Giving Back

The 13 Project

Chances are, if you visit my blog, check out my website, or follow me on Facebook, you are an animal lover. If you are an animal lover, chances are, you also get inundated with information about dogs on death row, overcrowding in shelters, abuse cases, poor practices in factory farms, etc. Sometimes it gets to be so overwhelming. It can get to the point where you feel hopeless. It can feel like you - one little person - can't make a difference. Trust me, I know the feeling.

The 13 Project was started by the wonderful Serena at the blog Pretty Fluffy. She wants to prove that each individual CAN make a difference. And together, we can make a HUGE impact.

The 13 Project's initiative is to perform 13 acts of kindness towards animals before 2013 (or as many as you can). This movement is spreading like wildfire and proves that every little thing you do can help the beloved animals here in our world. To read more about this amazing cause, please check out all of the details at the Pretty Fluffy blog.

I invite you to start a list for yourself and see what you can get accomplished by the end of the year. You may surprise yourself! Perhaps you can donate goods or services to your local shelter, have your own fundraiser, start volunteering, write a politician about policies in your area...the list could go on and on!

So here is my list of 13 acts of kindness to perform before 2013:

1) Continue photographing adoptable dogs from the Humane Society of Charlotte.

2) Do a super-special photo shoot for one adoptable dog and share the story and images on my blog and Facebook until he/she gets adopted.

3) Donate a Gift Certificate to a fundraiser benefiting a local shelter.

4) Donate photography to a fundraising event benefiting a local rescue.

5) Promote the local spay/neuter clinic and low-cost vaccination clinic on Facebook.

6) Write a blog post on veganism.

7) Coach someone down the path of vegetarianism/veganism.

8) Continue clearing out my home of toxic cleaners, toiletries, and personal products and boycott items that may have been tested on animals and/or are not good for the environment.

9) Share the story of a puppy mill dog.

10) Learn about the candidates running for Commissioner of Agriculture and vote for one that supports legislation to stop the horrible puppy mill situation in North Carolina.

11) Share a local rescue's Wish List.

12) Collect my pets' old towels, toys, and beds to donate to a local rescue.

13) Spread the word about the 13 Project

So what will be on your list? Let me know in the comments below. Let's inspire one-another! <3

Barktoberfest 2010

The third annual Barktoberfest was held yesterday at the WFNZ Dog House - a great little venue right by Bank of America Stadium. This appropriately named location hosted hundreds of dogs donning their snazzy Halloween costumes all in the name of charity. Each year, the American Cancer Society organizes Barktoberfest to raise money to aid in the fight against human and animal cancers. With the gorgeous weather and large number of attendants, I really hope they met their goal. I had so much fun at the event and enjoyed meeting all of the sweet dogs and people. I must say, this was one of my favorite events of the year.There were plenty of refreshments for the dressed-up dogs including Bowser Beer, water, and treats from Canine Cafe.Barktoberfest 2010And of course there were refreshments for us humans! Proceeds from the sale of these awesome pint glasses went to Murray's Fund - a fund which provides financial assistance to people caring for a pet with cancer.There were so many dogs at Barktoberfest! They were all so adorable, yet probably not too happy they were dressed up! :) Here are just a few of the pups that came out to support a good cause...Puppies? Yes, please.The day was filled with contests including Best Kisser, Best Trick, Biggest Dog, Smallest Dog, Cutest Costume, Scariest Costume, Best Doggy/Owner Costume Duo, and Best in Show.And the winner of Best in Show! Doesn't he really look like a lion?!? His mom hand-made this...without a pattern...over a period of a couple days...and has won two years in a row! Dedication!And some more doggies with their people... Thank you to everyone that came out to Barktoberfest. If you are looking for more pictures, you can find them here: Click on the Client Area tab and enter the password "events". Then, select Barktoberfest 2010 from the category list. I will be adding more over the next few days! :)

Looking For Homes

Time for some cute new faces looking for a forever home! This past Sunday, I spent some time at the Great Dane Rescue of the Carolinas and was able to grab a few quick shots of some of the dogs in waiting. Baccus is very new to the rescue and is a large Dane that LOVES to lean and get scratchin's. He will be available for adoption in the coming weeks. Quinn is also fairly new to the rescue and would love to find a place to run and play. She would do best in a home without small children.

Great Dane Rescue of the CarolinasLicorice is a cute, middle-sized scruffy dog that really needs a good home. She is a little shy around the camera but, if given the opportunity, would be a great companion.Great Dane Rescue of the CarolinasI love how this little guy has a built-in accessory. He can make 2 different looks just by moving his ears...This last group is a set of Poodle/Maltese? mixes that are to die for! I could give them kisses all day! These three look *identical* and I had a hard time telling which ones I already took pictures of. These little guys are super sweet and would make great lap dogs...

If you are interested in any of these pups, please contact the Great Dane Rescue of the Carolinas!

My First Cover!

It's finally here!!! The October issue of Lake Norman Currents Magazine is now on stands! I have been waiting all year for this issue for several reasons. Number 1 - because it is the coveted pet issue. Number 2 - because I have a picture on the COVER! I was very fortunate to meet the publisher of Currents back in March during a Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce event. I told her I specialized in architectural photography and I was just getting into doing pet photography as well. I saw her ears perk up when I mentioned pet portraits and she instantly told me about one of their most popular issues - the October pet issue. From that day on, I knew I wanted to be in that issue. Even if I just had an ad, I would be happy.

