A sizeable part of rescuing dogs is placing them in warm, loving homes. Outreach on Facebook and the main City Dogs Rescue website are critical to enriching lives of both, the dogs we rescue and the families we adopt to. A giant step in that process is making sure our dogs have good photos to attract the attention they deserve. And our volunteer photographers do a smashing job of helping us see these pups in all their adorable-ness. From photographing intakes, adoption events, and individual photo shoots at foster homes, our volunteer photographers add tremendous value to the work we do.
Not all of our photographers have made their careers in taking photos. We have graphic designers, professors, and even marketing executives. What they all have in common is a passion for helping rescue animals. Volunteer photographer, Hannele Lahti says, “I think a dog knows when they’ve been rescued. They just do. My goal as a photographer is to help find them good, loving homes as quickly as possible.” Rescue dogs, as you can imagine, have not had the easiest lives and when a simple photograph shows them to be optimistic, engaging and ready to love again, it makes any adopter eager to take a rescue dog home. Volunteer photographer Metta Chaphiv says that rescue dogs are one of her favorite subjects to photograph because there are always a wide range of personalities to capture, especially at adoption events. “It’s a joy of mine to see meaningful interactions between potential adopters and these pups because they’ve been through so much.”
What keeps these photographers coming back for more is, of course, the sheer amount of FUN that each photo shoot offers. Some photographers may not be allowed to have dogs where they live and in doing service to City Dogs Rescue, they get their canine fix. Others find joy in meeting foster parents and listening to their stories of their foster dog. Volunteer photographer Kristin Horgen says, “If I’m photographing a dog in a foster home, I meet the dog at the foster’s house. It’s always something different! After we’re done, they will thank me for taking the pictures. In my mind, however, they are the ones putting in the hard work.”
Each dog has his or her quirks and it’s always fun for a photographer to identify them and capture them. Kristin says, “Some dogs are really timid, some are immediate love bugs. It’s an exciting challenge to figure out how to best photograph a dog and make sure that their bright personalities shine through.” Volunteer photographer Emily Chow says her favorite part of her average photo shoot with a rescue dog is simply getting to hang out with the cutest dogs around. An interesting part of the photo shoot is how a dog might respond to a camera. Some stick their noses right in, others ignore it, and some even shy away. Hannele says her favorite part of photographing rescue dogs is that moment when the dog decides it’s okay to trust her by putting his/her head on her lap, shoulder, or even camera.
Another interesting part of photographing rescue dogs, especially knowing them immediately after rescuing, is seeing how far they’ve come after being adopted. Kristin recently had that opportunity with a litter of terrier puppies. She went to their foster’s house to take photos while they were still puppies and adoptable. A few months later, she photographed their reunion. “I think they were 6-8 weeks old when I first saw them. It was non-stop puppy cuteness. And it was so sweet to see their personalities already developing. A few months later, I got to photograph their litter reunion, their mom included. It was wild to see them as little adults with even bigger personalities!”
Each photographer has that one unforgettable photo shoot. For Kristin, it was her very first shoot with the Rescue. She had never photographed a rescue dog before and her first pup was a plot hound who was “unbelievably shy and timid. She had such a worried look on her face, she’d just come to the big city after all. She was all sweetness, I felt really privileged to play some small part in the process of her being adopted.” Metta’s most memorable photo shoot was of Baloo, formerly known as Brock. Baloo is a three-legged boxer mix who Metta met at an adoption event. “Despite having only three legs, that didn’t seem to deter his spirit and overall playfulness. When I volunteer to photograph these pups, I think of my own dog, Henry, and how these photos may help a CDR pup find their way into a loving home.”
Emily too, has photographed many sweet dogs but one in particular sticks out for her. “Adele (fka Sonic) takes the cake. I knelt down to start taking photos of her and she ran towards the lens like most of the dogs usually do, but she didn’t stop there. She leaned into me and started to nuzzle until I lost my balance. It made my day.”
Hannele recently photographed our holiday cards for us and she says that her photo shoot with Maddie is her favorite. “I had followed Maddie’s story last spring so I was excited to meet her and her family, Carlyn and Pat. The photo shoot went really well as dog shoots go. I call it controlled chaos. Pat and Carlyn worked really hard at keeping her attention with cheese treats and toys. Ultimately though, Maddie decided when Maddie was done. In mid-shoot, she walked over to my dog’s bed with her stuffed crocodile and my dog’s bumble bee. It was over. Modeling is hard work, they say. I think Maddie would agree.”
City Dogs Rescue (CDR) in Washington, DC was incorporated as a nonprofit just barely 2 years ago in September 2011. The past month has been a whirlwind of dog rescuing activity. With your help, we have rescued over 500 dogs from over-crowded shelters since 2011. As an all volunteer organization, everyone’s role is critical to our success. Nearly everyone who volunteers with CDR works a full time job outside of the countless hours they dedicate to rescuing dogs.
We'd like to share with you some of the highlights from this amazing month!
