Rescue Stories

Woman Turns Cones of Shame into “Cones of Fame”—And Gets All the Dogs Adopted!

From medical device to must-have accessory!

Ahh, the dreaded “cone of shame”: A necessary evil to help dogs heal from medical procedures without the interference of licking or biting. The plastic shields are typically large and white—nothing short of beacons for pity upon puppers who can’t stop literally licking their wounds.

But where most might see unsightly plastic, one woman saw a canvas. Erin Einbender, 30, a recent graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, had been volunteering with One Tail at a Time dog adoption center when inspiration struck: She decided to decorate the cones of shame and turn them into “Cones of Fame” to help take the pups from sad to fab.

The best part? Every single one of the "Cones of Fame" dogs has been adopted!

We spoke with the conical craftswoman.

What inspired you to decorate the dogs' cones?

I started volunteering at One Tail at a Time Dog Rescue eight months ago while finishing my degree at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I realized I could use photography and my knowledge of social media to help the dogs find forever homes. I was brainstorming ideas for my final photography project and came up with the idea of "Cones of Fame." All of the dogs are spayed and neutered at One Tail at a Time (when they're at the appropriate age) before they're adopted. Spaying and neutering your pet ensures there won't be accidental litters and keeps more animals out of the shelter. The dogs looked so sad in their cones—and cones have been associated with shame. I wanted to empower the dogs while educating people on the importance of spaying/neutering pets.

How did the project begin to take off and get attention?

I had a few craft sessions with the One Tail at a Time Dog Rescue volunteers where we decorated the cones. It just so happened that one of the volunteers works for NBC and she showed her coworkers and they all loved my project! With all of the negative news out there, people need some happy stories too!

All of the “Cones of Fame” dogs have been adopted! Do you intend to do more?

Yes! I plan on continuing this project. I'm going to connect with more rescues in the Chicago area and focus more on long-term dogs that are having trouble being noticed/getting adopted. I actually have a "Cones of Fame" art opening planned for June 21st at the One Tail at a Time adoption center. It will be from 7–9PM, tickets are $10 and will be donated to the rescue, and I'll also be selling prints.

What are next steps for Cones of Fame?

I hope to expand to all over the U.S. with this project. Eventually I plan on reaching out to fashion designers and artists to design and decorate cones for a fashion show where I would auction the cones/sell prints to benefit dog rescues and possibly fund free spay/neuter clinics around the U.S.

Do you have any dogs (or other pets) of your own?

I have two dogs! Whiskey, a six-year-old Min Pin mix and Rocco, a 2yr old Old English sheepdog, who is actually famous on social media [Editor’s Note: Unleashed actually profiled him independently of this story: Meet Rocco, The English Sheepdog Whose Butt is Being Compared to Kim Kardashian’s.] You can follow him @Rocco_Roni.

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