‘Forgotten’ pets in the frame at show

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Portraits of “forgotten” pets who have spent months waiting to be rehomed are to feature in a new art 
exhibition.

The collection ‘Can I Make You Want Me?’ is made up of photos of animals who have spent long periods in the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home (EDCH).

Taken by Edinburgh photographer Janeanne Gilchrist, the pictures have been shot as a homage to “old masters” and the aesthetic of fashion shoots, in a bid to capture the personalities and emotions of some of the home’s “unwanted” pets.

EDCH general manager David Ewing said: “The animals featured are considered to be the ‘least likely to be adopted’ and Janeanne’s unique approach has created powerful and compelling images, which we hope, will lead to new homes for these forgotten pets.”

The 15 images – some over a metre high – explore the intimate relationships between humans, dogs and cats.

Janeanne, 42, from Leith, said the images also highlight the “disturbing realities of man’s imposition of his will on the animal world”.

She said: “Seeing the clipped ears of the Staffordshire bull terrier and the shaved body and missing leg of the collie are strong examples of the cruelty inflicted upon them.”

The photographer became involved in the project after her cat was mistakenly handed in to the shelter as a stray.

She said: “When I went to pick him up, I hadn’t been to the shelter in a while.

“I chatted with the staff there who told me how terrible it had been with so many animals needing rehomed and I wanted to do something to help them.”

Janeanne started taking photos in October last year, visiting the shelter on a monthly basis and selecting animals with the help of staff.

She said: “The dogs you see in photographs tend to be pedigrees. But the dogs at the home are very special and beautiful too and I wanted to bring out what was best about them in the pictures.

“A lot of these animals have been very badly treated – there were cats handed in that had been put in plastic bags and tied to trees.”

Janeanne, who said she hoped the exhibition would raise awareness of the dog and cat home, admitted working on the project did “have its moments”.

She said: “It was the cats that were the hardest as they can be pretty fickle at the best of times.”

Scotland’s oldest animal shelter, the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home has been caring for lost and abandoned dogs and cats since it was founded in 1883.

The home takes in over 1000 stray and unwanted dogs and cats every year and aims never to turn away any dog or cat brought to them for help.

The exhibition will be opened at 3pm today by Forth One broadcaster Grant Stott and runs until Saturday, June 22.

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com