Dog walker Flavia was recently a part of a group of volunteers that helped photographer John Bouma from MaxNorman Pet Photography take photos of the homeless dogs and cats at Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS). It was such an amazing, inspiring experience to help these animals look great for their portraits. Without John’s help, and the help of other photographers who volunteer their time, the public likely won’t see these dogs and cats, which makes it much less likely that they will be adopted.
The volunteers helped John take pictures of the kittens because while kittens get adopted quickly, the photos on the MDAS website didn’t do them justice. They also helped him take the larger dogs out of the kennels and into the sunlight for amazing shots. Big dogs are harder to adopt; most people who walk into animal services want a smaller dog. More than one person grew teary-eyed seeing all of those dogs and knowing that of all the beautiful pups that they met, 20 percent don’t make it.
The Dogs Were So Happy to Have Human Contact
The dogs at MDAS don’t get a lot of playtime unless a volunteer takes them out, so when they finally do get out, it’s awesome to see them zip around and have fun. The pet lover community is trying to do so much for the dogs. And while we’re sure that Miami-Dade Animal Services is trying to do its best for the animals, we feel that there is so much potential for improvement there.
MDAS Needs Your Help!
For example, the appliances need to be updated. The building does not have central air conditioning- instead, they use industrial fans. The dogs all live in outside kennels. Unfortunately, most people don’t even know where the big dog area is. And when we were on our way to the park/area to take photos, we had to walk by the sick dogs, which is not ideal for sanitary purposes. We’re sure they wouldn’t mind donations.
How to Volunteer at Miami-Dade County Animal Services:
There are so many animals that need homes at in Miami. MDAS needs volunteers to help walk the dogs, clean them, play with them, and feed them. Your best option is to ask the staff what kind of volunteers they need. This position would be great for filling community service hours for kids in high school. You can learn more about volunteering or even fostering a dog or cat on their website.
In our experience: When you volunteer at MDAS, you have to walk into the main building and speak with the volunteer coordinator. He or she will sign you up as a volunteer, make you sign a waiver or release form, and then give you a brief tour and a t-shirt.
We encourage you to take a moment to bring love and cheer to these poor pups’ and cats’ lives. We especially believe in volunteering with John because his images help fuel adoptions. Please head over to the MDAS website today to adopt a beautiful dog or cat today!
The Sweetest Human Award Goes to MaxNorman Photography
We were thrilled to meet John because he is clearly a huge animal lover and a brilliant photographer. What we love the most is that John donates $25 from each pet portrait session to local animal rescues.
John’s “Pet Portrait Sessions” are an hour long, and can take place at your house or a scenic location nearby. His photo package is $150, and includes high resolution, retouched digital copies of all photos selected from the session on a CD, with around 25-30 images. You also receive a $25 print credit toward the purchase of prints and merchandise in the online store. We have already recommended him to our dog walking clients and they have been thrilled with the photos… and we’ve signed up for ours, as well. Let us know what you think of him if you do have your photos taken!
Image: MaxNorman Pet Photography
A founding member of the Equipaws family, Frankie can mostly be found working behind the scenes, helping co-create online branding, managing several social media accounts, designing brand collateral, writing copy, and managing events. She also fills in for pet sitters and dog walkers when needed in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami. Her own small pack consists of Boots the Shih Tzu mix and Nutmeg the Chiweenie.