‘Tis the season to be overwhelmed with shelter dogs. F*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck f****ck, f*ck f*ck f*ck f*ck.
There are weird trends in shelter work, and one of them is that breeds of dogs – unrelated to one another – will come into the shelter in batches. We’ll never see, for example, an American Eskimo, and then in a space of a few months we’ll get three or four surrendered or as unclaimed strays. We had two greyhounds at the same time last month, never had greyhounds before. Last week we had two coonhounds come in a day apart.
The other trend is seasonal – at our shelter, we get oodles and oodles of strays in November, and they don’t get claimed. At the same time, dog adoptions decline sharply so the shelter gets really full. Then in December we’ll have a rush of adoptions; last month we adopted out one dog every 2.5 days. And then it slows waaaay down in January again for adoptions, but we still have lots of dogs.
Our shelter is probably the busiest in the lower mainland – we take in almost 200 animals a month. That may seem like chump change to those of you in the Southern States where 200 animals a day is the norm, but for here it’s big numbers. The last shelter I worked out we adopted out 17 dogs in 365 days one year, and 11 of them we had to transfer in from other shelters.
There are also really annoying trends, like we will have kennel after kennel of any small breed you could want, and people will come in and ask for Shepherd mixes and Lab mixes. As soon as I adopt out all my little dogs and fill up with big ones, the only people that come in are ones who complain that shelters never have little dogs. And then when we have a lot of smoochy pit bulls, we have to listen to people ask us why we don’t just kill all the pit bulls so we can have some “good” dogs for adoption, but that’s a hateful, venomous rant for adults 18+ only.
(Household interlude: SHUT UP TWEED, IT IS NOT DINNER TIME YET!!)
Knowing that our busy season was upon us, this Christmas I took the plunge and purchased a pretty darn expensive lighting system to help spruce up our available animal photos of profiles online. It’s difficult to get good shelter animal photos in the winter, when the weather is dismal and outdoor photos are not an option. And good photos are the key to drawing people in and making them want what I gots.
So this week, I ventured into the wonderful world of studio-style portraiture for canines.
Not bad, eh? Eh?
Emma, the 3 month old pit bull puppy, is too sexy for her ears.
10 month old Lab X Shepherd Zola gets overlooked all the time because she is all black. When I posted this photo online, even my manager said “Who is that pretty dog and where in the kennels is she?” (In the adoptable kennels, ready to find a home of her own!)
From big 4 month old Lab mix Lexie (look at her PAWS!):
To small(est of them all) Domino, a 3.5 lb chihuahua who tangled with a car:
We’ve got ’em all!
This should make the shepherd people happy – Prada, a “Shep-Pei”
Or if they prefer the real deal, 6 month old Sapphie is all GSD
Precious puppies (like 11 week old Cesar)
And finely aged dogs, like one of my favourites, 11 year old border collie mix Lacey
If you like ’em dancy and antsy, my little curly soulmate Philip will sweep you off your feet!
(Doesn’t he remind you of a curly Winter?)
Or if you prefer a dog that will make you sweep your floors 400 times a day, the very hairy Dizzy is probably more your speed.
And for the smushabull fans, we’ve got them in spades. In singles, like 5 year old Angel:
or in pairs, like sibling foot stools Shorty and Magnum, who want to go to a home together (and I am going to do my darnedest to make that happen!)
And you can’t tell, but Duke the Schanuzer has the kindest eyes. He’s a very happy dog.
So what do you think? I done good or what?
Of course, no good deed goes unpunished. While I am thrilled with the photos, and know that the studio lighting was a brilliant purchase for the shelter dogs, it was also purchased at the worst possible time, because shortly (a week to the day) after I bought it, the engine on my truck died. I couldn’t use the truck as a trade in, because it’s DEAD, and I had no down payment, because I bought lights to take pictures of shelter dogs. Sometimes I really feel like my job is trying to sabotage me. It already pays me in what amounts to Monopoly money, and now I have to come up with $200 extra a month to pay for the truck’s replacement.
Would you be interested in studio style photos of your dogs? I have a studio space lined up, and if I could book just one client a month, I could afford my new (to me) van and still eat, like, food.
If you are interested, shoot me a message to book a session! I WANT TO SHOOT YOUR DOGS! And some of your photos could appear here, and on the walls of the shelter too.
Lucy (10 month old female pit bull) wants you to hire me.