In the city of Campina Grande, Brazil, there’s a housing crisis currently underway — but not the kind that you’d expect. Stray animals actually outnumber homeless people by over 500 percent, and one artist is doing his best to give those animals a home. While 23-year-old Amarildo Silva was working at a local supermarket, he was trying to figure out how to use his creativity and artistic ambitions to make something useful out of discarded materials. Noticing that the dogs in his neighborhood liked to curl up and sleep in old, used tires, he started collecting unwanted tires from city streets, parking lots, and landfills, and upcycling them into ornate and comfortable pet beds.
He starts by cutting the tires into desired shapes, adding fresh paint, and decorating them with bone, paw, and heart shapes. He also sews printed fabric around soft cushions to create a comfortable base for the tire bed, resulting in a truly luxurious home for the stray animals of Campina Grande.
He began selling his pet beds to friends and coworkers, but word of his project spread, and he has been invited to demonstrate his work at schools and local events. Now, the artist finds himself in possession of a rapidly growing business called Cãominhas Pets, which you can follow on Facebook and Instagram. Not only does he continue to create pet beds, but now he also transforms unwanted mounds of rubber into colorful planters for his community’s gardens.
The result of Silva’s efforts is not only new homes for the area’s stray cats and dogs, but also the substantial reduction of waste. In an interview with environmental news blog Green Matters, Silva said, “Over the course of two years, I already removed 1,500 units of old tires from the environment making only the [pet beds]. This certainly makes a very big positive impact on nature.”