Lesson: At the Kalamazoo Animal Shelter the important thing here is the animal’s feelings, the animal’s comfort, and the animal’s life.
Yesterday I had the distinct honor of stepping up my volunteer game by photographing some adoptable dogs at the Kalamazoo County Animal Care Services. I’ve been wanting to volunteer since we landed here in Kzoo in February, but the unpacking, the dogs, the 2nd move into the new place, and my surgeries kept me grounded at home for most of this time. But we’ve been in the new house a week and I was more than ready to get up to the shelter to help out.
Shelter shooting is pretty down and dirty. The dogs each get just a couple of minutes, and most of them are confused and scared and don’t know what the hell is going on. But they got lots of extra love and kisses, and the volunteers who handle the dogs are extremely good at calming the nerves of these beasties.
In addition to the tight (smiling) head shots that the shelters and rescues need, I of course took some of my favorite kind; the wide, more journalistic shots of the set up and the dogs. Context is king. I shot 21 dogs yesterday. I got lots of kisses and a few body slams. I got a dog trying to slip underneath me, and I got peed on. OF COURSE I GOT PEED ON. LOL.
Of course it looks sad (and I hear this from so many well-meaning people who would normally jump at the chance to help animals, but shy away from the shelters), and it sad that these dogs need homes. But it’s extremely awesome that there are so many volunteers and staff completely dedicated to getting them out of the shelter and into homes. The important thing here is the animal’s feelings, the animal’s comfort, and the animal’s life. So if you’re on the edge of volunteering let this give you a nudge in the right direction. They need you. They really really do.