Dakin Humane Society 10/20/2014

137 adoptions resulted in the previous mentioned $5 feline event! Not all were cats, kittens and dogs too. People were lined up before 8 a.m. and the shelter didn’t open until noon.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

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Photographed this week:

Happy

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Fifi

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Tank, purebred Lab

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Gremlin

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Liney

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Tic, Tac, Randy?

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You can find these animals and more at Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.

Dakin Humane Society 10/14/2014

This Saturday Dakin is hosting a $5 feline adoption event, all cats over 6 months are only $5! It’s a national event sponsored and promoted by the ASPCA called the 2014 Mega Match-a-thon. If you’re not local check out the ASPCA website for a participating shelter near you.

Muttley

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Jeb

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And it’s not all cats and dogs at Dakin there are birds and rodents too.

Starburst, Skittles and Peeps

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Casper the chinchilla

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Kelly Clarkson

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Daniel

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Jarod

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Lion, 10 years

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Aanan, 15 years

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Bauer, an extremely friendly 10-year-old

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All of these animals are available at Dakin Humane Society.

Dakin Humane Society 10/6/14

Fluffy

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Garth

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Boca

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Boo

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Fireball

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Yula

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Sassy

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Tiger, de-clawed

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All animals available at Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.

Serendipity

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Serendipity 1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

When we visited the previously mentioned Best Friends Animal Sanctuary I purchased two charms with the intention of making some kind of adornment for myself, one charm with the Best Friends logo and the other a dog paw. Fast forward a week or so into September and one of my good friends gives me this Chavez for Charity bracelet (seen above) for my birthday. Chavez for Charity contributes to many charitable causes including Best Friends Animal Society. With the purchase of the brown bracelets in their collection they donate 25% of the gross profits to Best Friends. Unbeknownst to my friend we had visited Best Friends just over a month prior (serendipity). I added the Best Friends charm to the bracelet above. And to the bracelet I made below, the dog paw.

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Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

This blog is rapidly going to the dogs. Since I’ve been on an animal theme as of late it’s a good time to continue with one more from our summer travels. On the last full day of our Grand Canyon vacation we left the North Rim and drove through Utah and Zion National Park before arriving in Vegas for the night. On route to Zion we abruptly came upon Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, I didn’t know a lot about the facility and recalled receiving requests in the mail for donations as well as a brief mention in my research of Grand Canyon travels but I had no idea where the sanctuary was located.

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Being the animal lovers that we are there was no hesitation, yeah it’s not just me it’s a family affair, we turned off the main road and followed the signs to the visitor’s center. Best Friends is home to 1,700 animals spread throughout the beautiful red rocked Angel Canyon. Outside the the visitor’s center we saw a van loading up with people and thought that perhaps we were right on time for a tour, turns out you have to book the tours well in advance since they are so popular, we were very disappointed to say the least. I pleaded with them to let us tour the facility because it was very likely that we’d never make it back, they took pity on us and said that we could drive through but wouldn’t be able to get out of the car.

According to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary they are the pioneer in the no-kill movement. Thirty years ago 17 million animals were dying each year in shelters. Their focus was to bring attention to spaying and neutering nationally and increase adoptions which they’ve promoted with success. Now there are 4 million dying each year, 9,000/day which is still too many, their goal is 0 deaths. The fate of cats is the most alarming, 70% who enter shelters are killed.

Best Friends took in 22 of the most traumatized dogs from that despicable football player whose name I won’t even type, these dogs are called the Vicktory Dogs. Many of them have been placed in loving homes, one, who I found out later, was transported and adopted though our local shelter. At Best Friends where the dogs are housed it’s called Dogtown and for four years there was a National Geographic program called DogTown which followed the lives of the animals and caregivers, in the final season there were episodes about the Vicktory Dogs. I challenge you to watch this and not be sickened by what human beings are capable of inflicting on man’s best friend, it’s unforgivable.

We drove around the Sanctuary for about 1/2 hour. I put my 100-400mm zoom lens on my camera and was able to capture a few of the animals.

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I left Best Friends Animal Sanctuary wishing I lived closer and was able to volunteer.

Dakin Humane Society 9/29/14

Dixie

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Riddick

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Mercy, beagle puppy. Sorry, I can’t post just one.

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Zoe, 10 years old

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Garfield

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Rufus, an 11-year-old extremely friendly cat who responds to his name.

