A Day with a Homeless Dog

A Day with a Homeless Dog

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What a difference a photo makes...

A good photo documents, explains, entices, inspires, and even has the power to save lives. I can't say enough amazing things about the professional photographers that come to KC Pet Project every weekend to take pictures of our homeless pets.  Each of them are able to capture the personalities of each animal and that ultimately connects them with adopters.  

Volunteering with the photographers is one of my favorite things to do at the shelter. Each weekend I am meeting the new faces and getting learn a little about them, their personality and their past. Just by reading their kennel cards I can find out how the ended up becoming homeless; were they abandoned, found as a stray, surrendered by their owners? The minute I meet them I get a sense of their personality.  For some of them it will be their first day outside since their 5 day stray hold and they are excited about the fresh air and grass on their feet. Other dogs are completely confused with the new environment and look to me for guidance.  There are some dogs that are completely shut down because they are used to their home and their owners; the only way I can get them outside is by carrying them.  Every weekend it is new dogs with new stories and I get to help tell their story with the photographer.

Wild Wendall doing his best to not get photographed!
I have to say that sometimes these dogs make it incredibly difficult for us. We have squeakers, treats, we clap our hands and jump up and down. Sometimes we have another dog right behind the photographer to get their attention. Kasi Orr with Reames Photography, is a master with those high energy pups that don't sit still. She doesn't mess around and isn't afraid to get dirty or move around for the right shot. She is always willing to help me update photos for dogs who have been at the shelter for so long.  Wild Wendall has such a spunky attitude and Kasi helped get that across in a variety of pictures. She has been an amazing asset to the KCMO animal shelter and I can't imagine not having her as a volunteer photographer. She knows how to have a good time and is patient with every volunteer and dog she photographs - we are so lucky to have her.

Kokomo confused and nervous, looking for love.
Their are those dogs that are the complete opposite of Wendall. I have literally fought back tears trying to hold these babies to stop them from shaking. I will never forget one of Kaye Ness' first sessions at the shelter. She is an amazing lady with a heart of gold. I knew after I met her that day that she was a keeper and would help us get these dogs the photographs they need. She met Kokomo, a Lab/Shepherd mix that was so nervous and scared. It was almost impossible to get her to relax and stop shaking. As soon as the pictures were edited, Kaye spread the word about Kokomo and how she needed a loving home. It didn't take long when Kaye finally decided to take her into her home to help her gain the confidence she needed along with providing lots of love. The best ending to this story is that Kokomo, now Princess, was adopted by our other photographer, Kasi Orr. She has made her a permanent part of the family and Princess is living happily ever after.

Grady showing off his sophisticated side.
The most fun we have with our photographers is dressing up the dogs. Nothing too crazy, just a little bow for the girls or maybe a tie for the boys. The most memorable would have to be Grady. Chad Ackerman saw this boys personality the second he met him. Grady was an older boy and quite the gentleman. He was mature and so debonair as you can see in his picture. The hat and tie was seen around the area on a promo flyer for an adoption special. I don't think it took a day and someone came to adopt this handsome man. Chad really gives the dogs personality by adding small little touches. A recent Halloween photo shoot proved to be a success for lots of our favorite longtimers. We are lucky to have him and the volunteer support to get these photos.

Along with the three photographers above, we have a few others that dedicate their time to both the dogs and cats. I have spent the majority of my time with Kasi, Kaye and Chad. I encourage all the volunteers to take a weekend day and help out with the photographs. It is an easy thing to do with kiddos as well. They can participate with helping get the dogs attention and even being a part of the photo to show how great the dog might be with kids. The photo sessions don't take long when we have the help, 2 hours tops. It is a way to meet the new pups and help share their stories.  Photography is a powerful tool. The photos are literally life saving for many of our animals. The sharing of these photos has helped multiple dogs and cats find forever homes. 

I will leave you with a few of my favorite photos of me and dogs that have melted my heart. Please consider volunteering and helping with photos, again it is literally LIFE SAVING!

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