Giving Back


This weekend I volunteered my time to the SPCA to take photos of animals ready for adoption.  I stumbled on this work by accident.

A couple of weeks ago my son's AV club did a story on the SPCA for his elementary school. I went along and took some pull back shots of them. The director of marketing approached me and asked if I'd be interested in helping.  Well, YA!

I love animals. I have two dogs of my own, but my heart goes out to shelter animals. They become attached and dependent on their owners and then something happens and they end up in a shelter. Or on a sadder note, they are abused, tormented, or neglected. The latter may feel like they are at the Ritz. Daily meals, human interaction, a bed, oh and treats.

I posted on Facebook of the couple of shots I got that night with my son's AV club, and some of my photographer friends showed an interest. They wanted to help too!

I teamed up with a photographer friend. Dick and I met up and did our best. Dick seems to do more wild life and nature shots, where I do more portraits of people and product shots. This was new to us both.  It was challenging. Most of these dogs and cats weren't trained. Cats were lovable and curious. The dogs were thrilled with the play time and attention. All of them. I expected them to be shy and nervous, but that didn't seem to be the case. These animals were ready to find a home and put on their best face.

I wanted to take them home, I did. One in particular; her name was Fiona. She was a dachshund and probably under a year old. Dick stood at one corner of the play area and I the other. We would call her and she'd run to whoever called her. At one point, while trying to get a shot of her running, I called her, she ran to me and shoved her head between my arms (I had the camera out in front of me) nuzzling my body. She just wedged herself up in to that little gap between my body and the camera trying fiercely to get some lovin'. I gave it to her. How could I not? Do you see this face below? She was too adorable.


Alas, I couldn't bring her home. I have my own rescue mutt and my bargain basement Chihuahua. I wouldn't have the time to take in and train another dog. Heck, my Chihuahua is barely trained as is.  At least I can recognize that. Sort of, while writing this I told my husband I wanted Fiona. He said "We have too many animals as is, if it weren't for that I'd say yes." So yes, I see this cute face and want her curled up at my feet. However, I have to give myself a reality check. 

Often what happens is we think we want or need an animal. We adopt or buy one, sometimes we didn't think it through. Then there's the Craigslist ad or Facebook post "Need to find a home for my dog, I can no longer care for her/him" "My landlord said I couldn't keep her/him please contact me if interested" The list goes on. Sure the intentions were to give these little (some not so little) ones a home, but we jumped the gun. 

Before you adopt or buy an animal (please consider adoption first) really think. Do you have the time and patience to train the animal so that puppy/kitten behavior doesn't become a nuisance. Are you allowed to have the animal, check your lease. Are you financially stable enough to pay for the costs of food and vet bills? Are you prepared to clean up the messes left behind, getting your shoes and toilet paper ripped to shreds? Will you be angry when that happens?

So after all considerations you decide "OK, maybe I shouldn't be a pet owner." You can still be an important part of an animal's life. You can volunteer your time at a shelter. Maybe you can donate money or supplies. I can't take in any more animals, but I can donate my time and talent in helping them find a home.  Taking photos for their adoption photos can show how cute and lovable the animal is before their new owners adopt them. Studies have shown that the better the photo, and the more it depicts the character of the animal, the better chances of adoption.

So I'm going to try and dedicate some time every month to the SPCA. I want these babies to find homes. I want them to know what my dogs know. I dry place to sleep, food in their bowls, and some love. Give back. If you are an animal lover, but can not take one in, just donate. Whether it's your time, money, supplies for the shelter, it's well worth it.

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