In September of 2022, we had the idea of professionally photographing shelter dogs to show their unique beauty and personality. Many of the dogs at the Kern County shelter had either no picture or an inferior picture that made it hard to discern what kind of creature it was! We started with 10 dogs per week, brought to us one at a time. We started with those who had been there the longest, posed them in a chain link outdoor area with our rug and backdrop. You wouldn't know it, but the area has dog poop and pee in it and is smelly! It's the area where dogs go to meet and greet with potential adopters, or to hang out while their kennel is cleaned. It was a whole different venture for our photography. We moved here a year ago from Maui to help take care of my elderly mom. In Maui, we filmed cinematic architectural works.
But our hunch proved correct; professionally photographing shelter dogs brought much needed attention not only to the dogs, but to the problem of 1,000+ dogs being euthanized every month due to lack of space at the shelters. We now photograph an average of 30 dogs per week, along with 2-3 volunteers who bring the dogs one by one. We do this on a full time volunteer basis. A few weeks ago, we made it a priority to spend a couple minutes with each dog prior to taking their pictures and say a prayer that God will bring them a forever home (even if that means with Him), and that He blesses, protects, and brings angels to comfort them.
But that's not all. Once edited, we upload the images and information about the dogs to as many social media sites as we can, and email 850 rescue organizations across 17 states and Canada. This sometimes leads the rescue organizations to engage in transporting dogs out of Bakersfield in order to save them. We are told every week by rescues how much of a difference our images are making toward this effort. Sometimes transport can be arranged through transport companies or our volunteers (we pay for the gas). Other times, we load up dogs in a small RV we purchased for this purpose and transport the dogs ourselves. We have traveled as far as Northern Washington. Transporters usually will only take a large group of dogs (20-30) to make it more cost efficient. That is where we come in. Depending on size, we can transport between 5-8 dogs.
Many more dogs are now being rescued or adopted, not just because of our pictures, but because of the the momentum and awareness it is creating. Many volunteers in the community have started doing videos with the dogs and uploading to social media. This not only gives the dogs some play time and human contact, but it also bring community attention to the dogs. We often hear that people had no idea about the euthanasia problem with Kern County Animals. In addition, our work has created a sense of cohesiveness among people who have the commonality of compassion for animals. It is a universal bond that is apolitical. It feels good to help the truly helpless, voiceless members of our society. They did not ask to be born, they don't drive cars, so they can move to another state, they cannot even provide their own shelter to protect them against the elements.
Occasionally, a dog is deemed unadoptable due to a medical or health condition that could easily be fixed if funds were available. We offer medical funds support on a limited, case-by-case basis, if it supports our mission of saving animals from the local shelters. There is a special emphasis on helping dogs relocate out of Kern County to areas where there is a more stable animal atmosphere and extremely low-to-zero euthanasia.
In December of 2022, we are now have become a 501(c)3 corporation, pending organization, so your gift is now tax deductible! An official tax receipt will be available in mid to late January of 2023. We named our rescue after our dog Pearl, who was the best dog. She understood Aloha and gave of herself beyond physical ability until the end.
Thank you for being a voice for the voiceless. They truly are "the least of these."
With much Aloha,
Janet and Craig