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Over a dozen pets get adopted at animal shelter with the help of New Haven art students

Kris Wetmore, a visual arts teacher at Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, was inspired by a project aimed at finding homes for cats and dogs.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Have you ever looked at your dog or cat and felt like they are looking right into your soul? 

A group of art students at a New Haven magnet school captured the essence of a group of furry friends by pushing the message of "adopt, don't shop."

"When they see Frannie, I want them to look into her eyes and see the glow in her eyes," said Dariana Pollasco, a student of Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School. 

Standing in a grass of flowers, her mouth wide open and ears flopped back, Frannie, a pit bull terrier, was one of the 13 pets waiting to be taken home, and she was after Pollasco's portrait was completed. 

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"I just want to put myself into the animals' position and they're all sad and lonely and don't have homes," added Pollasco. 

Through natural talent and their love for art, the group of cats and dogs have a new place to call home. 

For student Oliver Colacino, painting Rosie the cat, a calico, was not easy. 

It took just over a month to perfect those strokes of fur onto the canvas.

 "We would go up to the table and we'd get a plate and we'd put the different colors that we wanted to incorporate into the portrait. Some people had fun with it and did different colored backgrounds. I did blue," said Colacino.

The idea stemmed from Mrs. Wetmore, the students' visual arts teacher at Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School. 

Inspired by a similar project by another teacher in the Midwest, she made calls to the New Haven Animal Shelter for permission to help get some of their pets adopted through art.

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"If they were struggling with a part of it, I had them do practice boards, I would give them a piece of board and say alright, let's practice making fur, let's practice making the whiskers," added said Kris Wetmore. 

From practice to perfection, the portraits have been hung at the Mitchell Branch Library for a month now, hoping to catch the attention of visitors. 

"It's fantastic and everybody who comes in here just really loves it," said Marian Huggins, branch manager at Mitchell Branch Library. 

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With the overwhelming responses, only two are left to be adopted - Sophie, the long-haired calico, and Snoopy, the pit bull terrier. 

FOX61 stopped by the New Haven Animal Shelter to find out more about the remaining two pets. 

Sophie was caught in the middle of her nap as she sleepily gazed at the camera. 

A sign outside of her cage said Sophie is 5-years-old and needs a patient family she can trust.

Snoopy, on the other hand, was a ball of energy, a dog who has been at the shelter for over a year. 

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"She's a really good dog. One of her issues is she has to be the only pet home so we're looking for the right home where she'll be successful," said Animal Control Officer Joseph Manganiello of the New Haven Animal Shelter. 

Officer Manganiello was confident Snoopy's portrait will lead her to the right family. 

"It's almost like they captured the soul of the pets in the pictures they drew and for me, when I saw the pictures and the likeness of it, I thought it was right on," added Officer Manganiello. 

The paintings will be up at the library through the end of this month. 

If you are interested in adopting Sophie or Snoopy, click here for more information. 

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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