Posts Tagged ‘PetFinder’

More on Colorblind Adoptions

October 30, 2011

"Tessa" Photo Credit: Jackie Maples

Wow! What a terrific response I received following my recent blog post about colorblind adoptions. I discussed the fact that black colored dogs and cats tend to languish in shelter and rescue situations because they are less likely to be adopted. Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond with your terrific comments. Some of your stories about your own animals brought me to tears.

Jackie Jurasek, supervisor of City of Rosenberg Animal Control in Texas, pointed out that the darker the animal’s coloring, the more difficult it is to capture their facial expression in a photograph. Such marketing photos are key for creating the “Awww!” factor amongst potential adopters. Jackie has recruited professional photographers to take photos of her shelter animals. The photos they take result in higher numbers of adoptions, and as Jackie so eloquently states, “We see a lot of the bad and the ugly in my profession, so adoptions are the ‘balm for our souls’… it is what helps us keep on doing what we have to do.”

The photos in this blog come from Jackie Maples, one of the three professional photographers who volunteer their time snapping photos at City of Rosenberg Animal Control. Jennifer Marie,  a second photographer, has graciously provided us with some tips for capturing the funny, adorable, and endearing expressions on the faces of our dark colored dogs and cats. Thank you Jennifer!

Tips on Photographing Black Pets By Jennifer Marie Photography

Are you tired of your cute pet looking like a black blob with red eyes in your photos? The color black absorbs light thus making it difficult to see texture and shadows on fur. And then if you have used your flash aimed at them, often times you see the red-eye effect and a funny blue-cast on the body.  Ugh! We need to see those cute personalities shine through!

"Elvira" Photo Credit: Jackie Maples

So here are some tips to help:

  • Go outside and turn off the flash! Take your pet outside in the early hours, around dawn or later at dusk when the light is warm, and have the sun at an angle to your back. If you have to go out during the bright daylight, seek shade from a big tree or the shaded side of a building. If those are not options, have a friend hold a big piece of cardboard or a sheet stretched out over the pet to prevent harsh light. Turn off your flash! If you can change your ISO setting (equivalent to film speed) to 800+, do so. This increases the light sensitivity of your exposure but keeps the shutter speed fast enough to capture some small movement.
  •  Turn your flash to the side! If you have to take the photo inside, turn your flash to the side and bounce the light off of a wall close to the pet. This will light your black pet from the side and give some nice shadows and visible texture on the fur as well as reducing red-eye effects. If your flash is built in, try using a piece of white paper just to the side or under the flash to direct the light to the wall or ceiling. Best yet, if you have a large window, place your pet beside and close to the window and turn off the flash. Use the window light from the side as the lighting source instead of the flash.
  •  Be aware of the background! Keep an eye on what is behind your pet, but still visible in the frame of picture. Try to use a background that is not busy or cluttered, that way the attention goes to the pet. Importantly, use a significantly lighter background behind a black pet to create contrast. Vice versa for a white pet. And focus your shot on the eyes of the pet.
  •  Don’t forget treats, squeaky toys, and your high-pitched funny voices to get your pet’s attention for that one second, and then snap away!

Now go have fun with Fido’s photo session!

Tell us about your successes( and your foibles) while taking photographs of your dark colored four-legged family members! Please feel free to share your favorite photos on my Facebook page.

Best wishes for good health,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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The Time of Year to Think About Colorblind Adoptions

October 16, 2011

I see pumpkins everywhere in my neighborhood reminding me that Halloween is right around the corner. This might be a good time to repost the following blog that I wrote a couple years back. Enjoy!

Dr. Nancy Kay with her dog Lexie (all black before her muzzle turned grey)

Whenever I meet with a patient (the pet) and client (their human) for the first time I always ask some version of, “How long have you two known each other?” I love watching my client’s face light up as they recall that first moment of kitten or puppy love.  I delight in hearing the wonderful and amazing tales of how their lives managed to cross paths. If my patient happens to be a black cat, I always provide kudos to my client for having performed an extraordinarily good deed. You see, black kitties are notoriously more difficult to find homes for than are cats of other colors. Perhaps this is related to black cat Halloweenish superstitions. What I hadn’t realized, until now, is that black dogs are also more difficult to place than their colorful canine counterparts.

According to an NBC News article by Emily Friedman, just as is the case for black cats, large black dogs tend to be the last ones to be adopted from shelters. There are a few theories as to why. Many shelters offer no natural lighting, making it hard for the face of a black dog to stand out. It is more difficult to distinguish their facial features than it would be in lighter colored dogs or those with contrasting markings. Kim Saunders, the head of shelter outreach for the Web site Petfinder.com believes that black dogs are overlooked because they don’t photograph as well as lighter colored animals. When people are shopping for the next love of their lives, they are looking for a face that stands out with special appeal. Some theorize that it is human nature to be drawn to things with more vibrant color or riveting hair coat patterns. Placing solid colored black cats and large black dogs can be so difficult that some shelters run promotions and try to create more color and appeal- necks adorned with colorful scarves, discounted adoption fees, and even superhero names.

