We were able to use this grant money in several creative ways. We purchased a high-quality Nikon DSLR camera with which to take photos for our Petfinder site. We also used the money to purchase basic lighting and background equipment to use in our portable photography studio. A portion of the funds was dedicated to ink and toner for our Adoption Posters Program, which takes the high-quality images captured by our photographers and turns them into posters highlighting each animal’s unique personality and characteristics. We believe this program directly correlates with our Petfinder site and shelter-photography goals. A few staff members have also enrolled in a photography classes through a local community college, and they are learning how to make best use of the new equipment we have.
This grant allowed us to expand on programs that were significantly lacking beforehand. Before receiving this grant, we only had one volunteer photographer, but now we have recruited six incredible photographers and six “holders” who come on a weekly basis to help us keep our Petfinder site as up-to-date as possible. Our staff are also able to take photos now that we have proper equipment and are receiving adequate training.
Many people are intimidated by the shelter environment because they associate it with many negative emotions and connotations, so Petfinder allows us to reach those people who might be looking to adopt a pet but are not so sure about coming to a shelter to look around. For those who do venture into a shelter, our Adoption Posters Program allows the adopter to see a simple, positive snapshot of an animal’s personality — even if the animal is behaving badly in his or her kennel. These posters contain a beautiful photograph, personality traits and characteristics or each animal, and other information such as age and breed. We would never have been able to make these posters if not for the Petfinder Foundation grant.
Directly, it has helped more than 150 animals get adopted since we received the grant. It will continue to leave a legacy for all the animals who enter our care in the future.
Putin is a 3-year-old bully-breed mix, and he is easily overlooked in a shelter when placed next to a golden retriever or spunky Labrador. He was brought in by an Animal Control Officer, and his circumstances led us to believe that he had been used for dog fighting. We were very nervous to assess his behavior, but once we did so, we were pleasantly surprised to find that he was extremely friendly to both people and other dogs. We treated him for heartworms, and once his treatment was complete, one of our photographers took photos of Putin for our Petfinder site. No sooner had we gotten the photos uploaded than the inquiries started rolling in. Just days later, two roommates came in to look at Putin after seeing his photos online, and it was love at first sight. Putin is now healthy, happy, and will be loved forever, and we owe his success story to the Petfinder Foundation.