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Screech, 15 years old :(

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All animals available at Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.

Dakin Humane Society 9/22/2014

China, a sweet, submissive pitty

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Winnie

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Baby

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Hero, 14 years old

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Lucky

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Lady Guinness, 8 years old with a heart shaped nose

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All of these animals can found at Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.

I wish I could save them all

A year ago this December I started volunteering at one of our local animal shelters. Once a week I take photos of the dogs, cats, birds, bunnies and guinea pigs that are available for adoption. Life was leading me to a point where I felt like I needed to do something that made a difference.

“The meaning in life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Not that I am of the opinion that I have a gift, I have a passion for photography and I needed to give that passion a purpose beyond capturing memories for my family. I was first inspired by this post on Design Mom. In her post she discusses a photographer who went to her local pound and asked for the animals least likely to be adopted, she then set out to capture their unique personalities. Each of the dogs she photographed found a home.

I contacted our local shelter and found that they were indeed looking for photographers, I even went through volunteer training only to be told, “Thanks, we’re all set.” Luckily it was only a setback of a few months. Later, I happened to be on Facebook one day when I read in the comments on a post from the shelter someone complaining about the lack of photos of the animals. One of the employees responded that they didn’t have enough photographers so I immediately contacted the person in charge of volunteers who said she wasn’t aware of the issue and after confirmation regarding the lack of volunteers I was ready to go!

I did a little research regarding animal photography, especially dogs. What stood out to me as most important was focus on the eyes. The eyes are the windows to the soul and their unique personality. I wanted the viewer to be able to make a connection with the animal right there on the shelter’s website. Also, a shallow depth of field which means a small focus point with the remainder of the image blurry. The blur allows the background to fade away so the potential adopter doesn’t see the cages or chaos that a busy shelter can endure. I want the viewer to picture that animal in their own home.

My goal is to make that animal shine! Inside the shelter (for cats and small animals) the lighting is not ideal so my ISO setting (making my camera more sensitive to light) is usually pretty high and in the courtyard (for dogs) the lighting is a mixed bag of partial midday sun/shade, overcast and in the winter snow and oftentimes dirty snow. Superb editing tools are a must! I use a combination of RadLab for Photoshop and Aperture (soon to be switching to Lightroom since Aperture no longer has support from Apple).

So now every Monday I team up with with my photographer friend Michelle with a list of animals who need photos. I’m going to try to start blogging about the animals I’ve photographed on a weekly basis. In a future post I’ll choose some of my past favorites to share.

This week:

Bree

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Yara

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Moola

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Sasha

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Mama Stormy

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Boo Boo and Smokey (2 fur 1 bonded pair)

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Gail

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All of these animals are available at Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.

Summertime, Adventuretime

The start of a school year is somewhat like the beginning of a new year (only much warmer). It’s like starting with a clean slate and a bucket list of inspiration. On the list is getting back to blogging on a regular basis. In order to blog I’ve got to let other time and mind sucking things go and I don’t mean the laundry. I worked on letting a few of them go over the summer and I hope to stay on that path.  Structure is not one of my strengths so I will have to give this some (a lot) effort.

Here it is 2 weeks into the school year and that blogging goal has already been delayed, life happens, the new school year was a tough transition for all of us, especially coming off an epic summer. I took so many photos, I would really like to tally them up and I think I will – maybe even start a poll to guess the total? But even beginning to share them is overwhelming. Where do I start? So today I’ll just post some highlights and then later get into more detail.

The summer kicked off with our annual participation in the Vermont City Marathon.

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Lots and lots of baseball.

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A fun run.

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I mentioned in a previous post our trip to Chicago.

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Weekly volunteering at our local shelter (more on this to come).

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Then there was this.

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And last but definitely not least, Maine.

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I think it’s going to take me the entire school year to catch up on my photo editing not to mention the photos never edited from last year’s trip to San Francisco. I’ve got my work cut out for me.

The Dogist (a dream)

My favorite people to follow on Instagram are dogs. There’s Momo the border collie, Maddie the coonhound and The Dogist. The Dogist is a wildly talented photographer who takes photos of dogs wherever he travels. Based out of NYC it seems there is never a lack of subjects. I admire the photographers ability to capture their personalities, it’s all in the eyes.

Recently we were in Chicago and I day dreamed of becoming The Dogist, I even found a willing subject, Lindsay (who was kind enough to humor me) and Millie, the black Pomeranian.

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