The Story that Sparked the DreamI was totally panicking. I stood just outside my tent at Woofstock, forcing a smile as I watched the lady with the camera stop at each booth and take a photo. She was obviously the official photographer at the event, no doubt about it.
Who the hell did I think I was anyway? I was most certainly not a real photographer. I hadn't even had one paying customer yet; just a few portfolio building sessions. This was supposed to be my big event to launch my pet photography business and I was on someone else's turf. The official Woofstock photographer moved onto the next booth, one closer to mine.
If only they told me there was already a photographer here, I thought. By the time they sent out the official maps, with a list of the participating businesses, it was too late to back out. I had been panicking for a week, and suddenly the moment I feared most was about to happen: she was walking right toward me.
"Hi, I'm Lisa," she said as she extended her hand, "can I take a quick photo of you in your booth?"
I smiled for the camera, and then Lisa approached the tent to examine my photos. Oh boy, I thought, here it comes.
"I love that!" Lisa said, pointing to a photo of a chocolate lab, and totally shocking me. I finally let my guard down.
Then Lisa told me about HeARTs Speak, the organization she started for artists who help animals. Members were mostly photographers who volunteer their services to help give homeless pets better first impressions with better photography. I learned that better photos meant more interest, higher adoption rates, and, inevitably, more lives saved.
And just like that, a new pet photographer was born in me. Since joining this awesome organization, I've done far more pet photography for rescues than I've done for paid clients.
You Can Help Me Save More Animals
Before becoming a HeARTs Speak member, I had no idea how bad the situation really is. I didn't know, for example, that every 8 seconds another pet is put to death in the United States, simply because there's not enough room. Perfectly good, adoptable animals, killed just because they don't have a home. It's beyond tragic.
Since becoming a foster failure (the only failure in my life I'm proud to tell you about) with my girl Gracie Lou, I don't do half the volunteer work I used to do. I just can't bear to leave her alone during the little time we have together. So I've turned to my art as a way to be home with her, feed my creative urges, AND help homeless animals at the same time. (You can read Gracie's Rescue Story here.)
With your support I can give back more to the organizations that are struggling to save countless animals in need. Right now I'm able to donate 10% of my profits to a few of my favorite rescue groups. All of my non-pet art sales give back to HeARTs Speak, and all of my pet art sales and services help to support Pets Alive.
Over time, I hope you can help me reach my goal to increase donations all the way to 50% of my art profits. That's right, I want to split my income 50/50 with the animals. That, to me, would be living the dream!
With your help, I'll also be able to do the occasional creative fundraiser that will support the animals 100%! Just take a look at my goals list (in the left column) to read about one project that will raise $2,500 for shelter pets.
Money can't do everything, though, and I'm on a mission to change perspectives and spread the "adopt don't shop" mentality as far as I can reach. That's why I launched the My Rescue Rocks podcast. I wanted to share the stories that have inspired me, and my hope is that they will affect the same kind of change in others.
You Can Give Me More Time to Create
I do product photography Monday through Friday to pay the bills. I'm a contractor though, not an employee, so I don't have vacation days, sick days, or personal days. When I don't work, I'm not paid.
My art is a true passion though, so I don't hesitate to spend most nights and weekends working on it. It's just something I have to do to satisfy my soul.
Your funding can help me spend more time with my art and more time working on the podcast. It's not just time behind the camera and the mic that I'm lacking, but the production time editing images and audio, sharing on social media, blogging, and advertising on other platforms.
Oh, and Gracie wants you to know that she would like me to factor in some more snuggle time with her too; awww... I love my pibble.
Thanks in advance for even considering helping me! If you've read down this far it must mean you care about the work I'm doing. Thanks so much for caring!