I recently stumbled across an article by a brilliant American photographer, Seth Casteel, who is involved in an initiative to improve the chances of animals needing re- homing, by providing shelters with the resources to properly groom and photograph shelter pets. http://onepicturesaves.com
On looking more into this subject I learned that having professional, high quality pictures of the animals needing homes was really helping them to be adopted. So I started to think about doing this myself. I had the obvious predictable worry about how sad it might be spending time in a rescue centre but quickly shook that off. It is much more important to be helping these animals than worrying about any small discomfort it might cause me.
I researched to find out which centres were near me, and contacted Second Chance Animal Rescue in Southampton https://www.secondchanceanimalrescue.co.uk to explain what I had in mind. I arranged to go and visit and chat to Rose who runs this organisation, so that she could meet me in person, and so that I could get a feel for what I could do to help.
I must tell you at this point that I immediately realised this was in no way a sad upsetting place, quite the opposite. What a welcome I had... I was greeted at the gate by two big friendly dogs, who accompanied me to the office, one of them even pulled down on the door handle so it opened for me!!
To cut a long story short, I have been going once a week for a couple of hours for the past 5 weeks and I am so happy being there....the staff are incredible, and so welcoming and friendly to me. The animals, albeit some with sad backstories, are so well cared for and clearly loved by their carers. I am sure I have no idea of the immense amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep this amazing centre running, and I am full of admiration for all the staff and volunteers who put so much time and hard work into Second Chance.
As I'm writing this, one of our very pampered cats, Stanley is curled up beside me. It made me think that luckily for him he has always had a safe loving home, but for many reasons that isn't the case for all pets. Since having this involvement with Second Chance I am absolutely certain that when we are able to take on another animal, he or she will definitely be from a rescue centre.......
I feel so fortunate to be able to combine my passion for photography with my love for animals and will leave you with a couple of photos of beautiful cats who have recently found their forever homes!