Landfill Dogs by Mary Shannon Johnstone

For July, Designbox welcomes Mary Shannon Johnstone
and her Landfill Dogs Project to the Gallery.


Landfill Dogs Project is a photography exploration by Mary Shannon Johnstone, in which she photographs shelter dogs that have been homeless for at least 2 weeks. For the month of July, Designbox will exhibit these photos that show the joy and love of life these dogs have.
Read full show description below. Visit & Share the facebook event page.

“give some, take one” Donation Wall Join Mary Shannon Johnstone & Designbox in an interactive donation based display, benefiting Wake County Animal Shelter. For every monetary donation, you can choose a 4×4 animal portrait from the wall to take home with you!

SPECIAL Pet Brands in the Shop For July, we have asked a few select local pet related brands to join us in the shop! Read about them below.

In addition, a portion of Shop Sales will be donated!
10% Shop Sales from First Friday will be donated to Wake County Animal Shelter. When you make any purchase in the shop on first friday, July 7th, Designbox will donate 10% of the sale. This includes purchases of Art, Greeting Cards, Clocks, Candles, Bags, T-Shirts, Vino2Go, Brew2Go, DVDs, AND EVERYTHING ELSE!

Landfill Dogs Project Description


These are not just cute pictures of dogs. These are dogs who have been homeless for at least two weeks, and now face euthanasia if they do not find a home. Each week for 18 months (late 2012–early 2014) I bring one dog from the county animal shelter and photograph him/her at the local landfill.

The landfill site is used for two reasons. First, this is where the dogs will end up if they do not find a home. Their bodies will be buried deep in the landfill among our trash. These photographs offer the last opportunity for the dogs to find homes.

The second reason for the landfill location is because the county animal shelter falls under the same management as the landfill. This government structure reflects a societal value; homeless cats and dogs are just another waste stream. However, this landscape offers a metaphor of hope. It is a place of trash that has been transformed into a place of beauty. I hope the viewer also sees the beauty in these homeless, unloved creatures.

As part of this photographic process, each dog receive a car ride, a walk, treats, and about 2 hours of much needed individual attention. My goal is to offer an individual face to the souls that are lost because of animal overpopulation, and give these animals one last chance. This project will continue for one year, so that we can see the landscape change, but the constant stream of dogs remains the same.

Stay connected with the Landfill Dogs through Facebook.

Mary Shannon Johnstone received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and MFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is the recipient of numerous awards including “Pause, To Begin” artist, Critical Mass Top 50 (2009, 2010), and Honorable Mention in Lens Culture’s 2010 International Exposure Awards. Johnstone is a tenured Associate Professor at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.

Also welcoming Pits & Posh, Good Grace’s Dog Treats
& Jacqpot to the shop.


pitsnposh-logoPits & Posh
Handmade Bow-Ties & Flowers.



good graces dog treatsGood Grace’s Dog Treats
Good Grace’s is a home-based, two-woman owned and operated dog treat company.

All of our treats are hand made! We use only human-grade ingredients, with no chemicals, preservatives or coloring. We offer 8 “regular” recipes (which include vegetarian and vegan options) and 8 “specialty” recipes (which include grain-free, gluten-free, wheat-free and vegetarian options), each and every one WAGNIFICENT!

At Jacqpot Creations, we specialize in handmade goods for you and your pets. In the spirit of environmental responsibility, we try to use all of our fabric, including scraps, and upcycle old goods into new treasures.



Press & Posts…

Mary Shannon Johnstone’s “Landfill Dogs” project helps animals at risk for euthanasia in North Raleigh News

Call out in the INDY’s online First Friday Raleigh

Not just cute pictures of dogs post by Jen Wike at

JUST IN: Check Out the Closing Reception for Landfill Dogs post by Lisa A. Sullivan at