adoptable, events, MSPCA, Uncategorized

So, who are you walkin’ for?…

So, I have been working on a secret project with the MSPCA for the past few months now. And oh man, have I been having the hardest time keeping my lips zipped about it! But, I wanted to keep it under wraps until it was completely finished. And walah! That day is finally here and I am so excited to share with you!

As most of you may already know, the MSPCA hosts an incredible benefit event every year called the Walk For Animals. So that means that in three different locations throughout Massachusetts, people and their fuzzy companions will be walking for the best kind of cause – to raise funds for the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The money that is raised will go towards kindness and care for animals throughout Massachusetts. On Sunday September 9th, you can come out and walk in one of three locations – at Spencer Pierce Little Farm in Newbury, at Aselton Park in Hyannis, or at the Boston Common Parade Grounds at the corner of Charles and Beacon Street in Boston. Last year, over 2,500 humans and 1,800 animals came out to show their support! (And had a blast while doing so, might I add.)

The annual Walk for Animals is so incredibly important as it is one of the MSPCA’s main sources for fundraising and outreach. And it is important to note that the MSPCA is solely powered by donations. They wouldn’t be able to perform daily miracles for homeless, sick and injured animals if it wasn’t for support from the community. As quoted from the MSPCA’s website: ‘The MSPCA-Angell is a private, nonprofit organization. We do not receive any government funding nor are we funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals.’

So, the question now remains – who are you walking for? Well, recently I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with a few fuzzy faces that wanted to tell you why you should walk for them…

So whether it’s for Joshua the sweet young pit bull who was locked in a basement and starved for the first part of his life (3rd photo down) or Sam the former thoroughbred racehorse who was abandoned on a farm for months while his owner was serving a prison sentence (6th photo down), or Buster the pig who has spent his whole life waiting patiently at Nevins Farm for his forever home (10th photo down), we invite you to walk in their honor. They all have a story – and they all need you.

*Feel free to share this blog post endlessly. We hope that the messages of these sweet shelter animals are spread far and wide. And we hope to see you all there.
(I’ll be at the Newbury walk behind the Dog Breath Photography booth! Please stop by and say hello! And I’ve donated a free photo session to the MSPCA to raffle off to one lucky winner. Maybe it will be you!) To read more details about the 2012 Walk For Animals event, check out the MSPCA’s website here. If you’re interested to read more about Sam the abandoned horse’s story, click here.
Warmly,
-Kaylee
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adoptable, MSPCA, Uncategorized

The Power of a Photograph

Itʼs been far too long since I last updated about my work with the adoptables at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.

I am closing in on my first year volunteering at the shelter. And looking back on all of my time spent there puts the kind of smile on my face that you just can’t fake.

I spend each and every Wednesday up at the shelter photographing all different kinds of perfect faces. Each with a different story. Each with a different reason for the sudden and confusing change in their lives. And each with a heart the size of a barge.

I work with a small team of incredibly talented and dedicated volunteers at the shelter. Together, we manage the shelter’s PetFinder database. Each of us has a distinct task. We organize, write,  update and photograph. We are single handedly responsible for these dogs’ exposure to the general public.

Of course, my area of expertise and contribution to the team are the photographs.
Itʼs important to never ever underestimate the power of a photograph. From the moment these animals come through the shelter doors, until the minute they leave – they are so incredibly loved and adored by the amazing cast of staff and volunteers. But that doesnʼt change the fact that these sweet, patient animals donʼt have a voice of their own.

So this is where the photos come in. These photos, in many cases, are the one shot these animals will get to communicate their stories with the outside world. They are the only opportunity to get potential adopters to stop scrolling through the endless listings of homeless animals and focus – if for only a moment – on their sweet faces. All too often you see shelter photos that just don’t represent that animal accurately. Sometimes, they’re taken through the bars of a cage. Sometimes they’re taken too soon – while that animal is still terrified of his new, foreign surroundings. Sometimes they’re dark or blurry. You get the idea. It’s tough to get the right photo. It takes time and patience and lots and lots of passion. It’s not always going to be the first photo you snap. Sometimes it’s not even the 100th photo you snap. But if you are willing to give that animal the time and space it needs to open up and let his or her personality come brilliantly shining through – then you’re in business. It will be real and authentic and so full of joy. When you get the right shot – you’ll know it.

And of course, when people take subpar photos of shelter animals it’s always with good intentions – but the first impression is the most important one. Its the one that is going to get potential adopters off of their couches and into their cars. Its the one that will prompt someone to drive 50 miles to the shelter to visit the dog with the shining eyes and waggling tongue. It’s the one that could mean the difference between life and death.

