Beautiful Photos Of Shelter Dogs Land Them Permanent, Loving Homes

07/31/2015 07:01am ET | Updated July 31, 2015

Every year, more than six million dogs and cats enter animal shelters as temporary housing. The ones who hang around longer than the quickly adopted tend to be the underdogs: Mutts who don't have a fancy, clean pedigree, but have a lot of love to offer.

Traer Scott

In an effort to help the left-behind pooches get scooped up into welcoming homes and provided with the belly rubs they deserve, photographer Traer Scott started taking powerful closeups of shelter and homeless dogs. Over the past 10 years, Scott, who has a pit bull of her own and volunteers at shelters, has amassed an incredible collection of animal photos. "I found that no matter what, I couldn't bring myself to delete their photos, which were in some cases, the only record of their existence," she wrote on her website.

It's easy to see why the photographer struggled to erase the compelling faces she captured. Each is unique, emanating the soul and emotion of the individual dog. Scott has compiled her Shelter Dog series into several books. Her newest, the forthcoming "Finding Home: Shelter Dogs and Their Stories," published by Princeton Architectural Press 2015, depicts the spirit of innocent animals, and shares their stories of finding permanent families. The images are as beautiful as they are heart-wrenching, and might encourage you to adopt a needy pup in the near future.

"Finding Home" will be available for purchase in September, but we're sharing the stories and faces of a few magnificent mutts below.

Traer Scott
Smart, bubbly Layla was surrendered to the shelter by a heartbroken owner whose financial problems had caused her to lose her home. Layla spent about two weeks in the shelter before being adopted by a young couple who were looking forward to having an active dog to visit the dog park and go jogging with.
Traer Scott
Nala was surrendered to the shelter because her family did not have time for a dog. She's quite social and became friends with another shelter resident, a little terrier mix named Flynn. Nala and Flynn were adopted together!
Muffy Vanderbeer
Traer Scott
A young woman bough Muffy mix but did not want to do the work of house training her. She left the dog with her mother, who did not have time to care for a dog, so Muffy was surrendered to the shelter as a one-year-old. Tiny Muffy spent just six days at the shelter and now lives with a big, happy pit bull in her new home. The two are best friends.
Nanook, who was named by shelter staff after the dog in the 1987 film "The Lost Boys," was found as a stray playing in the parking lot of the local electric company. He was untrained and badly behaved, but after evaluations, shelter staff soon saw a softer side to him and committed him to a strict training program. After several months of boot camp, he was adopted into a wonderful home.
Traer Scott
Teddy was picked up as a stray, and his goofy charm and lack of manners were immediately noticed by shelter staff. He constantly jumped on people and was very mouthy, which, given his large size, made potential adopters nervous. Volunteers and staff worked with him on basic obedience and socialization, and after several months he was finally adopted by a brother and sister who had seen his photo online. They were willing to put in the time needed to train Teddy and help him to thrive in a loving environment.

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