Imagine being taken from your home and dropped off at a strange building filled with loud noises, bright lights and cold metal cages. You’re shuffled between unfamiliar people in uniforms, some poking you with needles, others taking your temperature. You’re disoriented, stressed, scared and alone.
Then, imagine being asked to pose for a photo. Chances are you won’t look your best.
This is the routine for the estimated 8 million pets that enter the U.S. shelter system each year. And unfortunately, those initial intake photos can mean the difference between finding a forever home and living out life in a shelter.
Photos that are out-of-focus, dark or unclear turn the adoption process into a sad experience, and can even scare potential adopters away. But hopeful portraits of well-groomed, happy animals can be the motivation adopters need to visit a shelter and save a pet’s life. Sadly, in overfilled shelters with limited resources, high quality photography is often out of the question.
But the outlook for these abandoned pets is quickly improving thanks to an all-star collaboration between GreaterGood.org, animal photographer Seth Casteel, pet groomer Jorge Bendersky of Animal Planet’s “Groomer Has It”, and the creators of Wahl pet grooming products. Since 2013, their One Picture Saves a Life program has been providing staff at shelters around the country with the tools and techniques to successfully groom and photograph their pets.
This year, the team is touring the nation hosting hands-on photography and grooming workshops and giving tools and financial aid to shelters in need. In April 2014, they set up shop at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA to offer tips, training and inspiration to local volunteers. And of course, they didn’t leave without giving well-deserved makeovers to some of the shelter’s newest furry friends.
Check out the video to see the amazing impact they made in just one day!
According to GreaterGood.org Executive Director Liz Baker, the event was a stunning success, drawing with more than 500 animal-loving locals and 300 shelter volunteers.
“The goal is to get more volunteers in shelters. Better grooming. Better photos. More adoption,” says Baker. “One good bath and one good picture can actually save a pet’s life. We know that for sure.”
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to save lives. Anyone with a passion for helping animals, a creative eye and a little bit of spare time can make a huge difference. Go to OnePictureSaves.com for quick tips, how-to videos and information on how you can save the lives of homeless pets at your local shelter!
And don’t forget to tag your Instagram photos with #onepicturesaves!
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