After shooting several stories for the magazine, the editor approached me about photographing an event that would raise money for the Cornelius Animal Shelter Alliance. The event would be in the form of a contest with the winner gracing the cover of the October pet issue. Sold! Of course I would help out. I would get to photograph cute dogs not just for the magazine, but for a good cause as well.

But wait...that wasn't all. The email continued by saying that they wanted ME to shoot the contest winner's picture for the COVER! Really!?! Me? I about had a heart attack. This is the issue I just wanted to have an ad in and now I'm going to shoot the cover? Hmmm...let me think out this. I politely and calmly wrote back saying that I would take the assignment.

Currents Magazine Pet Issue

Webster was the lucky winner of the contest and will now have a taste of fame at a very young age. This handsome puppy was so well-mannered and was the perfect model for his first photo shoot. I mean, who couldn't take a good picture of Webster with those adorable ears of his? Many congrats to Webster and his mommy. I will remember you forever! XOXO! Here are a couple other pics of the little man without his winning trophy...

Currents Magazine Pet IssueFor more pictures from the Currents Commodore Cover Dog Contest, pick up your magazine today or click HERE for my blog post from the event.

Cover Dog Contest

I had the honor of attending the first annual Lake Norman Currents Magazine Cover Dog Contest this past Saturday and it was an astounding success! Over 50 pups competed for the title and the winner will land on the cover of the October Pet Issue of Currents magazine. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Cornelius Animal Shelter Alliance (CASA). CASA is a non-profit group of volunteers who support various shelter functions. Costs associated with the shelter include website management, adoption publicity, special purchases, payment of the intake exam for each animal, veterinary expenses, fostering expenses, and targeted adoptions (pregnant females and special needs). I love dog events that benefit a good cause and I thank each and every person that came out for supporting such a heart-warming event.

I don't want to share too many pictures of the event yet...just a sneak peak to tide you over 'til the October issue hits stands. You HAVE to pick up a copy to see the winner. I will say the winner is a "he" and he is as cute as a button. I LOVE him!!! I wanna show you a pick but I have to control myself. Arrrggghhh! I'm so not good at that!

In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of the event...

Currents Cover Dog ContestThere were several great vendors at the event and I love that each and every one is passionate about dogs.Currents Cover Dog ContestCurrents Cover Dog ContestGuests were entertained with some relaxing music, a silent auction, a Zumba demonstration, and a "parade" of dogs!Currents Cover Dog ContestCurrents Cover Dog ContestJudges narrowed the contestants down to the top 10. The dogs had one last chance to show their stuff as they circled in front of the crowd...Currents Cover Dog Contest Please pick up the October issue of Currents Magazine or look for it online. Many thanks go out to the publication for letting me shoot the cover of my very first magazine! I'm truly honored and will have butterflies in my stomach until the issue comes out. Also, thank you to all the awesome dog lovers that supported the event!!!

Is it October yet?!?

The Dog Days of Summer - Part 5

Fall is approaching quickly and The Dogs Days series will soon be coming to an end. However, these pups still need to find good homes in preparation for the cold, bitter winter that lies ahead. If you or someone you know is looking for a warm doggy to snuggle with, please consider one of the sweet faces below. Please contact The Great Dane Rescue of the Carolinas for more information.

Kitty time at the HSI

I love cats. In fact, I've owned more cats than dogs in my lifetime. Fortunately, my jobs lets me spend time with both! However, cat photography seems to be a bit less popular and the majority of my time is spent in photo shoots with dogs. That being said, I was thrilled to find out that the Humane Society of Iredell had plenty of cats that could go for a good photo shoot. I was happy to oblige. Humane Society of Iredell has a great facility up in Mooresville, NC. The building is clean and is staffed with awesome volunteers that have the animals' best interests in mind. The cats have multi-level cages and have a private room where they can socialize with one another and visit with potential owners. If you ever get the opportunity, check out the facility and spend some time with the wonderful kitties! PS - they have dogs available too! They are all placed in foster homes but can easily have a visit arranged.

I'll start out with an adorable little kitten named Hope. She is just a little 12-week-old bundle of energy! She absolutely was cracking me up as she zoomed from corner to corner in the room. She would flatten her tail along the top of her back and looked like a chipmunk as she ran to and fro. Total cuteness...

Her favorite game must be tug-o-war! Check out these outtakes of her pulling with all of her might. Her chipmunk stance is on the lower right.

This beautiful kitty is Gloria. She is just 11 months old and has the biggest eyes I have seen on a cat in a long time. She loves to cuddle and if you're not careful, those eyes will lure you in to give her treats...

Skye is the next kitty I got to photograph. She is a fluffy 3-4 year-old Persian blend with lovely silver/smoke fur. She will need a peaceful home where she will be free to do her own thing.

If I didn't know better, I would say that this next kitty is Gloria's twin. She shares the same stunning eyes, beautiful markings, and hard-to-ignore personality. This lovely girl is appropriately named Princess... The last girl I visited with was Laverne. This grey kitty is only 8 months old and loves playtime, being held, and lots of kisses and toys. She is a lover...

On a technical note, I used my new 50mm f/1.4 lens for these pics. I would have been out of luck if I didn't have it in my arsenal! This room was very dark with only one fluorescent fixture providing the light. I had my lens wide open and fortunately managed to avoid using any flash. Because the room was so dark, I wasn't able to stop action at all and I still have to practice with the very shallow depth of field. However, this lens rocks and I can see myself using it for all types of situations - low light or in the middle of the day!