The best dog photo ever

About once a week, I come across a picture of an animal and it makes me think: This is absolutely, without a doubt, the best photo ever. Wouldn’t I love to have that framed and hung in my living room? Or at least share the image with everyone I know? Yes, I would.

Well, today a colleague sent me this link. Seems a group called Pics for Pets is saying that a good snapshot can actually double the chances of adoption for a homeless animal. (Improve chances, sure — but double, who knew?) With that in mind, they’re developing an app that allows regular folks to share out photos of their favorite shelter dogs and cats. You can sign up to be notified when it launches.

Meanwhile, we can still enjoy great photography and spread the word about animals in need the old-fashioned way — via the Internets. So in honor of beautiful images, worthy rescue orgs, and feel-good holiday spirit, we bring you three outstanding pictures (and one bonus pic)…

At any one time, Rocky Ridge Refuge in Northern Arkansas is home to animals of all types and with varying degrees of injuries or health issues. In this photo, Butterbean the Bull Terrier snuggles a wounded pony named Bazinga. Check out the group’s Facebook page for incredibly lovely images of inter-species friendship — turtles and goats, horses and deer, dogs and chicks. Truly, a peaceable kingdom.

The dog has adopted the pony as her own.

Berkeley Animal Care Services is a government-run facility and an example of a shelter doing it right: They’ve convinced the area’s best pro photographers to come in as volunteers and snap photos of their available cats and dogs. The results are often breathtaking. No wonder the shelter’s adoption rate is phenomenally high.

Perfect live-action kiss shot (photo credit: Nancy Rubin)

Spinner lives at Rolling Dog Farm, a home for disabled animals. Though she’s both blind and deaf, her life at the rescue in rural New Hampshire is bright and loud and full. I don’t know why I connect to this photo so strongly. Maybe those huge useless ears and sightless white eyes just remind me to feel.

Feeling Spinner

And then there’s this gem, courtesy of Reddit. I don’t want it hung in my living room, but I do have it saved on my computer. It makes me laugh. As crucial a part of rescue as a great photo.

Photo bomb