There is no hiding the fact that David and I spend lots of our time volunteering. We both love animals and have grown up with dogs always around. Back in 2013 when I was just getting started in professional photography we decided to look into volunteering with a rescue group. I saw it as a win-win situation. We would get the practice we needed taking photographs and the rescue group would get free photographs to use. To be honest I cannot even remember how I stumbled upon the group we chose, but I am so glad we did. At the time I had no idea just how much volunteering would change my life and how involved we would actually get.
Dave and I discovered a local rescue group called Humane Animal Rescue Team (HART). We started out as volunteer photographers back in 2013. We took intake photos, adoption photos, event photography, fundraising initiatives, etc. We loved getting to meet the various dogs that hart rescued and watching them grow and heal in care. We also quickly realized what amazing volunteers the group had. We were surrounded by fellow animal lovers and a very supportive group of people.
After attending and photographing countless intakes and vaccine parties, Dave and I realized we were particularly interested in the medical side of hart. While seeing the condition that some of the dogs were rescued in was difficult, helping them recover and grow seemed very rewarding. It also was a way that we would get to personally meet each dog that came into care. Before long we found ourselves as active members of hart’s medical team.
To this date Dave and I remain dedicated volunteers of hart. We still provide photography as well as continue our roles on the medical team. We have helped save countless dogs and made numerous friends as a result of our years of volunteer work. I wanted to find a way to give people an idea of how many dogs we have personally helped, and decided to do so through photography. Before continuing I would like to take a moment to point out that no rescue could operate without all the different roles that various volunteers fulfill. I talk about photography and medical because that is where we volunteer. The truth is there are so many other vital roles, all of which are done by volunteers and equally as important. There are opportunities for just about any type person, no matter what your skill set is. We urge you to consider volunteering with a local rescue group if you share a love for helping animals.
Below you will find an image of each hart dog we have done a session for. For now I want to focus on what I consider a session. A session would most likely occur for adoption photos but could also include updated photos of long term dogs as well as photos of puppies born in hart’s care. We provide these sessions free of charge though our volunteer work is very similar to what a client of ours receives. It includes time spent contacting the foster home to arrange a date and time, driving to and from the location which often is the foster home, usually around an hour photographing the dog, time spend editing the images, and then the time required to transfer the final images to hart. Volunteer photographers put in a lot of hours. They also run the risk of damaging their own professional equipment and on top of that, the typical wear and tear gear gets over time. To date we have photographed over 140 individual dogs for hart in sessions as mentioned above. I am so proud of this number and that Dave and I have done our part to help this many dogs in need. I am also excited to continue and see this number continue to grow. Below you will find a single image of each dog. Picking only one image to use was very difficult but enjoyable at the same time. Looking back at each dog and remembering them made me smile and I hope the following images bring a smile to your face too.
In early 2016 I was introduced to another local rescue called Farm Animal Rescue and Rehoming Movement (FARRM). A fellow hart volunteer had begun sharing photos from her visits out to FARRM and I loved seeing all the animals out there. I have always loved farm animals and dreamed of one day owning property that would allow myself to have a variety of animals. I asked if I could tag along one time and would in return share the photographs I took out there. I am so happy she said yes.
I still remember the first time we drove up to FARRM. There was this giant pig out walking by the fence. I remember thinking how amazing it was that he was able to roam freely on the property and seemed to be so content doing so. My first visit out there was a mix of excitement, happiness, and admiration. I remember meeting Melissa and thinking how welcoming she was. You could also instantly see her love for the animals. Each and every animal had a name and a unique personality to go along with it. I left tired, muddy, and filled with a warm happy feeling that I would soon come to associate with visiting FARRM.
Since then I have made countless visits out to FARRM to photograph the animals. They use the images for social media purposes, fundraising, silent auction items, website use, etc. On top of photographing the animals while out at FARRM I help with special projects as requested. I have helped photograph their holiday Christmas photo fundraiser, multiple yoga sessions throughout the summer, special holiday meals for each animal out at FARRM, Meet and greet opportunities for supporters to have their photo taken with their favorite resident animal, and countless other special requests. I have gotten the opportunity to watch animals come into FARRM’s care and be nursed back to health buy Melissa. Some are adopted to loving homes while others continue to live out at FARRM. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled across FARRM as my work for them has bettered me as a person.
Another name I should mention is Titan and Ellie to the Rescue . I met the two ladies behind it through volunteer work years ago. A lot of my volunteer work is done with them since Patricia is the one who introduced me to FARRM. Since meeting them years ago I have been lucky enough to develop a friendship with the two of them. They work their butts off raising money for various rescue groups and often wrangle me in when they have ideas for fundraisers. They have some of the most creative ideas I have heard of and often I find myself thinking “how the heck am I going to do that?!”. They push me creatively and often I find myself stepping out of my safe comfort zone. This has helped me grow as a photographer and I am very thankful for that.