June and 14 Puppies are Rescued
June the beautiful hound was abandoned in WV. A kind foster took her in for CDR and while she noted that she was very sweet, something did not seem right. We scheduled her spay and learned that June was very pregnant. We made the decision to keep the puppies. On Halloween, June gave birth. 14 puppies later, here we are!
Thank you Carlyn and Pat who will foster when they come to DC! Thanks to Shannon and Claudia of WV who are taking good care of them until they are ready to come to Washington.
Toby is Adopted
Long timer Toby was adopted by his foster mom Lyn. After coming from the shelter terrified of all people, he now has a life of chihuahua sibling love ahead of him. Toby seemed to have a shell that would not break, but Lyn's commitment slowly brought him out and he is finally starting to begin to trust humans again.
CDR's First Dog of Flight
Thank you to the Davies Family for flying our dogs Cassie, Caleb, and Maxine to DC from Smyth County, VA! Scott also flew down to North Carolina the same week to bring back two other dogs for CDR.
50 Adoption vests for 500 Adoptions
Thanks to many generous donors, we completed our order of 50 customized "Adopt Me" vests! The vests should arrive in 2 weeks. Due to the expansion of the number of dogs we have taken in, we had run out of vests. We will now have replenished stock. These vests help our dogs get adopted quickly.
Baci is Adopted
On Pitbull Awareness Day, the ever-charming Baci was adopted! She is a DC girl and very happy to be an ambassador for pit bulls everywhere.
All 8 Floyd Hound Puppies are Reunited
Early in 2013, 8 hound puppies were saved from Floyd County, VA. All 8 of them have found wonderful homes and enjoyed a play date!
The Brady Logan Bunch of WV are Rescued
Carol, a recent mother, and a Treeing Walker Coonhound, was dumped at the shelter because she was too quiet to hunt. The female pups were left at the shelter with their mom because it was assumed they wouldn't be great hunters either. The Jarrett family of Maryland took them all in as fosters and now they are looking for their forever homes in Washington, DC.
Joe and Libi are Adopted
Two Senior Owner Surrenders Rescued
Lucky the Cocker Spaniel and Ursa the Chocolate Lab/Retriever mix were dropped off at the shelter this week. Both are 9 years old and they could have been put to sleep at any time.
November is "Adopt a Senior" month and instead they were ditched and left to die. They are both reported to be house-broken. They are good with kids, people and other dogs. They are friendly, affectionate, treat motivated and love to play. They were kept both indoors and outdoors -- usually tied up when outside. The owners said their landlord wouldn't allow pets so, sadly, they were abandoned at the shelter.
Both come to DC on the 22nd of November to find their forever homes. Lucky will be fostered by Amy McLean. Ursa still needs a foster.
CDR Joins the Combined Federal Campaign
This year City Dogs Rescue (#22223) is a participating charity under the Combined Federal Campaign and employees of the agencies below can contribute to CDR right through their paychecks. If you are a federal employee who is interested in helping us spread the word about CDR's participation, please join our Facebook group.
We have over $5,000 pledged to help CDR in 2014!
Teddy is Adopted
Our sweet pal and senior dog Teddy was adopted by Amanda, friend of CDR supporters Gaby and Julie. Karin was a great foster for this happy guy who loves his car rides!
Lucy Goosey FKA Leigh is Adopted
Lucy Goosey FKA Leigha is one happy girl! Julie and Brandon who adopted Stella had been fostering Lucy from the same litter. They decided to officially keep the sisters together forever. Congratulations Lucy, Stella, Brandon and Julie! This is one very happy foster fail story.
CDR Earns Over $4,000 in Vet Care at Friendship Hospital for Animals from Pies!
Buying a pie can help dogs and people. Really. How, you ask? Buy your pie here: http://bit.ly/pies4pups and for every pie City Dogs Rescue sells for Food & Friends, it will receive over $20 in free vet services at Friendship Hospital for Animals! You can help 2 local charities at once - City Dogs Rescue and Food & Friends.
Pies can be picked up at various locations throughout metro DC. Dieting? Live out-of-town? Don't like pie? No problem - you can have your pie donated to a Food & Friends client for their Thanksgiving meal. Who knew so much good could come from pies?
Thank you to everyone who bought a pie!
Over 70 Dogs Attend City Dogs Rescue's 2nd Annual Alumni Reunion
Barktoberfest Raises $4,000 for Rescue Dogs to help pay for medical care.
Thank you for making this Possible
CDR is a family and everyone has helped make all of these amazing success stories possible. There are so many people behind the scenes working hard everyday. We are so proud to have such a wonderful network and no challenge seems too big. To all of you have donated, fostered, or even shared a photo on your Facebook page, you have made a difference. There are so many people that each play an integral role in the process. So many names come to mind and this post doesn't begin to unearth the successes of the last month let alone the past two years. These are just some of the many reasons everyday we are reminded why we rescue and why we never give up.
This November, on behalf of CDR, we would like to give thanks to all of you who have volunteered to help rescue and improve the lives of hundreds of deserving dogs.
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties volunteers.