Check out how one photographer is raising awareness for shelter dogs through his dog art that pays homage to famous literary icons. 

When I first adopted my beloved dog Beau, my heart was so overfilled with joy because I knew I had found one of my best friends for life. I am all for giving shelter dogs a second shot at a new beginning, which is why I was so excited when I stumbled upon one artist's rendition of famous writers and poets throughout history using adorable shelter dogs as his medium.

Italian photographer Dan Bannino was inspired to start his ambitious dog portraits project “Poetic Dogs” after adopting his dog Rothko. “When I adopted my dog Rothko, in 2014, my life completely changed,” says Bannino. My words are no match for the artist’s own when he states “living with Rothko I’ve realized how dogs are sometimes similar to writers: speaking through their expressions, sounds and movements, they’re telling you everything while saying nothing, just like an author would do with their words in a fine poem. My new best friend and his love served as motivation for starting my series called Poetic Dogs.” I have found Bannino’s ambition to be extremely endearing and I have collected a few of his puppy portraits to share with you below. Enjoy!

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Dog Art Brothers Grimm Portrait Photography Dan Bannino Poetic Dogs Homeless Rescue Dogs

c/o Dan Bannino

This adorable pup duo is practically the spitting image of the famous Brothers Grimm! When it came to taking his pictures, Bannino has gone on record to say that his ambitious “Poetic Dogs” endeavor was one of the most challenging projects he’s ever encountered in his life. Many of the dogs featured in these custom portraits are untrained and understandably afraid of people. This problem was tackled by ditching the camera flash and introducing a whole bunch of doggy treats that I’m sure were greatly appreciated by the adorable hounds!

Dog Art Dante Alighieri Writer Dan Bannino Photography Adopted Shelter Dogs Poetic Dogs

c/o Dan Bannino

This darling dog is channeling 13th century Italian author Dante Alighieri’s style to a T. With his “inferno” look, this pup has reached a deeper level of being freaking adorable. Who wouldn't want to adopt this lovable medieval mutt?! Bannino is hoping to compile the custom dog portraits he has taken of these literary hounds into a book one day. His hopes are that the book would serve not only as homage to these famous authors, but as a beacon of awareness for shelter dogs in need.

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Dog Art Mark Twain Writer Dan Bannino Photography Poetic Dogs Animal Rescues

c/o Dan Bannino

This adorable shelter pup portrait is an exact Mark Twain replica! Right down to his fluffy white scruff and adorable “adopt me please” gaze, this dog is nailing the look. I’m sure this “tramp abroad” is destined to be the precious addition to one lucky family.

Dog Art Edgar Allan Poe Poet Portrait Photography Dan Bannino Poetic Dogs

c/o Dan Bannino

This adorable brooding pup is Edgar Allan Poe reincarnated. The photo’s details down to the neck scarf and deep set eyes of both pup and author are spot on. I wonder if this doggy has any poetic thoughts bouncing around in his head similar to his literary lookalike… A tale about those rascally ravens in the yard, perhaps?

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Dog Art William Shakespeare Portrait Photography Dan Bannino Poetic Dogs Animal Rescue Shelter Dogs

c/o Dan Bannino

This Shakespearean little scruff is a regular bard lookalike with his long flowing locks and white Elizabethan dog collar. This is one darling pup destined to take center stage with those irresistible floppy ears! Not only did photographer Bannino recreate accurate costumes and scenery for his furry models, but remained steadfastly patient with these pups as he waited for the right facial expressions to appear before his camera lens. For anyone who has attempted to capture the elusive perfect picture of your pup for safekeeping, you can understand how difficult this must be, especially when you throw in a couple outfits and have to pose your pup as well!

Dog Art Emily Dickinson Portrait Photography Dan Bannino Poetic Dogs Animal Rescue Shelter Dogs

c/o Dan Bannino

This Emily Dickinson doggy lookalike is absolutely precious. In the process of deciding which dog would match which writer, Bannino would spend hours in the kennel analyzing their movements, eyes and mannerisms as the dogs interacted with each other. You can view more of these adorable lookalikes at the artist’s personal website. If you’d like to make a donation to the foundation, Bannino has also launched an Indiegogo campaign where the proceeds will go towards continuing the project and providing dogs with much needed medical care, food, and other basic supplies.

Apparently you CAN teach a #dog new tricks as seen in these dog portraits by photographer Dan Bannino! #PoeticDogs

Posted by FurnishMyWay, LLC on Friday, September 23, 2016

Dan Bannino continues to raise awareness through bringing the likeness of famous writers and poets to life with the help of these lovable fluff balls. Do you consider yourself a friend to the animals just as this photographer does? Are you also looking for something fun to do this weekend? Why not consider stopping by your local animal shelter to look around or possibly sign up to be a regular volunteer. Who knows, maybe you could end up finding a friend for life. I know I did!

Which featured doggy portrait photo was your favorite? Let me know your thoughts on Bannino’s project below, and don’t forget to share this post with your photography-loving friends!

**Featured image c/o Dan Bannino