East Orange, NJ – on Sunday August 25th the dogs of the East Orange Animal Shelter put on their best back to school faces for an adorable photo shoot that is sure to warm even the hearts of school-aged children during this stressful time of year.

Volunteer photographer Marcela Garcia Mangan, who has been taking photos of the East Orange shelter’s adoptable pets for the past year, came up with the photoshoot idea when brainstorming ways to help get the dogs exposure to potential adopters. “The fact that some of these dogs have been living at the shelter for as long as a year yet are still smiling is not only a testament to the care they receive at the shelter, but also to the unbreakable spirit of rescue dogs,” said Garcia Mangan. “My hope is that my photos will inspire people to come meet these awesome dogs and adopt one them. That's what makes it all worth it.” So far it seems like that wish might come true; the photos have been shared far and wide on social media, which is often the first step in an adoptable pet’s journey to a forever home.

Last week alone, the East Orange Animal Shelter placed 5 dogs in adoptive homes or with other animal adoption organizations, with 1 more scheduled to leave this week, in addition to multiple cats. Since some of the dogs at the shelter have been there for a year or even longer, seeing them leave for new beginnings is one of the most rewarding aspects of Animal Control Officer Lenora Hankerson’s job.  “Each animal that comes through our doors holds a special place in my heart and seeing them thrive from the affection we give them inspires me every day,” Hankerson said. “The shelter staff and I are very grateful for all of our rescue organization partnerships (those who have been working with us for years and those who are newer to our network) for working with us to enrich the lives of East Orange’s animals with love, happiness and longevity.”

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If you are interested in adopting one of the dogs pictured here, visit the shelter at 133 Midland Ave, East Orange (behind the recycling building) Monday through Friday between 11AM and 1PM, or call (862) 930-7856 to schedule an appointment.

Even if your back to school shopping won’t include adopting a dog this year, the East Orange shelter dogs hope that their back to school photos will make you smile. To view the entire album of visit http://bit.ly/2HvhssF or join the “EAST ORANGE SHELTER ADOPTABLES” group on Facebook.