What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. - Jane Goodall
From a very young age, I began rescuing animals: frogs, turtles, birds, squirrels... even worms. As I got older, I began to see a much larger problem with society and the abandonment of 'family pets'. At a glance, I fell into working with Non-Profit Animal Rescues, but in actuality I know it is my purpose in life.
Ideally, I would like to work full-time for a Non-Profit Organization, lending my photography, design, web and marketing skills to a cause that changes lives. Until that happens, I volunteer with various 501c3 Animal Rescues, saving one life at a time. It is time consuming, exhausting, emotionally wearing, but the reward of changing a life is worth it all.
Chance was rescued on Oct. 1, 2016 after 6 years of neglect
There is an overwhelming list of problems associated with tethering a dog outside. Not only does the dog live through extreme exposure to weather, parasites and physical ailments, it is devastating to the mentality and soul of the dog. Dogs are social animals that thrive on exercise and interaction. The anguish and anxiety that riddled Chance when I met him, was traumatic to witness. It made me question the core of humanity. It took moving a small mountain to rescue Chance, but thankfully there are people and organizations that helped hold me up along the way. In an effort to rescue Chance, I created a campaign on Facebook with a fundraiser. His story reached as far as Australia, France and Spain. The dodo.com also ran a story on him with some of my photos. https://www.thedodo.com/chained-dog-2033108447.html
I post all of the rescue photos on my personal social media and everyone always comments on them. They do not realize that these kittens were mauled by a dog in a backyard because their feral mother gave birth to them outside. It is easy to turn a blind eye until you actually become involved. Sometimes, I want to join them, but their helplessness always brings me back.
Snowie Rose was named after her beautiful white coat and what became her trademark photo. People will pay hundreds of dollars for 'pure bred' pets just so they can possess physical traits that are appeasing to the eye. This kitten was found on the side of a busy highway because someone just left her there. She is believed to be a Turkish Angora. She now lives the high life in Reno, NV.
Ali was officially adopted on Oct. 25, 2016 by a loving family
Ali was abandoned in a yard, tethered to a pole and left to starve. A good samaratin, would stop daily to feed her and take care of her the best she could. She tried for several years to get someone to help Ali. Through networking and a mixture of fate, she met me and I told her I would try to see what I could do. I literally spent about 10 minutes temperament testing Ali before deciding to bring her home to my house full of animals. She had never been socialized and was afraid of her own shadow. I began working, training and cuddling with Ali as much as I could. Within 3 weeks, she was a new dog. A brilliant, loving dog that just needed a chance. I was lucky enough to have a friend adopt her, so I get updates and occasionally get to babysit my sweet girl.
Kitten Glamour Shots - all kitties were adopted in Dec. 2016
I may not be able to bring every abandon animal home with me, but I can take hundreds of photos. I call these Kitten Glamour Shots because it is amazing what some good window light and about 20 minutes of my time can mean for an animal in need. People will line up for these animals, as if they are better than all the other's that don't have good photos. It is my goal to steal heart's with every furry portrait I take.
Ember was found under a dumpster when she was 4 weeks old. She was sick, malnourished and exhausted. At first I thought she was going to be a mellow little kitty, but once she started feeling better, nothing could stop her. She was named Ember because of the orange peeking out beneath the gray on her coat. Like Embers in the ashes. Little did I know, she was a little fireball too.
Like humans, I believe in judging a dog not on their breed, fur or physical traits, but on their internal soul and personality. Each and every dog is different and each one has a story. Just because something appears broken, does not mean it cannot be repaired. I believe in changing lives and giving chances to those that would normally be overlooked. It is not always easy, but investing yourself into something or someone that is a challenge is good for your own soul as well.
My most challenging and life changing dog case to date was Zeus. He was found running in a neighborhood, skinny, teeth filed down and heart worm positive. It became quickly obvious that Zeus had been very badly abused. His anxiety, lack of training and fear aggression was a death sentence for him. No one knew what to do with him including myself. I started researching and found a place called Forever Home Rehabilitation in Virginia Beach that was willing to work with him for $1700. I created a fundraising campaign to save his life and raised over $4000 in one week to get him the medical and rehab treatment he needed. On Mother's Day I drove him to Virginia to begin treatment. After all the stress and emotion of trying to help him, this was the best Mother's Day Gift I could have asked for. Fast forward a year and he wasn't perfect like I hoped as Zeus was still a 100lb. emotional mess. I spent the next year spending every spare moment I had training him. He taught me patience, kindness and perseverance. At some point I realized that Zeus was meant for me and it changed my whole mind frame on his rehabilitation. On the evening of Memorial Day in 2015 I found him dead in my closet. The small town I lived in had been shooting off fireworks and Zeus was terrified of thunder and fireworks. He was in my closet because he would always go in there when he felt scared. Life can be pretty cruel and Zeus' entire existence and death changed me. He is my motivation and driving force for every animal I work with. I may not be able to save them all, but I can give my time and compassion. Compassion and dedication can go a long way.