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Rekindling Passion and Purpose: The Journey of the Shelter Dogs and Street Art Project

If you are new to TimePunk Pet Photography, or to my Shelter Dogs and Street Art project, let me share the journey and the evolution of this project that is so near and dear to me.

In the heart of adversity, sometimes we find our true calling. For me, the founder of TimePunk Pet Photography, the pandemic years were a time of profound loss and reflection. Losing Fiona, my heart dog, amidst the global upheaval, left me grappling with a deep sense of loss, not just for my companion but for my creative spark. Photography, once my solace and joy, had become a reminder of what I had lost. It was in this period of searching for meaning and purpose that I stumbled upon an initiative that would not only reignite my passion but also pave the way for a project blending compassion, art, and community outreach in ways I had never imagined.


Senior goldendoodle on sidewalk in front of Jerry Garcia mural
Fiona, my heart dog & my Muse

Salt Lake County Animal Services’ Hounds Around Town program was a beacon of hope in my journey. This innovative program allows volunteers to take shelter dogs out for adventures, giving them a much-needed break from the shelter environment and exposing them to potential adopters in everyday settings. Witnessing these outings, I saw not just the joy on the dogs’ faces but also the profound impact these experiences had on their well-being and adoptability.

Senior cattle dog with adopt me bandana and leash in front of mural

It was during one of my own volunteer walks, exploring the vibrant streets of Salt Lake City, that inspiration struck. The city’s rich tapestry of murals and street art caught my eye in a way it never had before. The colors, the creativity, and the stories painted on every corner transformed the urban landscape into a living canvas. It dawned on me: what if this stunning backdrop could be used to showcase the beauty and individuality of shelter dogs, giving them a spotlight to shine and capture the hearts of potential adopters?

Great dane puppy in front of mural of Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City

Thus was born the Shelter Dogs and Street Art project. My mission was simple yet ambitious: to photograph shelter dogs against the backdrop of Salt Lake City’s most captivating murals and street art, creating compelling images that highlight their personalities and stories. This project is not just about taking beautiful pictures; it was about changing perceptions, breaking stereotypes about shelter dogs, and ultimately, finding them forever homes.

Mixed breed dog in front of blue and orange mural in the city of South Salt Lake

The response to the project has been fantastic. Each photograph told a story, not just of the art behind the dogs but of hope, resilience, and the possibility of new beginnings. The dogs, once overlooked, became stars in their own right, their stories shared far and wide. The project brings together artists, animal lovers, and the community, each contributing to the narrative of rescue and redemption.

Husky in front of colorful mural in the city of South Salt Lake with dancers, text on mural reads 'you are a work of art'

Through the lens of my camera, I not only rediscovered my passion for photography but also found a purpose that went beyond art. The Shelter Dogs and Street Art project became a testament to the power of creativity in driving social change, a reminder that even in our darkest times, we can find light and direction.

Senior pitbull in front of a colorful mural in the city of Midvale Utah

Here are a few of the Shelter Dogs and Street Art sessions I have photographed:

  •  Moonfire, a senior cattle dog who entranced all of us as we visited some of the murals from past Mural Fest artists in the city of South Salt Lake.
  • Gary and Austin, who braved cold weather to visit some of the murals in Midvale
  • Romeo and Swiper, energetic siblings who had a grand time exploring the SLC Arts Hub

Excitingly, I am now collaborating with the Downtown SLC Alliance to elevate this project further. Together, we are photographing rescue dogs currently in foster homes against the stunning backdrop of murals in downtown Salt Lake City. This new phase not only highlights the importance of fostering in the animal rescue process but also showcases the beautiful murals in downtown Salt Lake City, drawing attention to the various animal rescues in northern Utah. It’s a beautiful synergy of art, community, and animal welfare.

Photograph of black and white large senior pitbull in front of purple and green graffiti art

Looking back, I am immensely grateful for the journey that led me here. From the depths of personal loss to the heights of communal achievement, this project has been a voyage of rediscovery. Fiona’s memory lives on in every click of the camera, every dog’s story we tell, and every life we touch. Through TimePunk Pet Photography, I continue to explore the intersection of art, empathy, and advocacy, inspired by the belief that every dog, like every piece of art, deserves to be seen and cherished.

Black goldendoodle in front of mural of giant squid in the city of South Salt Lake.

To all the volunteers, artists, and supporters of the Shelter Dogs and Street Art project, I extend my heartfelt thanks. Together, we have created a mosaic of hope, transforming the lives of countless shelter dogs and enriching our community with every snapshot. The journey doesn’t end here; it evolves with every dog we meet and every story we share, a continuous loop of inspiration and transformation.

Man giving belly rubs to senior cattle dog in front of Space Trout mural in South Salt Lake City

Thank you for being part of this journey. Let’s continue to make a difference, one photograph, one dog, at a time.

Black dog with amber eyes in front of a mural with amber eyes.

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