Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Volunteering at the SPCA . . .

Bogie the Bouncy Boy

Little Corona

Stetson the Ridgeback

Last night I went through three hours of training at the SPCA so I could be an official volunteer--which means that I get to wear a blue shirt and mingle with all the many, many other people who love animals and volunteer at our local SPCA.

I particularly wanted to do photography of the animals, all because I had seen this youtube video about photographer Theresa Berg and her work with what I call "glamour pet photography."

So I asked my friend Sharon, who manages our church's thrift store, to be on the lookout for cute props that might work in this new endeavor.  She got me all kinds of goodies, plus I raided the house for a few things, too.

So this morning I got up, cleaned the house, put on my official blue shirt, and went over to the animal shelter.  I took an empty room, duct-taped fabric backdrops onto the wall, and went in search of animals who had a less-than-winsome photo with their bio.

And I quickly began to appreciate pet photographers.  My first customer, Corona, was a little guy who was more interested in rubbing his nose on the blanket than in looking at the camera, but he was a sweetheart.

My second customer, Bogie, was hilarious.  I'd been warned that he was a boisterous pup, so I waited until after he'd had his morning walk before I brought him into my room.  Then I simply sat down to wait as he picked up a squeaky toy and ran around the room with it, dunking it into the water bowl, tossing it up, dunking it again, tossing it aside in favor of a Kong toy, dunking it into the water, and so on.  Finally, good old Bogie decided to sit next to me on the makeshift "bed,"and there I was able to snag a few pictures.  Nothing posed, mind you, and nothing with the props I had collected. I had a feeling that I'd be lucky to get his face in the frame.

My final customer of the day was Stetson, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who was a little anxious about being locked in the room with me.  I sat and waited for him to calm down, but then another volunteer photographer offered his services, and we were finally cooking.  That extra person made all the difference, because a LOT of dogs will sit still--and even smile and wear a costume--for a cookie.   :-)

Then I came home, picked out the best photos, cropped them, and uploaded them.  And what should have taken an couple of hours has pretty much devoured my day, but that's okay.  I expected a learning curve.

So if you don't mind, I may be doing this about once a week and posting the photos.  It's been a lot of fun, and I love doing something that just might help find one of these wonderful dogs a forever home.




Megan DiMaria said...

Good for you, Angie! -- And good for the dogs looking for a home. Well done!

Beverly Nault said...

I never thought about how much impact a good picture would make, but this makes total sense now that the shelters have websites. Thanks on behalf of the animals, and for acting on your commitment. You're an inspiration.

Mary R0berts said...

As a 3-year SPCA volunteer Family Dog Trainer, I would like to say THANK YOU for joining the photography team! After meeting you this morning and seeing some of your props, I know we're going to see more great photos! Welcome aboard! :-)

Anonymous said...

These are such wonderful pictures. They really capture the spirit of the dogs ... even the shy one is portrayed as a lovable critter of God. What a fun thing to do. Hope you find a story in it somewhere! Clyde