HeARTs Speak gives photographers the opportunities and tools to help shelter animals find their forever homes.
October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, the perfect time for furbaby-loving artists to learn how to help homeless animals find their forever homes. That’s where HeARTs Speak specializes. Founded by Lisa Prince Fishler, an animal advocate and photographer, the organization unites and supports artists and photographers interested in increasing lifesaving adoptions of shelter animals in their communities. A growing number of member artists donate their time and valuable services to rescues and shelters in their areas through the rewarding HeARTs Speak program. A great photograph can help a homeless pet find a loving family much faster, making the medium truly lifesaving. According to HeARTs Speak’s website, “Together, across 21 countries, our artist members are providing over 15,000 hours of creative service per month to animal welfare organizations—including one-third of shelters in the U.S. alone—impacting nearly 350,000 animals worldwide.”
With tools and training, HeARTs Speak empowers volunteer photographers to use their skills to make a difference for shelter animals and provides a meaningful way for professional creatives to give back to their communities. Cuppa Wow connected with Jody Williams and Tom Myers, two pro photographers who donate their time to HeARTs Speak, to learn what this work has meant to them.
Jody Williams of Jody Williams Photography in Baldwinsville, New York, said, “For me, the most meaningful part of working with HeARTs Speak is being a part of something bigger than myself.” Like many animal advocates, Jody said she’s been discouraged that she can’t save every animal in need. “I’ve always loved animals, and as we all have said at one time or another, ‘I can’t save them all.’” But Jody said being a part of HeARTs Speak gives her hope. “Becoming a member of HeARTs Speak has opened my world to other artists just like me, with the same goals of helping homeless pets connect with their new family.” As more artists volunteer their time and skills, more animals are saved.
Tom Myers of Bundle of Paws Photography in Robbinsville, New Jersey, specializes in pet photography, so connecting with HeARTs Speak was a natural fit for him. Like Jody, he said he finds it reassuring to work with so many artists who want to make a difference for homeless animals. “To count myself among so many like-minded and talented artists who selflessly give in support of animals who can’t support themselves is a rare wonder.”
HeARTs Speak provides educational tools for photographers so that they can put homeless animals front and center in the public eye. Jody said, “I have more ‘tools in my tool belt.’ I have more tips, ideas, and inspiration to enhance my photos and give these dogs an even better chance than I could before. It means so much to me that I can play a part in so many of these animals’ happy ever after.”
Imagine taking a photo of a homeless animal and later learning that image helped make a forever connection with a loving family. That’s the reward HeARTs Speak member artists look forward to after each photo session with a homeless animal at a local shelter, and it’s what keeps them coming back to connect with more animals in need. Tom said, “The feeling of reward knowing that an image played a part in a particular adoptable pet finding his/her forever home is transformative, and I haven’t discovered that similar feeling in any other professional work. I’m proud of this work and honored to count myself among the hundreds of members who similarly give of themselves on a daily basis.”
If you’d like to become an artist member of HeARTs Speak’s Artists Helping Animals program, you can visit their site to learn more.