The 13 Project is a the mastermind project of Serena Faber Nelson of the blog Pretty Fluffy. A huge animal welfare advocate, Serena encouraged everyone to make a list of 13 acts of kindness that each of us can perform in behalf of shelter/rescue animals – one for each of the (almost) 13 weeks left in 2012 . These acts do not have to be huge goals, but should be reasonable and achievable…and your list does not even have to have 13 items. The idea is to show that even small acts of kindness can add up to big help for those animals in need.
Developing the Posh Pets’ list involved a lot of brainstorming! But, I think that the our list is totally do-able and will keep me focussed for the rest of the year. So, here is our list..
- Volunteer weekly at Toronto Animal Services (North) to take flattering images of their current adoptables. I have been doing this for almost a year now, and I can honestly say that this is one of the highlights of my week. I love meeting the new furry faces, spending some time with them and then watching as they find their forever homes!
- Blog and post the adoptables’ images on the Posh Pets’ Facebook page on a weekly basis. There are many wonderful fellow volunteers at TAS and together we work to share the stories and images of these lovely adoptables to a wide audience and help these animals in need. One volunteer has a very active page that shares these furry faces far and wide!
- Pin the adoptables on Pinterest to reach a wider/different audience. I have not done this regularly in the past, but now it will be done each week.
- Donate my extra towels, bedding and sheets. Over the years, we have gathered quite a collection…most of which are not regularly used. These are going to be given to our local shelter.
- Research a Canadian rescue/animal welfare group and commit to a small monthly donation. I, like a lot of others, fall into the trap of thinking that if we do not have much to give, then it is hardly worth it to make the donation. But, many small amounts can go a long way to helping animals in need.
- Network with other local photographers to find a photographer for Toronto Animal Service’s other location. This has already been done!
- Offer to donate photography and adoption story to a not-for-profit organization’s calendar which will be sold to help shelter animals. This means reaching out to those who have adopted from a shelter.
- Posh Pets is a member of a wonderful organization called HeARTs Speak who unite animal artists in helping animals in need. There is strength in numbers, so I will introduce HeARTs Speak to 3 other pet photographers/artists in the hopes that it will encourage them to join and volunteer their time helping shelter animals.
- Write a Posh Pets blog post about the joys of adopting. Our cat, Lady Jane, is proof-positive of that fact.
- Educate others on the responsibility to spay and neuter their pets. We simply would not have an over-population problem if responsible pet ownership existed.
- Seriously consider adopting or fostering a shelter animal. This is a hard one for me as we lost our dear Ripley (who came from the Toronto Humane Society some 16+ years ago) last June. It has been hard for me to even think of another family member as it seemed like a “replacement” for our Ripley. I’ve come to realize that Ripley will never be replaced and that we, and our 15.5 year old kitty Lady Jane, just needed time to grieve. Of course, we will need to be thoughtful about introducing a new family member to Lady Jane, but I think that maybe, just maybe, we are ready to welcome a new furry face into our lives.
- Share the idea the 13 Project with other like-minded people and businesses.
So, that is our list…what is on yours?
I am really happy to announce that Posh Pets was recently granted membership in an organization called HeARTs Speak. What is that? Well, it is a group of pet artists (photographers included!) who provide their services to rescues and shelters to “foster the importance of animal adoptions, (and) dispel the notion that shelter animals are inferior or damaged…” It is something close to my heart as both of our two cats, Ripley and Lady Jane, originally came from a shelter and, more than 16 years later, are still the most wonderful pets!
The HeARTs Speak group has recently embarked upon “52 HeARTs” which is aimed at producing images each week centred around a common theme. For this week, the theme was friendship. I hope you enjoy the images below!
Meet Luna. Luna is a 7 year old black Lab, so she is by no means a puppy anymore. An older lady, she is a little overweight, walks a little slower, and doesn’t jump and down like a unmannerly dog…rather she looks intently at you, wags her tail and patiently waits. She was recently transferred to the Toronto Animal Services from Ohio as part of a group of 3 black Labs. For some reason, black animals can sometimes have difficulty finding homes and, given her age, she did not have much hope of finding a home in Ohio before a heartbreaking decision would have to be made. The good thing is that Toronto shelters don’t seem to experience the same issue as their US counterparts – lots and lots of black coloured animals are adopted. I am not sure that I can pinpoint a reason for the difference – I can only say that I am happy that TAS had the room and were willing to receive Luna and her friends.
I met Luna as we were preparing to take her adoption photo. She came into the little courtyard, and immediately greeted me. The soft muzzle of an older dog is a wonderful thing. You never know the background of the individual dogs, so you try a few things to see if they know even basic commands or can take direction. Happily, when Luna was asked to sit, she did.
And then Luna did something magical…without being prompted, she held out her paw to the staff member who was with me. Who, of course, took her paw. In a moment, friendship, graciously offered and accepted. From a shelter animal. One that someone didn’t want anymore.
All those that meet her know that Luna will make a wonderful pet for a loving family. We sincerely hope she will find her forever home soon. Surrounded by love, belly rubs and a warm bed.
And because we are all about equality, I have another image (this time of cats) from a few weeks ago at the same shelter. The cats at the TAS have a pretty nice place to hang out, a lovely “cat pod” that has an entire bank of windows on one wall, tons of toys and the ability to interact with each other. (For those who prefer to spend limited time with others, there are lots of places to snuggle in and sleep and other private rooms.) Each week, I enter the pod to see who is new and needs their photograph taken. Then begins the process of isolating them from the others and coaxing them into a cute, little pose…
I was photographing the brown guy on the right who was lounging up on his cat tree where I could get a photo of him. At this point, I was pretty sure I had the image I wanted, when the orange boy, jumped up and settled in as well. Now, this cat bowl/perch was really not big enough for the two of them. In fact, you can see the big orange guy hanging off the edge in this image. In some circumstances, this could have resulted in a bit of a cat fight. But, not these two. They were obviously friends and they figured out a way to get the both of them on there and then began grooming each other. Proving that, friendship can blossom just about anywhere…