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Shelter dogs star in music video to raise awareness of animal adoption

14:01 23/10/2020
In Brussels-based musician Okamy’s latest clip, 10 dogs currently up for adoption at Belgian shelters Sans Collier and Veeweyde play the leading roles

The numbers are striking: in Belgium alone, 25,000 dogs are taken in by animal shelters each year. Largely found abandoned in the streets or brought in by the owners themselves, they’re forced to spend significant parts of their lives behind bars.

Brussels musician Gordon Delacroix, aka Okamy, shines a much-needed light on the issue in a new music video released earlier this week, accompanying his most recent single, So Wrong.

"Over the years, I've adopted four older dogs myself, and it's always been an amazing and rewarding experience," he says. "Unfortunately, there is still a stigma towards shelter dogs. I hope the video will contribute to raise general awareness about animal adoption, as too many people still buy dogs from puppy mills, although thousands are desperately waiting for homes in cages"

Highlighting that preconceived notions of shelter dogs being dangerous couldn’t be further from the truth, the video shows 10 dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes from Belgian shelters Sans Collier and Veeweyde happily cuddling and playing. “I had never met the dogs before, but they all made it very easy," says Delacroix. "They were just happy to get attention, play, and leave their cages for a bit. Some were clearly craving affection, which was heartbreaking"

While awareness for the subject has been rising in recent years, in Belgium only one in six dogs is acquired through adoption. “We’re still quite behind, especially compared to the UK or the US”, says Sébastien de Jonge, the director of Sans Collier in Perwez, where currently 70 dogs are waiting to find a family. "We’re hoping that one day the reflex will be to go to your local shelter instead of spending lots of money at a breeder."

At Sans Collier, the turnaround is rather quick, and many dogs find a new home after an average of one month. But not all have that kind of luck. At Veeweyde, which currently hosts 30 dogs, but also cats, chicken, and rabbits, the waiting time can amount to an entire year or more.

“Okamy’s video was a great opportunity for us to put forward two dogs that have been with us the longest, two and three years respectively”, says Veeweyde’s Ludivine Nolf. “This kind of initiative can reach a new public while presenting the dogs in a different, poetic way. It’s really important for us to get more visibility.”

Contact Sans Collier and Veeweyde for more information about Clochette, Kaiser, Luna, Cheops, Diego, Boy, Caramel, Diesel, Emma, and Fifille. Okamy’s debut album The Apocalypse is Underwhelming is out on 30 October and live at Botanique on 27 February 2021

Written by Sarah Schug