So when I photograph the adoptables at Nevins Farm, my aim is to let their personalities do the talking – to showcase those happy, unique little quirks that make these animals who they are. They are each so individual and remarkable and loving in their own perfect way. My job is to get people in the door. That’s all we need. Once the a potential adopter makes it in to the shelter and finally gets that dog into their arms – my work is done. The dog will take it from there. She will do the rest – and she will do it well. She will wag and lick and cuddle her way right into their hearts. She is the single best salesperson for herself. And I have so much faith in that – if I get the people to walk through the door – the rest is history.

Anyhow, have a look at these beautiful faces!

The following dogs are just some of the many adoptables I’ve photographed over the past few months at Nevins Farm. Each and every one of them has touched me in such a remarkable way. And I keep each one of their stories in my heart as I travel through my days…

LEXI

COOKIE

JILL

BELLA

If I haven’t mentioned that I have an amazing assistant named Doug – I’ll mention it now! And boy oh boy did Bella love him! It’s kind of a dream gig – I just keep him around to get kissed by puppies all day…

SWEETIE PIE

MOJO

SKY

SKY AND CHAMP

(the cutest brother/sister duo you’ve ever seen!!)…

CHAMP

ROCKY

BROWNIE

HANK

SPOTS

WINSTON

TEBOW

And lastly, just another perfect day volunteering at the shelter. A photo of me and the incredible Rex. I make sure to get at least a dozen good cuddles from each dog before I finish their photo sessions.

Their love is so infinite. Despite everything. They know only good. I think we could stand to learn a lot from them.

I want to take a moment to thank the amazing team of volunteers that I work in collaboration with at Nevins Farm to keep these dogs where they need to be – in eyes of their potential rescuers. You are all so passionate, thorough and dedicated and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with such wonderful people! (Doug, Marilyn, Meg, Pam, Nancy, Mike, Breanna, Jolene – this means you!)

adoptable, brand, events, marketing, MSPCA, Uncategorized

Hair of the Dog Wine Tasting and Art Show

This past Friday evening, I had the wonderful privilege of participating in the 8th annual Hair of the Dog Wine Tasting and Art Show. The evening was a benefit for the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. The MSPCA is an amazing organization that I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work closely with – and I was thrilled to be a part of such an important cause.

The show took place at the gorgeous Essex Art Center in Lawrence, Massachusetts. I was one of many artists, sculptors, photographers, jewelers, and painters who were present with booths showcasing their work…

My incredible father came out to support my little business venture. I couldn’t have been happier to have him.

Oh, and also – there was my  ridiculously amazingly huge wall sized prints!

An overwhelming Thank You to David Sarracino of Burnsides Photography and Imaging for printing those for me!

I had various prints and products for sale and about a gah-zillion business cards to give out!

And my fancy new vinyl sign had just finished printing the day before! I was so thrilled to get to use it!

A few weeks prior to the show, I was asked if I would be interested to get involved in the MSPCA’s ‘Angels for Animals’ campaign.

And of course the answer was, ‘absolutely yes.’

So, I spent some time at Nevins Farm photographing the various animals in the adoption center who are  in need of surgery and/or medical attention.

My heart melted for them all. It all comes back around to why I do the volunteer work with shelter animals that I do — I want to be a voice for the voiceless.

These sweet, helpless animals need us – and they have no way of expressing that with their own voice.

I photographed specific cats, birds, rabbits, dogs and even guinea pigs that are in desperate need of medical attention.

For the ‘Angels for Animals’ display,  the animals’ photos and individual stories were set atop easels and displayed in the center of the room.

Nevins Farm utilized these images to collect donations from attendees to go directly towards the care of these animals and their unique problems.

I have to say – in regards to working with shelter animals – that I have never done anything more rewarding in my entire life.

To be able to help save the lives of animals in whatever small way I can is the best reason for living.

And here I am with some of the amazing staff members of the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.

These are the faces that are the driving force behind the success of such a wonderful organization…

(We’re lucky to have such great, dedicated people in the world, aren’t we?!)

It was a truly wonderful night. If there was any other creature that I would want to hang with besides animals – it would be animal lovers. And that’s exactly what this event turned out to be – an incredible night full of warm-hearted, generous people coming together for a common cause.

To all of the folks involved with putting this event together – Thank You so much. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this memorable night – and for all that you do for the animals that need us most. (Heather Robertson of the MSPCA, and Karen VanWelden-Herman of the Essex Art Center – that’s YOU!) 🙂

Signing off until next time!

-Kaylee

adoptable, MSPCA, photoshoots, Project 52

Project 52 – The Colors of Spring

It’s Friday again, which is the best day of the week for both of the following reasons:

1. Tomorrow is Saturday.

2. It’s Project 52 blog post day!

This week’s theme was ‘The Colors of Spring’! And man, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have these Spring colors back in my life! I think the hardest part of living in New England are the extended periods of dull and drab skies and the general lack of color that the long winters bring.

