Shelter Dogs Learn Ballet to Find Forever Homes

“Forever” is a long time, and some couples barely stay together even after swearing that they will love each other till death do them part. The fear of commitment is evident even in the relationship between humans and animals; few people are willing to take in an animal and love it through its lifetime. That reluctance made shelter dogs learn ballet to find forever homes and the efforts have been worth it. Here are all the details about the dogs, the dance project and another dog who danced her way into her owner’s heart.

The Dance Project Has Been on for Three Years

In 2018, People Magazine published the story of how The Dancers and Dogs Performance Photography teamed up performers from The St. Louis Ballet and shelter dogs from Stray Rescue of St. Louis. The photography project paired up the dogs and dancers in the hopes that the beautiful pictures captured and shared online would entice people to adopt the canines. Those who were interested in adopting dogs at the time were lucky because adoption fees for both cats and dogs above six months old were covered by Randall’s Wines & Spirits and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, until December 31, 2018.

Since the dancers are from “The Nutcracker,” and they perform every winter, the project that usually happens around the second week of December every year, has been dubbed “Muttcracker.” Of course, mainly it is the dancers doing all the work by striking beautiful poses but still, having the dogs in the shots brings a smile to any dog lover. Kelly Pratt and Ian Kreidich explained that the dogs are rescued from the streets, lack training and some are injured hence cannot do complicated dance moves. Besides, as Go Travel Blogger emphasizes, the project’s aim is not for the dogs to learn ballet but to get adopted, hence the call for prospective dog owners to adopt instead of buy.

How the Dancers and Dogs Project was Born

Kelly Pratt and Ian Kreidich, the married couple behind the Dancers and Dogs project did not plan on starting this noble cause; it just happened. Kelly and her husband have been doing photography for the St. Louis Ballet for six years now. She wanted to break from the norm of traditional ballet and thought incorporating dogs into the dancers’ photos would be one way of doing it. After floating the idea to Ian, he agreed to give it a try, despite them having no experience photographing animals.

The first-ever dancer and dog photo shoot happened in January 2017 according to Garden& Gun. They sought the help of Ericka Goss, a dancer they had been working with from St Louis Ballet, and Baxter, an obedient dog that belonged to their friend Chad Meyer. The photoshoot went flawlessly, and with that, the Dancers and Dogs Photography project was born. All that remained was more dogs to be paired up with the dancers; therefore, they put out a casting call for obedient dogs. The next few photoshoots helped them know whatever worked and did not. Today they are proud to bring a smile to every dog lover, through their captivating pictures.

The project has even led them to become experts at animal handling. They get to decide which pose is ideal for the dancer and canine pair based primarily on the dog’s breed, abilities and size. Additionally, Kelly and Ian have come to understand that not every dog is motivated by treats; some prefer to play with toys. The casting calls they put out, therefore, entails a list of questions for dog owners to enable them to pick a dog that will work with them smoothly. The most memorable dogs for the couple are Sara Carson’s dogs. They remain the easiest dogs to work with to date; no wonder they ended up on “America’s Got Talent’ and finished fifth place.

Does a Dancing Dog Get Adopted Faster?

We all get entertained by animals that can do something that sets them apart; therefore, a dancing dog is more likely to get adopted than one that stares at those coming into the shelter. Proof of this was in 2018 when one dog, Ginger Rogers, charmed her way into the heart of her owner through a dance. According to Happiest, the dog was found near the Orange County Animal Services adoption center at a street corner in Orlando. She had heartworm disease but did not have a microchip. They took her in, although they believed that she had an owner because the dog had a harness. Due to the cost of treating heartworm disease, the shelter waived her adoption fees.

They did not have to wait for long before Ginger got adopted. Every time she saw someone new walk into the shelter, the dog would show off her dance moves. She had been named after Ginger Rogers, the actress and Fred Astaire’s dance partner thus lived up to her name. Crystal Kincaid, a volunteer at the shelter, fell in love with the dance moves and recorded Ginger. The video was then posted on the shelter’s Facebook page where it garnered nearly 400,000 views. One family saw it and applied to adopt Ginger the next day.

While Ginger danced to get adopted, some dogs only dance when they get adopted, Reshareworthy shared the story of a dog that most likely had lost hope of being adopted. Dreadlock had been at the Soi Dog Foundation shelter in Thailand for four years. Staff said that the 10-year-old canine was quiet and enjoyed his walks but rarely got excited about anything. At the time of being rescued, he had a skin condition and matted fur, hence the name “Dreadlock.” Still, someone saw beyond the skin disease and wanted to adopt Dreadlock. Upon receiving the good news, the dog did a happy dance. He even surprised the staff who had never seen him get excited about anything.

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