Artist’s Creative Project Helps Dogs Get Adopted And Raises Awareness

We’ve all heard the phrase, “cone of shame” (aka the pet lamp shade or  Elizabethan collar) all names for the plastic collars which dogs wear after surgery to keep them from messing with their incisions. One art student has taken it upon herself to turn the so-called cone of shame into something positive.

Erin Einbender, a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, needed an idea for the final project in her photography class, and she was inspired by her time volunteering with the One Tail at a Time dog rescue to create the “Cones of Fame” project. She told the Chicago Tribune:

“All the dogs at One Tail at a Time, before they get adopted, get spayed or neutered and they looked so sad in their cones.”

Einbender explained the purpose of the project, which features adoptable rescue dogs, on the Cones of Fame Facebook page:

With the help of fellow volunteers I have been decorating cones and taking photos of adoptable rescue dogs. The cones are meant to empower the pups (instead of shaming them) and to educate people on the importance of spaying/neutering. Hopefully these pictures will help dogs get out of rescues and shelters and into forever homes.

The project has been a resounding success. Not only were all of the initial dogs who were featured in the photos adopted, but Einbender even saw a change in the pups’ personality when they were wearing their festive cones. She told the Chicago Tribune:

“I really did see a change in personality in the dogs. They looked so sad in the (plain) cones and when I put them in front of the camera with these (decorated) cones on, some of them were even posing and smiling. It was really cute.”

Einbender’s school project has morphed into something huge – not only did images of the dogs go viral after hitting the likes of Buzzfeed and Mashable, but Einbender is now inspired to incorporate other shelter dogs into the photography endeavor. She told Shelter Me about her plans to work with other animal shelters and rescue groups:

I’ve been in contact with CACC and Alive rescue. I’m planning on starting with those two and then others in the Chicago area and maybe one day going nationally.
The people who have adopted one of the canine models have reached out to Einbender, via social media, to let her know that their new four-legged friends are stars – she told Shelter Me:
They show the picture to their newly adopted dog and tell them that they’re famous 🙂
Einbender will have the chance to meet more adoptive dog parents at the Cones of Fame art opening on June 21 at the One Tail at a Time adoption center. Click here to learn more.
Find Cones of Fame on Facebook here.

(Images Erin Einbender/Cones of Fame)

Watch a heartwarming video, a Poem To My Foster Dog, here.

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Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.


  1. Lynne Reese, CAc Pals for Paws, Inc. says:

    Beautiful! I will get our high school art class to start making these and let our city shelter make wonderful pictures of fabulous adoptable dogs…don’t think the kitties would tolerate the collars.

    1. Penny Eims says:

      Wonderful! I love to hear about people being inspired to help 🙂

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