Something I started doing when I first launched Wet Nose Images was reach out to local rescue organizations. I offered to volunteer my time and skill to photograph the dogs who were waiting patiently for new homes. Often these dogs are photographed with cell phones, and lots of dogs aren't good at patiently sitting still for a photo. These dogs have often just experienced something scary or traumatic and are not feeling their best at the time. So the pictures on their adoptable profiles were dark and blurry or had sad-looking dogs. I had a hard time really seeing who the dogs were and getting a sense of their true personalities.
But I knew that with the right photo, potential adopters would be able to see the sparkle in their eye. They would be able to make that instant connection (the one you feel right in your heart!) and want to meet the dog in person. I was just starting my journey as a business but I knew that there was at least one thing I was good at, and I could use it to help some pups find new homes!
The first rescue I contacted was Buddy's Bully Rescue. I connected with Camellia Saunderson (who now owns UP-K9 in the Valley). She introduced me to Tank and I did his photos out at Fisherman's Cove on a beautifully sunny fall evening. She connected me with a few other pups and foster parents over the next year, like Bear, Mistress, May, George, and Chance! I learned so much from photographing these pups. Each one was a new opportunity to work on my skills - both with my camera and with the dogs themselves. Each presented a unique challenge. Bear was full of zoomies (read his adoption story here), May didn't want anyone near her except her foster mum and her doggie foster brother so I stayed back and used my zoom lens to capture them playing, George didn't want to look at me, and Chance is deaf!
I've also worked with Good Bones Rescue (one of their foster people had also fostered for Buddy's Bully Rescue and recommended me to the Good Bones owners). I photographed Louie for them and nearly took him home myself! He was such a sweetheart. He had been waiting a while and his new mum found him and adopted him shortly after I photographed him! Read his adoption story in this blog: Louie's Story.
Later I got connected with Siblings K9 Rescue (Camellia recommended me) and through them I met and photographed Red, and Gizmo. More sweet pups full of zoomies. More challenges to strengthen my skills as a dog photographer and prepare me for all kinds of different pup personalities!
Wet Nose Images is a business, yes, but I make time to volunteer as well. It's important to me and connects me even more with my community. I've made some wonderful friends because of this volunteer work I've done. I've met some amazing people who foster dogs in their homes, and I've met amazing people who have then adopted those dogs. Some who have then become clients of mine as well!
When I get the call that one of the dogs I photographed has been adopted, it fills my heart with so much joy. Sometimes these dogs were waiting months for someone to see the potential in them and take them home. Of course they were well taken care of and loved in their foster homes. But foster homes are meant to be temporary until they find their forever home. I'm so happy that even though I'm not able to foster or adopt any dogs myself, that I can still do something to make a difference in the lives of these dogs. To help make their journey a little better.
There's a sweet story/fable that I love and this volunteer work reminds me of it. There's a little girl walking along the beach with her grandfather. She sees starfish that are washed up on the sand and starts tossing them back into the ocean as she goes along. Her grandfather shakes his head and asks her why she bothers. "There are so many starfish on the beach - you can't make much of a difference at this rate." But she picks another one up, tosses it back, and says,
"I made a difference to that one!"
Read Chance's adoption story here.