I believe the things a dog can teach us go beyond the scope of the mind.
They must be felt, rather than thought, in order to be known.
HeARTs Speak is a nonprofit organization that connects photographers and artists from around the world to animal rescues and shelters, with the aim of making a greater impact for animals in need through art and collaborative work.
The very first dog I photographed as a HeARTs Speak member was Tansy, a beautiful, young and energetic German shepherd-Belgian malinois cross who was left tied to a street light. She had severe glaucoma in one eye, and the best option was to remove the eye. She hadn't had much interest from potential adopters, but after her portrait was published in a local newspaper, she immediately had an interested applicant who turned out to be an ideal match. She quickly found a home on a farm and made fast friends with the dogs and cat who are now part of her family.
Success stories like this are common among HeARTs Speak members and the rescues with whom they work. Animals may sit in shelters and foster homes for months or years, then they have professional-quality portraits added to their adoption profiles and forever families fall in love at first sight. Beautiful portraits result in better matches and faster adoptions, which in turn allows rescues to help home more animals.
To emphasize the impact, before and after photos from HeARTs Speak members can be found in this article: Shelter dogs benefit from the power of a photo.
This is the power of a portrait, and this form of volunteering provides me with immeasurable happiness. I love getting to know the amazing folks working at the rescues and shelters, the dedicated foster families, and of course the wonderful animals who are the subjects of our photo shoots. Spending time with them and providing photos for rescues to use in adoption profiles and marketing materials is extraordinarily fulfilling work.
To us, a photo is worth a thousand words. But to a shelter dog, a photo is worth a second chance at life.
So after months of Mochi not getting much love from his former pet finder profile pic, we met with you and you captured his true happy little spirit in photographs. It totally came through in the photos you took and that resulted in some quality applicants.
We went to meet one of those applicants yesterday and they fell in love with Mochi and he goes to his forever home tomorrow. Mochi's mom to be (Gina) said she fell madly in love the moment she saw his photo, and from the photo she knew right away that he was the dog for them. So Mochi will get another chance for a new life because of you...so for that Mochi sends licks and I send many hugs and thanks.
Thank you a million times over for the difference you make. :)
Celene & Mochi"
Thought youmight like to see a current picture of Tansy. She loves her home and they love her.
Also, Mabel went to her new home last Friday, all is well. The woman fell in love with the photos of her on HITTGV website. Thank you so much for all you've done. Your photos really do the trick.