bars.'”

The video was uploaded in real time, resulting in hundreds asking to adopt Willia. Along with finding a home for herself, Willia’s video also resulted in the adoption of at least 11 other dogs from the shelter.

Canon’s Rebel With a Cause campaign kicked off last year. Winning photographers worked to advocate for everything from the importance of the arts to building bullied teens self confidence through comedy. The full series is available on YouTube.

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