Beebe the dog has made remarkable progress since being found in a dumpster in the Rockaways several years ago.
The resilient pup, who was taken in by Sean Casey Animal Rescue, spent three long years in the shelter waiting for a family to notice her.
Part of the reason Beebe waited so long may have been due to her age. At 7 years old, Beebe was a senior, and older dogs often have a harder time finding adopters. Susie’s Senior Dogs spent time getting to know Beebe (then known as Baby), and noted that she had a sweet and mellow disposition, saying, “She is a dream girl and any family would be so lucky to call her ‘theirs!'”
This extra attention — from an organization that specializes in helping older dogs gain visibility and get adopted — was what helped Beebe find her forever parents. But this wasn’t the only effort made on her behalf.
Beebe also got to participate in an unusual experiment by a photographer: placing flower crowns on the heads of pit bulls in shelters, in order to make them appear more gentle and adoptable. Sophie Gamand, the photographer who began her #PitBullFlowerPower series in 2014, told PupJournal that she had reservations about photographing the dogs, and that, “admittedly, I was prejudiced against them.” But, with the help of staff and volunteers at Sean Casey, Gamand pushed forward with the experiment.
Beebe (then Baby) was the very first photography subject in the series. In reflecting back on the experience, Gamand says,
“I thought for sure Baby was going to at least eat the crown, if not worse… after all, she was a pit bull!” But instead, “she was stoical. Dignified…Her gorgeous eyes carried so much depth. As if she had felt the importance of the moment, when she gave me Flower Power. From that portrait I knew something magical was happening.”
Gamand told PupJournal,
“With Flower Power, for the first time, pit bull owners around the world feel seen and respected, and people around the world are opening their heart to pit bulls.”
Ally Andriolas, the foster coordinator for Sean Casey, helped with that first photo shoot. Andriolas told PupJournal, “When we were putting the crowns on, we had no idea how or if the dogs would be receptive to them, but the overwhelming majority wore them as champs, as if they knew what the crowns meant for them and their breed.”
She went on to tell us, “We had no idea at the time the impact it would make for the image of pitbulls and that it would have not just a local effect, but a global one.”
“People would want to come in just to walk the flower power dogs, or would ask us if a dog they were walking was a flower power model because they had seen them on the internet. All of our flower power models have found homes, except for one who is currently in a rehabilitation facility.”
Echoing this sentiment, Gamand told PupJournal, “Today, Flower Power is more than just an art project. It has become a movement.”
Luckily for Beebe, one family took notice of her and the special efforts made on her behalf. In January of 2015, after seeing pictures posted by Susie’s Senior Dogs and getting to know her sweet disposition, Beebe’s new parents Laura and Jordan decided to adopt her.
In April, Beebe got to travel across the country with her new forever family. Not only does Beebe get to tag along for family adventures, but her new parents told Susie’s Senior Dogs and Sophie Gamand that Beebe has two beds — her own elevated bed, plus access to the king-size human bed. She’s treated like royalty (in the best way!).
You can follow Beebe’s adventures with her family on Instagram, and you can always find adoptable pups (senior or not!) at Sean Casey Animal Rescue. For more #PitBullFlowerPower photos, visit Sophie Gamand on Instagram.
Header images © Sophie Gamand. Used with permission.