In February of this year, I was given the opportunity from my "real" job to do an hour of volunteer work at some kind of local non-profit. It took me a long few weeks to think of just exactly what I wanted to do, but really the answer was obvious. All I had to do was combine my two favorite things - animals and photography! I contacted Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick, Maine and found they were looking for a photographer so clearly it was meant to be! Little did I know how wonderful this opportunity would be.
In the summer of 2015, I did my fair share of research on adopting a dog. As I searched, I noticed that a majority of the dogs had photos that didn't show them in their best light. With the influx of rescue dogs, few shelters have professional photographers on hand to take pictures of every single animal and most dogs and cats end up with a quick cell phone photo. Every dog deserves a wonderful home, but people are attracted to what they see. When you aren't able to immediately visit the dog in person, what you see online can make the decision about whether to pursue adopting them or not. Photography can change these animals lives!
In April, I got to be a part of a transport from Mississippi to Maine. The puppies made a 30+ hour journey to their new home and were adopted out less than a week later! This has a special place in my heart, since it's the same way I got my dog Bo. Southern dogs are one of a kind! I photographed them as they came out of their cages in the van and went on their way to have their post travel check-up. Although they were all a little stunned by the journey, there were a lot of wagging tails!
If you are a photographer, I cannot encourage you enough to look into volunteering at your local shelter. Even if you are not, there are hundreds of other jobs around the shelter for you! Lending your time to help the animals is more fulfilling than I could've ever imagined.