A photographer 'accidentally' found a way to help hundreds of dogs get adopted

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Rachael Rodgers is a photographer who documents her road trips on Instagram.

But her travel companions aren’t family members or friends — they’re dogs without permanent homes.

Rodgers, who lives in the small hamlet of Exshaw in Alberta, Canada, said she has traveled with hundreds of dogs across Canada, plus three U.S. states — Washington, Utah and Oregon.

And it all started with an Instagram post, she said.

“There was no plan for such a project in the beginning,” she told CNBC. “I found that I had more Instagram followers than I wanted to share my own photos with, so I decided instead to volunteer to take photos of adoptable dogs at a local animal shelter and post those photos. “

I do it because I have accidentally developed this … ability to change a dog’s life.

Rachael Rodgers

Photographer

Her first post about a rescue dog went viral, and she’s been photographing canine companions ever since, she said.

Rodgers works with more than 20 shelters now, she said, picking up dogs to take them hiking and kayaking at national and provincial parks. Even on her personal travels, Rodgers said she makes an effort to volunteer at shelters along the way.

Paddy, Aurora and Wilma are available for adoption, said Rodgers — at Canada’s Claws Animal Rescue, Animal Rescue Foundation and Lillian Albon Animal Shelter, respectively.

Source: Rachael Rodgers

She said nearly every dog that she has photographed has been adopted, with the exception of three: Paddy, Aurora and Wilma, shown above.

Traveling with man’s best friend

Rodgers’ work can be found on her Instagram account @trailsandbears, which showcases hundreds of dogs in the Canadian wilderness engaging in activities ranging from kayaking in Moraine Lake, Alberta, to mountain hiking in the Yukon, a territory in Canada.

“I usually go 60 to 90 minutes in any direction from where I live to start the adventure,” she said. Rodgers’ work can be found on her Instagram account @trailsandbears, which showcases hundreds of dogs

in the Canadian wilderness engaging in activities ranging from kayaking in Moraine Lake, Alberta, to mountain hiking in the Yukon territory. She said she chooses activities that each dog enjoys to showcase its strengths to potential adopters. To do so, she said she chooses activities that each dog likes to showcase its strengths to potential adopters.

“The dogs usually ride in the back of my car … sometimes they prefer shotgun,” she said, adding that she usually posts videos of the dogs en route, so people can see how they respond to car rides.

Rodgers and Feta, a puppy from the Whitehorse Humane Society, share a moment at a deserted gold mine in the Yukon, Canada. Feta has since been adopted.

Source: Rachael Rodgers

“It used to be tricky a few years ago to show up at a [shelter],” she said. “I received some strange looks and a lot of rejections. “

Someone usually recognizes her from her Instagram page, she said.

The need for better representation

Rodgers told CNBC Travel that traveling with rescue dogs can be challenging. However, the need to represent them motivates Rodgers to keep volunteering.

Rodgers plays with three shelter dogs.

Source: Rachael Rodgers

“I do it because I have accidentally developed this tool and audience and ability “

Someone usually recognizes her from her Instagram page, she said.

The need for better representation

Rodgers told CNBC Travel that traveling with rescue dogs can be challenging, but the need to represent them motivates her to keep volunteering.

Rodgers plays with three shelter dogs.

Source: Rachael Rodgers01001010″I do it because I have accidentally developed this tool, audience and ability to change a dog’s life, not because I like to or want to,” she said.01001010Rodgers said it’s vital to show rescue dogs in real-world environments too.01001010″You can’t judge a dog based on his or her character in a shelter environment — it’s not a natural space,” she said. She said it’s important to take them into the natural environment to do activities their adoptive families may do.