In one of my posts last year, I explained how I, and several other local photographers, volunteer with a local animal shelter to photograph the cats and dogs that need new homes. The hope is that by having nice photos, we can generate some of that “Awww factor” – you know, that tug on the heart strings. And that by doing that, the kitties and dogs will get the attention they need from prospective families. And then we hope for a happy ending – that the cat or dog gets a wonderful new home.
The organization I volunteer with – Lanark Animal Welfare Society – or LAWS, is a no-kill shelter. So that means no animal is euthanized unless it has a severe health issues that can’t be resolved or unless the animal has such extreme behavioural issues that the it is just not safe to be around people. But my understanding is that this almost never happens, which is great. But it does mean that some of them end up staying in the shelter for a long time. Sometimes, a year! In those cases, the shelter tries to find a temporary foster home.
This year, we did a Paws for LAWS fund raising calendar. First time for it. I designed and produced it and five of us contributed photos to it. They sell for $10; you can order through the LAWS website. It’s been a real success and I think calendars are nearly sold out. Yay!
On my last shoot, many of the cats that I photographed had been in the shelter for a long time. So the goal was to get some nice images and use them for promotional things – print ads, ads at local pet stores, etc.
Here are a few images from my last shoot. At the end of every shoot, I end up wanting to fill my car with cats to take home with me, to give these beautiful animals the loving homes they deserve. But Maggie, my 17+ year old cat would not appreciate that. So instead, I photograph these cats and hope that maybe, just maybe, the work we do as volunteer photographers, helps these animals find new homes.
I think one of the toughest things is looking at the kitties through the bars of their cages. Especially when they look you right in the eye. “Tink!” [that was the sound of my heart strings being plucked. Again].