Georgia Billman Second Chances

  • Tauira / Student
    Georgia Billman
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    George Hajian, Meighan Ellis

It starts with the saying “a dog is a man’s best friend”, dogs hold an undeniable connection with humans and can be seen as a place of support and comfort. But when it comes to reciprocity, are we there for them?

Dogs are constantly being re-homed with many up for adoption across New Zealand. This is due to reasons such as, an owner passing, coming from an abusive household or for pure lack of knowledge on how to care for their dog’s breed. As a result, when these dogs are re-homed, they are often left suffering heart break and a lack of trust in humans, and needing more work to build new long-lasting relationships, ultimately impacting their opportunity for a second chance.

There has been a huge spike in dog adoption numbers during COVID-19, with the average number of dogs adopted daily increasing during this time. Many have turned to adopting dogs for companionship and emotional support due to the proven psychological benefits they present. This, however, raises concerns regarding the lack of knowledge and understanding of the responsibility required when adopting/owning a dog, especially one that has been previously owned.

The positive effects dogs have on humans are clearly evident with research showing an increase of oxytocin in humans when there is a close presence of dogs, also known as the bonding hormone. Playful interactions between owners and their dogs can be seen to increase this hormone and enhance the bond between dogs and their owners. Therefore, showcasing the importance of play in the formation of a strong bond is important. Food is equally valuable in solidifying a strong bond by acknowledging and rewarding cooperation and progress. A crucial step in the process is to recognize your dog as an equal, like you would with a friend. Therefore, mimicking human behaviour and relationships became a driving force behind this project.

Second Chances Share Box is a bonding kit for an owner and their new, previously owned dog, providing them with ways of bonding and strengthening their connection with one another, similar to ways in which humans would, over food and activities.

Through humour and playfulness the kit initiates involvement, and provides a sense of comfort and support during the bonding process.

The project was made to feel warm and inviting, enhanced by an appropriate colour palette and a combination of typographic and illustrative choices. The illustrations playfully visualise the dog at the same level of a friend or family member and were illustrated alike through their physical attributes, depicting their strong bond – like owner like dog.

Creating a strong bond takes time, but it’s all worth it in the end. The share box aims to create memories, share kai, get involved in activities, and of course, continue building a strong bond!