Photographer takes stunning portraits of black cats and dogs to find them homes

Merlin An enthusiastic advocate for the legalization of The Nip. Might have had some before the shoot.
Merlin, an enthusiastic advocate for the legalization of The Nip. Might have had some before the shoot (Picture: Emma O’Brien)

Cats and dogs with black fur are gorgeous – but not everyone appreciates them.

Animals with black fur are less likely to be adopted from shelters, for muddled reasons including superstitions and people thinking it’s tricky to photograph cats and dogs with darker coats.

It’s a massive shame, because there are some lovely cats and dogs out there who aren’t getting the loving homes they deserve, simply because of the colour of their fur.

Photographer Emma O’Brien wants to show people the beauty of these adorable creatures. In her Black Rescue Series, she photographed rescued black cats and dogs from Johannesburg, to show how wonderful these animals are. Emma explains: ‘Black dogs and cats get a raw deal when it comes to being unwanted.

‘Ending up at a shelter is bad news for any animal, but black critters are the least likely to be adopted and if they are lucky enough to be chosen by an adoptee, they will have waited the longest.

‘I’ve done a bit of research on this and there seem to be four major reasons that black dogs and cats are last on the list for potential adoptees – firstly, they don’t photograph well (I think these images disprove that point) which is tragic if you want to take over Instagram with your new pet (repeatedly smacks forehead against wall), secondly, black dogs can look intimidating and aggressive, thirdly, black cats are superstitiously unlucky (or should that be stupid-stitiously) and lastly, they are a bit plain and boring to look at………

Be Diligent about Vet Visits. “Don’t wait for the signs,” Dr. Becker stresses. Focus on “prevention first.” Pets age fast, and when it comes to illness they are programmed to mask weakness, “they’re naturally secretive.” One to two visits a year is ideal, but if you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate, and don’t self-diagnose. “In the last two years I’ve seen four or five cases where people went to the internet for help, and by the time they get to the vet it’s too late,” says Dr. Becker.

‘So, because I’m a fan of championing the underdog (and cat), these images are my PR stunt to show that black dogs and cats are far from boring.’

Jessie

#7 Jessie As crazy as she looks. Once used a set of toddlers as skittles. Claims it was a total accident.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)

‘As crazy as she looks. Once used a set of toddlers as skittles. Claims it was a total accident.’

Grace

#16 Grace Only wears Gucci. Anxiously waiting for a Net-A-Porter delivery that's taking forever to arrive.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)
‘Only wears Gucci. Anxiously waiting for a Net-A-Porter delivery that’s taking forever to arrive.’

Merlin

#1 Merlin Lost his eye whilst on a secret mission for MI5. Keeps requesting a monetary allowance for a diamond-encrusted patch. Keeps being denied. Has put in an order with Cartier and is going to expense it.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)
‘Lost his eye whilst on a secret mission for MI5. Keeps requesting a monetary allowance for a diamond-encrusted patch. Keeps being denied. Has put in an order with Cartier and is going to expense it.’

Bentley

#18 Bentley Reserved at first. Secretly a HUGE Madonna fan. Has all her albums.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)

‘Reserved at first. Secretly a HUGE Madonna fan. Has all her albums.’

Dogg

#15 Dogg Pronounced 'D' 'O' "double G' as in Snoop. Impossibly cool. Fan of hip hop.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)
‘Pronounced D O double G, as in Spoop. Impossible cool. Fan of hip hop.’

Gabriel

#5 Gabriel Insisted on a head shot only because he's still trying to get bikini ready.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)

‘Insisted on a head shot only because he’s still trying to get bikini ready.’

Arizona

#17 Arizona Didn't stop talking throughout the shoot. Also has paint on her ear. Also fired.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)

‘Didn’t stop talking throughout the shoot. Also has paint on her ear. Also fired.’

Parker

#12 Parker Raised by a cat. Has a full repartee of witty one-liners. Won't wait to be invited to use them.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)

‘Raised by a cat. Has a full repartee of witty one-liners. Won’t wait to be invited to use them.’

Chase that tail! Dogs chase their tails for a variety of reasons: curiosity, exercise, anxiety, predatory instinct or, they might have fleas! If your dog is chasing his tail excessively, talk with your vet.

Lena

Full-time retiree. Part-time therapist. Will always share her couch, but may fall asleep whilst you talk.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)

‘Full-time retiree. Part-time therapist. Will always share her couch, but may fall asleep whilst you talk.’

Mia

#10 Mia Weighs 50kg, thinks she's a lap dog. Can take out a couch once she breaks into a gentle trot.
(Picture: Emma O’Brien)
Weighs 50kg, thinks she’s a lap dog. Can take out a couch once she breaks into a gentle trot.’

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