As a photographer, I have been offering my services to local pet rescues and shelters since 2014. My objective is always to showcase dogs, cats and small animals seeking homes, and to provide a professional photo that can be used on any of the agency's available animal and adoption sites. I will cover more about this at the end of the blog today.
In the meantime, I have been happy to work with a number of groups in the past, not only by visiting the facilities themselves to snap photos, but to also participate in any fundraising activities and events that will further the adoption or rescue process for the animals. This blog post will be peppered with photos I have done for various rescue and shelter groups.
I am a member of HeARTs Speak, an international organization that unites artists in the goal of increasing the visibility of shelter animals, to ensure more animals are seen and saved each year.
The shelters (and their fosters) I have worked with are:
1. Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, Clarks Summit, PA
2. The Lehigh County Humane Society, Allentown, PA
3. Pike County Humane Society, Shohola, PA
4. True Friends Animal Welfare, Montrose, PA
5. SPCA of Luzerne County, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Each of these facilities has an application process. My recommendation has always been to check out their websites, find their application, fill it out and return it, then follow up a week later with a phone call to make sure it was received and get the status or timeline for an approval decision. Or, now that things are easing up from COVID-related restrictions, visit the shelter and fill out an application in person. This will give you an opportunity to also meet and/or review the pets at the shelter that you might be interested in.
Rescues are treated a bit differently than shelters. The key question when dealing with a rescue is "do you adopt to residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania?" Many rescues that you might deal with may not actually be located within the region, but their adoption guidelines will give you a summary of where they allow adoptions.
Naturally, I could list quite a number of rescues that fall into this category. I have worked, mostly, with English Setter rescues, but I have transported animals, along with many others on the "rescue railroad" for rescue groups across the United States. Whenever I transport, I bring my camera and photograph the pets for usage by the agency at a later date, or in the case of fostering, when they are ready to be made available for adoption.
Here are a few animal rescues in the region:
1. Laura's Hope Rescue, Hop Bottom, PA
2. Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge, Dallas, PA
3. Camp Papillon, Stroudsburg, PA
4. One Life to Live Rescue, Scranton, PA
5. St. Cats and Dogs, Scranton, PA
6. Meshoppen Cat Rescue, Meshoppen, PA
If a breed-specific rescue is what you are interested in, there are many that serve the Northeastern Pennsylvania area. A simple google search that looks something like this " breed name + the word 'rescue' + in the northeast," may be of help. Using this formula, you should be able to find a rescue that adopts to this region.
Sometimes the adoption process is not very quick. Patience is key. Remember, most agencies are staffed by volunteers, who are trying to do their best to help animals as well. Sometimes you might not agree with their process. Guess what...it's not relevant. It's their process. Whether you agree with it or not, they have probably run into countless situations which has caused them to think and rethink how they handle adoptions. So, just go with the flow. Ask questions if you need clarification, and ask for timelines and estimated dates along the way. Always be friendly and courteous.
(1) a clear photo of an animal that is not in a caged area or "behind bars" is the best representation of that animal,
(2) photos that are USED by the shelters and rescues you provide them to, get positive feedback and results,
(3) shelters and rescues who maintain an active presence on line and through social media, are the best advocates for their animals.
As a photographer who has quite a bit of experience working inside and outside shelter facilities, I can attest that it isn't an easy thing to do. Many times I wanted to take animals home with me.
Often you work in a confined area, with poor lighting, or outside where it's too sunny, raining, snowing, or doing whatever mother nature has to throw at you.
Sometimes animals were fearful, and needed human connection.
For any shelter or rescue folks reading the blog, as noted in the opening paragraphs, I do offer my services FREE OF CHARGE to shelters and rescues. There are no strings attached. I do not even put my logo on the photos, which can be formatted to the precise measurements of whatever medium you use to showcase available animals (petfinder, petango, etc.). My only requirement is that you ACTUALLY USE THE PHOTOS. That means you can attest you have an on line presence, and you do advocate for your animals in a way that showcases them in your social media interactions. I do have a contract, so there is no misunderstanding regarding photo usage.
For shy animals, I will most likely use a container of some type and/or human contact. I will never photograph an animal in a caged environment.
If I am transporting for your agency and you would like photos, please let me know in advance. Taking photos on transport IS doable. Some examples below.
I am always happy when I hear they have been adopted. Finding their forever home is what it's all about for me!
Now, to see what other photographers in the blog circle have focused on today, and to find out about rescues in their areas (a good resource for sure), start here with Nancy at Nancy Kieffer Photography, Capturing the Journey with your pet. Serving Syracuse, Central New York, the Adirondacks and Beyond.
Enjoy your weekend!