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THE PHOTO BOOK PROJECTS

Four dog photo books celebrating deaf dogs, rescue dogs, puppy-mill survivors and pit bull type dogs

After adopting her deaf dog, Sadie, and learning that many dogs are put down each year for being deaf, Melissa wanted to create a photo book to raise awareness and to educate people about deaf dogs. She was volunteering at her local shelter at the time and soon learned more about the problems facing shelters in the U.S. Melissa began thinking about a second book — this time on rescued dogs. Before long, what started as a one-book project soon became a four-book project. Melissa crossed the country several times, photographing dogs in nearly every state, in a variety of spaces—living rooms, basements, garages, doggie daycares, pet boutiques, dog-training facilities, parks—for her photo books. Most of the dogs in her books were adopted by the time they were photographed. Each book contains portraits and short biographies of each dog. She finished the final book in the series in 2013. The books (Deaf Dogs, Rescued in America, Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs and Puppy-Mill Survivors) all raise awareness about the pet overpopulation problem in the U.S., encourage pet adoption and promote kindness and compassion toward animals. Melissa has since created calendars, notecards, and a print series based on the dogs in the photo-book series. Her books have won a total of six independent publishing awards.