Not too long ago I read an article on Huffington Post about the relationship between quality photos and the adoption rate of dogs and cats at shelters. The better the photo, the more likely they were to get adopted. I had a camera and some time I knew I wanted to give to a shelter so I decided this would be the perfect fit. I called someone at Wayside Waifs and asked if they had any need for someone else to come and take pictures. They said yes and I was out there assisting another photographer later in the week. By the time I took my own camera out there that weekend I had an idea of just how I wanted the photos to look.
It turns out the dogs are not as patient with the photo process as I am. Even with the idea in my head of the shot I want, I've learned the dogs determine the outcome. I take what they give me and, as it turns out, that is what makes the photos more interesting. It gives me the ability to show off their personality. I love the challenge presented every week, you never know what you are going to get. Some are crazy, some are scared and some just want to lay next to you, but in the end they are all just happy someone is there to interact with them. This is far from a one way street, it's what I look forward to every week and it makes me incredibly happy to see the dogs that I photographed show up on the adoption list.
If you are considering adding a new family member to your household, I suggest you go check out a shelter first. There are several in the Kansas City area all would be happy to talk to you about what dog would be the best fit for you and your family. Below is a partial list of shelters that have adoptable animals.
These are also great resources if you are thinking about volunteering. There are no special skills required, just your ability to get out there once a week and interact with dogs, and I promise it will make your day.