Hearts Speak – a great article about a great organization.

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This is a really well written article by Scott Smith of Consumers Advocate, located in Puerto Rico. Click here to read the article.

The article is about Hearts Speak, an organization that I am a member of that connects artists like photographers, videographers, painters, graphic designers, etc. to animal shelters to help get pets adopted, among other great projects.

This kind of organization needs this kind of well deserved praise and exposure.  There is a lot to say about but I will say  no more……..  just read the article and you will be thoroughly educated on why Hearts Speak exists and why they are making a difference in the animal rescue world.

 

 

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Some New Faces and some Old Faces

Here are some new faces and some old faces at Longmont Humane Society.  A couple of these dogs were adopted before we even had a chance to post their photos, like Randall here.  Most dogs do get adopted quickly, but once in awhile you have dogs like Blanca and Grace who take longer to find their forever homes.  It’s not their fault though.  It’s usually just because they don’t get along well with other dogs or cats. Otherwise, they are perfectly loving and personable dogs. I’m glad I volunteer at a shelter that gives them all the time in the world to find their perfect match!

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Randall

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MJ

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Hillary

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Licorice

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Iggy

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Rory

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Victor

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Blanca

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Grace

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Little Stinkers

I had lots of little dogs to photograph yesterday at Longmont Humane Society!  One Miniature Poodle and several mixed Chi’s provided lots of entertainment for the photography team.  A few of them were quite shy – all were adorable! Shown below are: Albert, Baxter, Bryant, Cinnabun, Donny Jackson and Taco. If you’d like to scoop one up, visit them at www.longmonthumane.org.

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New Summer Background

This summer I had a new background made for my outdoor dog photo sessions at the shelter.  My outdoor options there are challenging because I have harsh mid morning sunlight with very little shade and the green bush I had been using as a background is now dying and not looking so good. So my brother, a very talented carpenter, put together a “fence” so I could produce a “dog in the back yard” kind of look. Here are a few samples of the new background.  The fence took an afternoon to make and cost around $40.

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Sitting Pretty

Today at the shelter I photographed this boy, Koda.  He is quite photogenic and we discovered he knew a few tricks like sit, down, shake and sit pretty.  It’s really fun to find out these things while creating dog portraits.  These are things we didn’t know before but now we can this info with potential adopters.  Since he was so good in front of the camera, we showered him with flower petals for some extra fun shots.

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This Shelter Dogs’ Life

Porgy

This is Porgy.  I have photographed him four times over the past several years (maybe five years?).  He is one of the most amazing dogs I’ve ever met.  Porgy came to Longmont Humane Society after spending nine months in a Chicago shelter while his owner was awaiting trial.  Porgy had been neglected, abused and abandoned.  LHS is well known for their training program so the Chicago shelter wanted to send him there, to help rehabilitate him.  Porgy was a great student and learned many things to help him be a good dog for the right family.

It took awhile to find a home for Porgy because he does not like other dogs.  He does however love children.  Sadly he was adopted and returned several times, for reasons not having to do with him.  I believe that over a five year period, he was adopted and brought back three times.  Porgy is now nine years old and waiting for his next family to come and get him – hopefully for keeps this time.

What amazes me about him is his on-going positive attitude.  He is always smiling, happy to see anyone who wants to say hello or take him for a walk.  And each time he comes back to the shelter he doesn’t get sad and depressed.  He smiles and wags his tale, seemingly happy to see old friends and looking forward to his next stop.  We so hope his next stop will be his last stop and that it is the best home any dog could ever hope for.

 

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Special Photo Sessions for Patient Pooches

Walter

Occasionally we like to get some of the shelter dogs out on a field trip for a special photo shoot.  The goal is to show off more of their personalities and to take photos in which the viewer can imagine the dog living a fun life outside of the shelter, hopefully with them. The dogs we choose to take are dogs that have been at the shelter for a long time, usually 3-12 months.  Most of our long timers, or patient pooches as we like to call them, have been at the shelter a long time because they may be reactive to other dogs and need to be the only dog in the home.  Sometimes they get over looked for no reason at all.  So, we (myself, another photographer, and four dog handlers) took 12 dogs from Longmont Humane Society to Golden Ponds for some fun.  The dogs had an amazing time eating grass, playing in the water, interacting with people and just relaxing in the sun.  Of course the humans had an amazing time too watching the dogs have so much fun.  The extra exposure can really help dogs find new homes and it gives them a break from the shelter.  I will post more photos of the other dogs soon!

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Photographing High Energy Dogs in the Shelter

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Walker

Photographing high energy dogs in a shelter environment can be challenging.  It can be hard to get them to sit and focus long enough for you to take a good photograph since they have just come out of their kennel and need to run off some steam.  We however have limited time in which to get our photographs. When we get a dog like this, we use his personality and energy to our advantage and capture fun and whimsical images along the way. This handsome guy Walker, is always loaded with energy, but he responds well to being asked to engage in an activity.  My handler worked with Walker by running him around the room on his leash asking him to focus on her while giving him treats.  We then made a game out of treat catching. We had him sit and catch treats which he thoroughly enjoyed! Finally after 20 minutes or so, he was happy to give a nice pose for the camera.

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Big Dog, Little Dog!

Dozer&Tiny-final fb-logo2These boys were so fun to photograph!  Dozer, the Great Dane needed some extra care while being cared for by Lonmgont Humane Society.  He was underweight and very anxious in the shelter environment.  They paired him up with Tiny who kept him company while they also fed him extra nutritious food, high in calories.  I photographed these two boys with the help of three assistants who kept them in place, repeatedly!  It took about 20 shots to capture this pose.  At one point Dozer turned away from me and sat directly in my lap!  He stayed for several minutes and then went back to posing for his photo. Both boys have been adopted into new homes and love their new families.

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Coaching Shy Dogs

Jeff 032915Quite often dogs in shelters are feeling shy or frightened which makes getting a good photograph difficult.  They don’t know why they are in the shelter, why their owner has not come for them or what will happen to them next.  Jeff was pretty nervous but responded well to human interaction. Sharron, one of my handlers (and my mother) is really good at calming nervous dogs by massaging their sides or chest in a circular motion and speaking to them softly.  She will then slowly move away from them so they can pose for their photograph. This can take several attempts and Jeff’s photos took about 10 minutes to get. He did smile for the camera and found out it can be really fun getting special attention, hugs and treats.  We did this series of photos with commentary to portray what Sharron was saying and what Jeff might be thinking. Click on the image to enlarge it to read the captions.

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