This blog post is a nomination for the Fenced In By Love by Dog Fence DIY 2014 awards.
There is nothing quite like the love of a rescued dog. Before we rescued Wellie, I had always heard people say that rescued dogs were extra special – but I didn’t really believe it. Sure they were great and all, but how different could they be?
Then along came Wellie.
We weren’t looking for a third dog, but when helping my Mom and sister in their search for dogs, I came across a snapshot of a scared little pup on Petfinder. I thought she was so cute, but being a Yorkie, she was not the energy level that my Mom and sister were looking for. Her cute little face imprinted itself in my memory and I kept checking back on her. Month after month she was still at the rescue. I couldn’t stop thinking about this little dog with the not-so-great photo so I finally brought it up with my husband. We talked it over, decided it was likely a good idea, and applied to adopt her the next day. We were approved within the hour and drove up to see her that night. That was it: the spunky little bundle of energy was meant to be in our family.
We are having a great journey with Wellie, the first year of which I documented on this very blog. I am not going to lie, sometimes it was really tough, but the bond we formed by working together made me realize what everyone had been telling me about rescue dogs. I finally understood.
In looking back, at first I couldn’t believe she stayed at the shelter for over three months before coming into our lives. But now I realize that part of it was probably her blurry and characterless photo. I say this with a lot of love for every volunteer at rescue organizations – they are amazing at what they do, but they are not photographers, and we don’t expect them to be. Their specialty is love and rehabilitation and they give that in spades.
When I am not dog blogging here, I am a full-time pet, family, and wedding photographer. I have been involved in several charity events raising funds for dog rescues, but nothing has been more fulfilling than helping to find homes for some really deserving rescue dogs through my photography.
Three years ago, in our first year with Wellie, I decided that I wanted to help these amazing dogs find their forever homes through beautiful images. I work really hard with my photography clients’ dogs to make sure to capture their personalities, but there are plenty of adorable rescues that weren’t getting the photo love they needed. So my Rescue Pawtraits were born: to give back to the rescue community by capturing the full character and cuteness of adoptable dogs.
Over these past three years I have met some wonderful and special dogs who have been such a joy to capture. From puppies full of spunk, to senior dogs who are blind and deaf. I am at my happiest when covered in dog slobber and rolling around on the ground. Most of these rescue dogs are quite nervous, so I work together with the foster families to get the best shots possible to showcase each dog’s personality. I really want their true being to shine through in the images so someone looking online can connect with them in a personal and emotional way. Sometimes this means lots of running and playing and other times it is a quiet walk in the park.
In 2013 I photographed 87 rescue dogs, with almost all of these dogs finding homes within weeks of the images being released. I make sure to help get the pup’s adorableness out after the photos are taken by posting on all of my social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. The Pawtraits get a lot of attention – as the dogs deserve – and I believe it helps each dog find their forever home.
With the exposure from the Fenced In By Love by Dog Fence DIY 2014 awards, my dream is that more photographers are inspired to work with rescued pets to help them find their forever homes. And for any rescue organizations in Ottawa who don’t already know about my Rescue Pawtraits, spread the word! I fully donate my time for these sessions and provide web ready images for sharing online through the rescue’s website and Petfinder as well as all social media platforms.
The rescue community is a network of amazingly talented and caring people and I am so happy to be able to contribute to this wonderful world.
I tell stories not with words but with images. The stories in my Rescue Pawtraits celebrate the beginning of a new chapter for these special souls – the start of the rest of their new, and better, lives.