PHOTOS: The 2017 Puppy Bowl Players Are Even Cuter Off the Field
Sophie Gamand may have the best job around. This year she was asked by Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl to photograph the furry all-stars making up this year's team off the field. Gamand has experience capturing a pup's photogenic side, as a photographer she lends her talents to rescues around the country, taking professional shots of their adoptable dogs — so teaming up with the Puppy Bowl was a perfect fit.
"We both are working to rebrand shelter dogs and showcase their amazing personalities, which takes a lot of organization and dedication," Gamand told PEOPLE.
Gamand's work helps show prospective pet parents the sweet individual hiding behind every animal and debunk the misconceptions some have about shelter pets.
"People think shelter dogs are broken or damaged goods. Because someone gave them up, there must be something wrong with them," Gamand said. "Dogs who are in shelters, end up there because of life circumstances (illness, divorce, move) and human shortcomings. They are victims who deserve a second chance."
The photographer hopes these photos of the Puppy Bowl pups and her other shelter shots encourage animal lovers to adopt a pet instead of buying one.
" 'Adopt, don't shop!' is one of the main messages I am trying to spread with my work. Shelters are full of adorable, sweet, personable dogs who are looking for a home. There will be a dog that is right for you in the shelter, including dogs of all ages and breeds," Gamand added.
Read on to learn more about some of the adorable personalities taking part in this year's puppy bowl and see Gamand's fluffy and fun work.
Breed: Chihuahua/American Eskimo Dog/Shetland Sheepdog Mix
Rescue: Animal Friends Humane Society
Breed: Pomeranian/Small Poodle/Havanese Mix
Rescue: Help Save Pets
"She was the tiniest puppy on the set and looked unreal! There was a line of people wanting to hold her."
Breed: Staffordshire Terrier/Boxer Mix
Rescue: AHeinz57 Pet Rescue
"She is this adorable white doggy with huge ears. I love working with her, and she gave me high fashion on set."
Breed: Cocker Spaniel/Small Poodle Mix
"He was super polite and just sat still. Some dogs are just like, 'Oh Hi, what would you want to do?' In my mind he has a British accent."
Rescue: Green Dogs Unleashed
"He was one of the 'special needs' puppies from this year. He is completely deaf, but so attentive. He made my job easy. 'Special needs' dogs are often less needy than other dogs!"
Breed: Staffordshire Terrier/ Boxer Mix
Rescue: ASPCA New York
"She is just gorgeous with incredible markings. She was full of spunk during the shoot, hopping all over the set."
Breed: Chihuahua/Small Poodle/Shih Tzu Mix
Rescue: Nevada SPCA
"She is from Nevada. She is a fluffy one. She had a lot of spark. She really wanted to be part of the action. She started off shy, but then really opened up."
Breed: Labrador Retriever/Terrier Mix
Rescue: The Sato Project
"The Sato Project rescued him from Dead Dog Beach. He was with his mom. The mom had hidden the puppies very well to make sure they were safe. He is adorable."
Breed: Staffordshire Terrier/Beagle/Pekingese Mix
Rescue: Mr. Bones & Co
"He is fun and has short legs and a big old face. I actually personally fostered him and fell hard for his spunky personality."
Breed: Staffordshire Terrier/German Shepherd Mix
Rescue: Stray Rescue of St. Louis
"I am glad we have a black dog. Black dogs are the most overlooked and the last ones to be adopted. He was absolutely adorable and obedient, as pit bulls often are. A dream to work with! Sit? Stay? No problem!"