In case you weren’t already aware, I have the lucky privilege of photographing the adoptable dogs weekly at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen. The grounds at Nevins Farm are absolutely beautiful and offer many different serene locations to sit quietly with a canine and enjoy the world. But even there, amongst all that beauty, the colors disappear in the winter. They leave dead brown matted ground and plots of dirt where gorgeous green grass used to thrive.

But, alas! April has rolled back around and with it has come incredible yellow sunlight, warmth and amazing colors!

I took these photos of the beautiful Miss Sky earlier this week. And as soon as I uploaded them into my computer and viewed them full size I squealed with delight at the gorgeous spring colors that are finally making their way back into my images. And this pup just looks so perfect among the pastel green grass and baby blue sky.   (ahhhh. who am I kidding? She’d look good anywhere. But nonetheless!)…

Sky is waiting for her forever family and you can learn more about her here.

Don’t forget this is a blog ring! And if you click forward I can promise you all kinds of colorful delights! Now head on over to Skyy Blue Photography in San Diego to see what Spring looks like in her neck of the woods!

Until Next Time!

-Kaylee

adoptable, MSPCA, photoshoots, Project 52

Project 52 – From the Ground Up

Yay! It’s Friday! And that can only mean one thing – time for another Project 52 blog post!

This week’s theme was ‘From the Ground Up’. The idea behind it was to shoot up towards our subjects from ground level. The fantastic thing about shooting like this is that it changes up the usual perspective of the way humans typically see dogs. (or animals in general.) Very early in my pet photography career I learned that its not terribly interesting to photograph an animal from a standing position – a vantage point that is pretty consistently 3 to 4 feet above a dog’s head, depending on the size of the dog. In order to make a photograph really special, one must gain an interesting perspective to see something usual in an unusual way. That being said, I take about 80% of my photos lying on my stomach or my back.

Case in point:

(I know, I know … not a very flattering angle for me. But for my fuzzy subject, Maddy – who I shot with just a few weeks ago – it was amazing! In case you missed that session you can find it here.)

 

This past week has been super exciting and filled with all kinds of waggly, furbutt photoshoots! Here are a few ‘ground up’ shots I took throughout the week while photographing for private clients as well as the MSPCA. I love how the super low vantage point makes the world feel so big. 🙂

 

The best part of this whole Project 52 thang is that you get to experience some of the most wonderfully talented pet photographers from around the globe! So click on over to Charleston Pet Photographer, Dana Cubbage to see the four-leggers of the world from her unique perspective! Ill see you when you come back around!

-Kaylee

adoptable, MSPCA, Project 52

Project 52 – Grace

Another Friday means another Project 52 post! This week’s theme was ‘Grace’. I go to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm to photograph their adoptables once a week – and this week I was lucky enough to utilize those beautiful faces as my models for this post! They were so proud to show off their grace and charisma for the camera. Cooper, the yellow lab mix with the gorgeous honey eyes, was especially eager to show me his gracefulness as he flew past me through the air with his prized tennis ball. Then there was Lucy – the goofy Labradoodle with the proud march and heroic stance…

And then I just had to pull one of my favorites from the archives! Meet Kaiser, the incredible American Bulldog with a heart as big as his head! He too, showed me his graceful Swan Lake ballerina moves during his photo session a few months back.

Now hopefully they don’t all let their grace and good looks go to their heads! 🙂 Next up in the blog ring is the lovely Liz Young of Liz Young Photography in Birmingham, Alabama. Click on over to her blog to see what kind of grace is happening there! If you click all the way around you’ll end up right back where you started – with me and these gorgeous adoptables! Enjoy!

-Kaylee

adoptable, MSPCA

Meet Kendrid.

Today was an unusually warm February day in New England. And I spent it the best way I know possible – kissing, cuddling and rolling around in the grass with the adoptables at the MSPCA.

But, this week – there was one particular dog that just shined brighter than all the rest. I couldn’t forget his incredible eyes if I tried. I reveled in his warm, wonderful spirit. I always know the special ones when I see them. 🙂

Kendrid is a young, beautiful pit bull terrier that was found as a stray. The people who found him even kept him for a while – letting him sleep in their bed until circumstances changed and they no longer could. Now, he sits, waiting patiently at the MSPCA for his new forever family to walk through those doors and scoop him into their arms. I sure hope it happens soon. He was made to be cuddled and loved.

And here we are together! I couldn’t help myself but to put down the camera and spend a part of our photo session cuddling!

To learn more about Kendrid and the other incredible adoptables at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm, click here. Until next time –  may your canines be fuzzy and your kittens be cuddly! 🙂