Art for Adoption

Posted by Pia

An iconic image created by a once-struggling street artist has the power to captivate and transform a country. The decision to adopt has the power to save a life. Put the two together, and you have a rock solid plan for how to spread the word about the importance of pet adoption.


The original poster.

At least that's what I thought when I picked up the phone to call someone I only knew at that point as "the guy who did the Hope poster." And I boy was I right!!

Following Barack Obama's acceptance speech, in which he mentioned adding a dog to his family, I thought how great it would be to have a hopeful image to promote pet adoption and educate people about its importance. After all, the animals who share our nation are non-partisan, and they deserve hope and progress too! So with nothing to lose I found out "that guy's" name and called artist Shepard Fairey in his Los Angeles studio. He called me right back, and we got chatting about his own dogs, my work with and the plight of shelter animals.

Pia and Shepard

Pia and Shepard

Soon enough, he was happily on board to lend his voice, and we got to brainstorming about what image we might use. I sent him some photos that my photographer friend Clay Myers shot, and one of them immediately reminded Shepard of a Honey, a shelter mutt he had as a child. And so the ADOPT image was born! In the picture, Shepard has the dog's tag read "A Mutt Like Me" to quote Obama's reference to wanting to get a shelter dog that was a mix like him. It all seemed meant to be!

The down-to-earth Mr. Fairey has been named Icon Maker of the Year by Time magazine and seen his Hope image inducted as a national treasure into the Smithsonian. But none of this fanfare has derailed this prolific artist from his mission of using art to help the underserved. And his talents have already gone far to help us at, North America's largest non-profit pet adoption website, get shelter animals seen and adopted into loving homes .

Earlier this year we released the first ADOPT image in the iconic red and blue color scheme, and the limited edition run of 400 signed prints sold out in under 90 minutes!

The new gold and black poster

The new gold and black poster

Our collaboration with Shepard continues in full force, and today we are releasing the second ADOPT image in regal gold and black. This time, the dog's tag offers a powerful call to action regarding adoption: "Lead by Example." It is our hope that animal advocates and art lovers alike take this simple message to heart and speak out on behalf of the millions of shelter animals in need of homes at this very moment.

As Shepard puts it, "The 'Lead By Example' ADOPT image is a powerful one, and it is my hope that this new print will give people a way to advocate for these animals and show their support for pet adoption." Shepard's own dedication to all victims of injustice, regardless of species, provides a true example of what it means to "Lead By Example."

It has been a real pleasure working with Shepard on this project. And I have come to realize that anyone and everyone can play a role in helping our shelters animals. Shepard's use of his talent and the resultant power of an image to transform peoples' perspective is heartening. We must never underestimate the power we have within each of us to use our unique talents to make an impact and to "lead by example."

About the Print

All proceeds from Shepard Fairey's ADOPT images go to support the work of in getting North America's homeless pets seen and saved.

A limited edition run of 400 signed/numbered screen prints will go on sale today, Sept. 24 at a random time.

But adoption supporters don't have to spend $200 signed print to spread the word. T-shirts, dog bandanas and stickers with the ADOPT image are also available for those who wish to show their support for this lifesaving cause. You can even download the image or use it as a badge for your Web site or social networking page. Bark your support for the world to hear!

In order for all of you art-loving, adoption-supporters to have a chance to purchase the signed/numbered Shepard Fairey "Lead By Example" ADOPT print, they are limited to one per customer. Also be sure to sign up for alerts of future print sales.

To search for adoptable pets in your area, visit Martha's pet adoption center, created in collaboration with

In Kinship,

Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (4)

  • My heart is so full, reading today's blog, Dr Pia... There's so much I'd like to say but know I'd end up going on-n-onnn (with supportive/reinforcing comments, of course) and take up too much space today.

    Lead by Example...we ALL can be leaders everyday - in everything that we do! My goal each day is to try and make a difference in at least one person's life. Do I get tired? Yes! Do I get cranky and impatient sometimes? Yes, I do, but I try to force a smile and many times, before you know it, I'm displaying one genuinely. We can set examples not only as responsible pet owners but in manymany other arenas in our lives in which we participate. Obviously, my passion for this is showing a little as I'm re-reading before submitting my tone that I'd like to project is simply with encouraging intentions and to acknowledge the things we're doing right - beginning with giving our beloved little pets safe, nurturing, and loving homes they deserve.

    (See...there I went! [giggle] ...)

    Your post today was most enjoyable, and I'm sooo glad Mr Fairey is no longer a struggling artist. So much good has come out of his good intentions!


  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    Now that’s a neat way to earn money for Please let Shepard Fairey know that I’m available if he wants to use a photo of a Chow Chow; he, he, he. All right, maybe there better candidates out there, but I am available anyway. I must say that you two can really get the word out and can do it quickly. I heard Martha, on her show today, say that you two were catching squirrels. Are they ground or tree squirrels?
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Once again I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for our beloved animals. Getting Shepard Fairey to do all of his wonderful, fantastic art projects to help promote pet adoptions was a superb idea. I will do all that I can to help. Jan

  • what a great story about Shepard Fairey and his gift...this is wonderful to be able to give back like that when you have a talent...although I don't have the fame as Shepard Fairey does, I try to do my part in a similar way.
    As an artist I really enjoyed reading of Fairey's success earlier this year with the Obama poster...good for him...we all have a purpose in life! and of course what a great job you do Dr.Pia in your endeavor to help animals.

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