The Humane Society of the United States estimates that animal shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year. When these animals enter the shelters, they are scared, disoriented, often times dirty, possibly flea infested–and the photos taken of them are what people first see when they’re looking to adopt. It’s no wonder less than half of these animals entering shelters are adopted.
Liz Baker, executive director of GreaterGood.org, decided to change all that. Baker and her team created an initiative called “One Picture Saves a Life” in order to improve the overall image of rescue and adoption through grooming and positive photography. Their mission is to provide shelter staff and volunteers with the resources to successfully groom and photograph shelter pets, helping to give them the second chance they deserve. Seth Casteel is the photographer who goes on tour teaching animal shelter staff and volunteers how to take positive photos to save the lives of homeless pets. “When people watch that TV commercial with the sad images and depressing music, they change the channel,” Casteel told HuffPost. “But when they see hopeful portraits of adoptable pets full of love and personality, they zip over to the shelter with their family and save a life.”
For animal shelter staff or volunteers who are unable to get advice in person from the One Picture Saves a Life staff, they have a set of training videos that guide you through photography and grooming as well as a section on what photo gear you should have for photographing shelter pets. Read more at onepicturesaves.com/learning-videos/
For many animal shelters, finding the time to photograph a pet is hard enough, making sure you’re taking positive pictures, using the right lighting, cameras, props, etc., may seem challenging. Believe me, I know. I once managed an animal shelter that took in close to 100 animals on most days. However, looking at before and after pictures and seeing how a proper photo can help save the life of a pet, this should certainly be a priority for every animal shelter. If it’s not possible to have shelter staff photograph pets, animal shelters should try to recruit volunteers. One Picture Saves a Life has also created a site to pair photography and grooming volunteers with shelters in need. If you’re interested in volunteering, visit onepicturesaves.com/register
Providing training for animal shelters and giving them the tools they need to take more positive pictures can make an enormous difference in adopting out more homeless animals. One Picture Saves a Life can help make a dent in the 6-8 million animals that enter shelters each year. Kudos to this organization for giving shelter animals the second chance they deserve. For more information, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.onepicturesaves.com/” http://www.onepicturesaves.com/
Free Dog Behavior Workshop
Saturday, March 29, 2 p.m.-4 p.m., at Antioch University, 602 Anacapa St.
Seasoned dog parents and beginners who want a happy dog are invited to attend a free dog workshop in Santa Barbara that goes beyond basic obedience and teaches valuable canine parenting skills. Presentation, discussion, and interactive sessions will be used to show attendees “how dogs learn.” Common questions will be answered through attendee case studies. Workshop instructor is Joan Hunter Mayer of The Inquisitive Canine. Space is limited. Register online inquisitivecanine.com to save your space. Say thanks for the workshop by making a tax-deductible donation to C.A.R.E.4Paws at www.care4paws.org/help/html
*Workshop is for humans only.
Adoptable Pet of the Week
Georgina is a little feisty girl who likes her independence. She enjoys being petted on the forehead and between the ears but prefers that you approach her on her level. She is a free spirit looking for a home that will appreciate her unique beauty and strong will. To see if Georgina is the right pet for you, hop on over to B.U.N.S today.
Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (B.U.N.S.) is a volunteer organization that cares for abandoned rabbits. B.U.N.S is located at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd. B.U.N.S. works to find bunnies permanent homes, and educates the public on caring for a companion rabbit. You can call the County Shelter at 805-681-5285 or call B.U.N.S at 805-683-0521 and leave a message for someone to call you back. For more information, visit www.bunssb.org
Lisa Acho Remorenko is executive director of Animal Adoption Solutions, www.animaladoptionsolutions.com