Haute Tramp

An online community seeks to polish the reputation of stray dogs.

Olga Nikolich is the mastermind behind Haute Tramp, an online community that aims to help street dogs find a family and home. 

We never thought we’d be doing anything with stray dogs; we had never even owned a dog before. She just appeared on our doorstep in March, desperately looking for help, so we dubbed her Marta and took her to the vet to be checked out: she was pregnant and had a bullet wound in her paw. As she still can’t stand hearing fireworks on the street, it appears that memories of shots fired are still with her.

When you have a house full of puppies, you can’t work or follow your usual routine as they occupy so much of your time, space, and energy – you can barely do anything else. We raised Marta’s babies and found new owners for all except one of them who stayed with us. Now we have two dogs.

Once our lives returned to normal, we felt a surge of energy that we put toward helping those dogs that were still living on the streets. The idea came to us to create a sort of fashion campaign, like the ones you see with exotic animals like alpacas, but with a mutt as the hero. We wanted others to view these dogs in a different light and give them the attention they deserved. So we wrote to our friends, requesting their help in organizing a photo shoot, and surprisingly received positive feedback. Many agreed to invest their time, resources, and talent in those first images and our community began to grow.

It’s striking to observe how the dogs behave during photo shoots: they instinctively know when to look into the camera, or do things in accordance with the script if it’s a video. It’s as if they understand why we are doing this and agree to do their part.

I like the myth that shamans created dogs to serve humans by combining the genes of a man and a wolf. Out of all animals, only a puppy calms down when held in the arms of a human. Only dogs are prone to catching the eye of a human and reading the nuances of their emotions – ready to devote themselves entirely to their owners. I believe that true friendship has nothing to do with consumerism, and that’s why I don’t support commercial breeding.