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I Care: Portraits of shelter pooches in vogue

Shelter volunteer, Anna Cambrey steadies a pit bull named "Marie" for her photo session with professional photographer, Robin Hagy, Tuesday, April 16, 2015, at the City of Sacramento's Front Street shelter. Showcasing the animals on social media sites with good quality photographs attracts more adopters and overall interest in shelter animals says Animal Care Services Manager, Gina Knepp.
Shelter volunteer, Anna Cambrey steadies a pit bull named "Marie" for her photo session with professional photographer, Robin Hagy, Tuesday, April 16, 2015, at the City of Sacramento's Front Street shelter. Showcasing the animals on social media sites with good quality photographs attracts more adopters and overall interest in shelter animals says Animal Care Services Manager, Gina Knepp. lsterling@sacbee.com

Dolled up in a princess tiara, a pit bull named Marie readied for her close-up.

On a recent Tuesday, shelter volunteer Anna Cambrey and professional photographer Robin Hagy dressed up dogs in tutus, tiaras and bow ties for their weekly photo session, including one pooch appropriately named after supermodel “Elle Macpherson.”

Cambrey settled the dogs against a backdrop of spring-like flowers while Hagy aimed her camera. Elsewhere at the shelter, photographer Hope Harris focused on cats, adorning them with hair ornaments and jewelry.

Gina Knepp, Front Street’s Animal Care Services manager, said showcasing the animals’ personalities with creative portraits attracts more adoptions and overall interest in shelter animals. With 56,000 followers on Facebook, Knepp said the public response has been tremendous. She credits local photographer Anne Williams with launching the idea in 2011.

Knepp says she’s in the business of “used pets,” and marketing them to the community, makes them more desirable and helps the shelter save lives. “Showing them in this light makes them real,” Knepp said. “It’s a way to share with people that these animals still have value.”

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