When you are ready to begin searching for the next canine or feline love of your life, I encourage you to pay special attention to those that are solid black in color. They’re in need of a special advantage when it comes to landing in the type of loving, caring home that every dog and cat deserves.

Have you ever adopted a dog or cat with a solid black hair coat? I would love to hear your story.

Best wishes for good health,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

 

 

 

 

Adopt the Internet

March 14, 2011

  

Please, will you join the “Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet Day” effort on March 15th?  Email your dog loving friends and relatives.  Feel free to share this blog post with them.  Heck, write a blog post of your own! Together we will increase awareness about adopting homeless pets and hopefully create the kinds of happy endings that Quinn and my family have enjoyed.  

Do you have your own story about adopting a homeless pet?  We’d love to hear it.   Know of an animal who needs a home?  On March 15th, please post a photo along with adoption contact information on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/speakingforspot).

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook  

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

March 15, 2011: Adopt the Internet Day

March 10, 2011

Photo © Susannah Kay

 

When I first met Quinn, he was a two to three month old pup with a soft orange and white coat and an even softer disposition.  That was two years ago and I often find myself reflecting on the fact that the life of this adorable dog I love so dearly came disastrously close to being purposefully ended.   

Quinn was one of many orphans in an overcrowded shelter in Bakersfield, California.  The notion of “no kill” is nonexistent there, which is why this shelter is a regular stop for a wonderful rescue organization called The Dog Spot (http://members.petfinder.com/~CA1428/index.html). Their hard working volunteers make it a habit to scour the California central valley pulling adult dogs slated for euthanasia out of shelters. On what will always be Quinn’s luckiest day, The Dog Spot volunteers made an exception and opted to rescue a few puppies as well.   

The Mighty Quinn Photo © Susannah Kay

 

The Dog Spot rescues are showcased on Petfinder (http://www.petfinder.com/index.html) and that’s exactly where my daughter began her search the minute our family agreed we were ready to add another dog to our family.  The Petfinder photo of Quinn captured her attention and his personality captured all of our hearts.  It has been an ongoing love affair ever since.  

Why am I telling you all of this?  The organizers of Petfinder are asking us to do something special in honor of their 15th birthday.  They would like us to join together online on Tuesday, March 15th to promote the adoption of homeless pets.  Frankly, I’m willing to do most anything Petfinder asks of me.  Not only did they help my family find the world’s cutest dog, they work tirelessly to do a fabulous job rehoming millions of wonderful animals each and every year.  Petfinder is truly remarkable and I am profoundly grateful to this fabulous organization.   

  

Please, will you join the “Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet Day” effort on March 15th?  Email your dog loving friends and relatives.  Feel free to share this blog post with them.  Heck, write a blog post of your own! Together we will increase awareness about adopting homeless pets and hopefully create the kinds of happy endings that Quinn and my family have enjoyed.  

Do you have your own story about adopting a homeless pet?  We’d love to hear it.   Know of an animal who needs a home?  On March 15th, please post a photo along with adoption contact information on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/speakingforspot).  

Best wishes for good health,  

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook  

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

Speaking for Spot Gives Back

May 9, 2010

Wonderfully fun names such as “A New Leash on Life,” “Wags to Riches,” and “Fairy Dogmother Rescue,” are to be found at PetFinder.com. This is definitely the place to go in cyberspace when thinking about adopting a new pet.  Before I go one step further, rest assured I am aware that the PetFinder site likely features some puppy mills amongst their gazillions of legitimate nonprofit organizations.  I’ve no doubt that in spite of the fact that PetFinder performs their due diligence, some puppy mills likely slip through the cracks.  In my mind, this does not detract from the profoundly positive outcomes PetFinder facilitates.  Rather, it means that we need to perform our own due diligence when using this website.

At the time of this writing, PetFinder features 13,184 nonprofit adoption groups (shelters, humane societies, SPCA’s, and rescue organizations) and over 297,457 pets in need of a new home. PetFinder states that they’ve facilitated more than 13 million adoptions since 1995. Wow, that’s one heck of a lot of animals’ lives changed for the better!  I have a tremendous respect for the many thousands of people who invest their time, energy, and financial resources helping animals in need of a new lease on life.  Their generosity and desire to “give back” are inspirational.  I’ve initiated the Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program with hopes of providing a little bit of support for the amazing work they do. 

The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program is open to all animal-centered nonprofits including service organizations and adoption and rescue groups.  Here’s how the program works.  Participating organizations appear on a pull down menu on the purchase page of my website (www.speakingforspot.com). When someone purchases Speaking for Spot they can designate which nonprofit organization will receive 20% of the book sale proceeds. The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program is a win-win situation – not only will participating organizations raise much-needed funds, those who purchase the book will have a wonderful resource that will last a lifetime!

Please support your favorite animal-centered nonprofit organization by encouraging the folks who work there to learn more about the Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program.  They can either contact me directly (Dr.Kay@SpeakingforSpot.com) or visit http://www.speakingforspot.com/speakingforspotgivesback.html.  And when you are ready to expand your own menagerie, I hope you will begin the search at your local rescue organizations, shelters, and humane societies.  Have you already adopted from such an organization?  If so, I’d love to hear your story!

Best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health, 

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

Website: http://www.speakingforspot.com
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.