FLOWER POWER SHOOT: Falcon, the gorgeous pit mix

A pit bull with fluffy ears? Hell yes!! Mr Bones & Co brought the cutest pit bull ever on my set! Falcon was looking for a home, and we ended up doing a whole shoot. Quite the model!! Falcon ended up being a foster failure (his foster family decided to keep him). I have to admit I also fell in love with him!!

FLOWER POWER SHOOT: Ivy and her puppies

Redemption Rescues, In. brought Ivy and some of her puppies over for a Flower power shoot. The puppies were adorable, but most of our shoot looked like this:

In July, in the scorching heat of the summer, Redemption Rescues was called and asked if they could take in Ivy, a young mama who had just given birth to 9 pups in a backyard in Far Rockaway (which is a pretty bad neighborhood for animals and especially pit bulls, lots of dog fighting and animal abuse). Although one of the owners was considering keeping them, they knew the puppies were in danger: people were lurking around their property to steal them. Yes. You read well. Even worse, the owner believed someone had brought their dog into his backyard while Ivy was in heat to impregnate her. This is why spay and neuter is SO important!! She is just one year old! He finally agreed to surrender the puppies and Ivy to the rescue. She was still living in the backyard, nursing her puppies, in unbearable heat. 24 hours later the rescue went to pick them all up. Much to their dismay, they arrived to mom and only 8 puppies. The owner said someone had already stolen one. The group took the pups to the vet, and into foster care, where they still are. Ivy and her babies are up for adoption. Puppies usually fly out, and mommies are often left behind. Maybe this time we can change that? Mama Ivy is a baby herself at 1 year old, but she has been a great attentive mom to her puppies. She is such a sweetheart. So affectionate and gentle. To know her is to absolutely love her. When she is not tending to her babies she enjoys curling up in your lap for a head scratch. She is really sweet, inquisitive, devoted and deep. Very soulful.

As of December 2015, all the puppies have been adopted but Ivy is still waiting.

RESCUE SHOOT: The derpiest dog and his kitten buddy

I photographed Garlic, Midnight and Bull the kitten for Mr Bones and Co. Garlic's #PitBullFlowerPower portrait went viral and got him an adopter!

SHELTER SHOOT: Animal Haven

I was at Animal Haven this week. I photographed they latest rescues, including some very memorable faces. Some of them are facing serious health issues, so I am keeping my paws crossed that everything will turn out ok.

Hero captured my heart (as he did for many others who read his story). This German Shapherd mix is 12 years old. Once he rescued his family from a home fire. They abandoned him at the city shelter for financial reasons. It was so painful to see him at Animal Haven. He is surrounded by love but you could see in his eyes that he does not understand what the hell happened.

On a more positive note, Hero turned out the be the 500th dog I photographed in a shelter, since I started about 1.5 year ago!!! Yay :)

Shelter Shoot: Hempstead Town Animal Shelter, LI

I broke a record this Monday! I was at Hempstead Town Animal Shelter and we photographed 42 dogs! Many of them wore flowers for Flower Power too. It was a wonderful day, and we had a behind-the-scene photographer following our work, so stay tuned for that.

SHELTER SHOOT: Animal Haven, 200th dog photographed!

I had to come back to Animal Haven this week as they had some really, really cute faces available for good loving homes. Check these faces below, and click on their image to access more info on their personality and how to adopt them. This week I photographed 9 lucky babies, which brings the total number of dogs I photographed at Animal Haven since I started volunteering there to 200!!! I am so happy to be a part of the Animal Haven family. I have enjoyed working with their wonderful team and doggies, and I have grown so much as a volunteer photographer with them.

Animal Haven will be relocating to a new building in a few months, and they are having their Fifth Annual Benefit for the Animals at Capitale at 130 Bowery in Manhattan on Wednesday, June 3rd from 7 to 11pm. The event will raise much needed funding to help them build a state-of-the-art shelter so that they can improve the level of animal care and increase the number of adoptions.

During that evening, I will be presented with the Leonard Simon Award for my work for homeless animals. I could not be more grateful! Please join us for this fabulous event, for a well-deserving shelter. Tickets can be purchased here. If you cannot make it to the event, please consider a donation (follow this link). This new shelter is a historical moment for Animal Haven, and they need us more than ever!

SHELTER SHOOT: Animal Haven

15 lucky pups had their make-over photos taken at Animal Haven! A couple of them had recently been returned to the shelter unfortunately, like Delonge whom I photographed as a puppy months back. He is now a big, big boy!! I also met Cav, a gorgeous spaniel/cavalier looking dog. He is extremely emaciated and scared. He was just dumped at the shelter by his "owner". She told the staff that he was a bad dog, always eating everything he could find. Well by judging how skinny he is, that could not have been much... Each time I tried to pet him he would coward away. He clearly has been neglected and mistreated for a long time. Well Cav, don't you worry! From now on, it gets better and better. By the end of the shoot, Cav was sitting next to me letting me pet him and I think he secretly enjoyed it :)

Happy ending for Kona, 10 years in the making!

Kona, a senior pit bull, was abandoned at a municipal shelter after suffering a heroin overdose. It was believed that the overdose caused brain damage. That prognosis, together with the fact that Kona is a pit bull and a senior dog, made him "unadoptable."

Several months later, the girls of Mr. Bones & Co. met this resilient, determined dog, and decided to bring him into their One Lucky Pup rescue, rehabilitation and adoption program. Kona won them over with his sweet, gentle, happy nature. Through an extensive vetting protocol, they fixed his teeth and several of his health issues. But the more tests they ran, the more bad news they received about this sweet, loving doggie: degenerative brain disease, tumor... It did not look good for Kona. But the girls of Mr. Bones & Co. never gave up... and Kona was adopted this week!

A few weeks ago I met Kona for a very special private #PitBullFlowerPower shoot at the vet's office. I set up a tiny studio in a corner. That first photo on the left is Kona meeting me for the first time. He just wobbled towards me, his tail wagging, and covered me in kisses! What a love bug!

 

 

 

 

Check out this video to see Kona's story and how love overcame it all! Warning: you might want to prepare some tissues...

SHELTER SHOOT: Sean Casey Animal Rescue

I photographed 27 beauties at Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn!

SHELTER SHOOT: Animal Haven

After the holiday break, I was so happy to go back to Animal Haven shelter to photograph their adoptables! Turns out, they had just received an incredibly cute batch of pups from Puerto Rico via The Sato Project. As you know I have a soft spot for this rescue group, having followed their hard work for almost two year (see my Dead Dog Beach project). Akoni, the cute puppy who wore flowers last time I was there, is unfortunately still available for adoption. She is a teenager now, look how beautiful she is! I photographed her wearing the same flower crown and will be posting the results soon.

This shoot was also a bit different than usual as the team from DOG & CO. followed me for a behind-the-scene story. There was lots of cute puppies involved, several senior babies, and some flowers too! Check out the behind-the-scene story here. And don't forget to shop with them, they have some awesome dog products!

SHELTER SHOOT: Celebrating my 150th dog at Animal Haven

I started photographing Animal Haven's adoptable dogs in October 2013. A few days ago I realized I had photographed over 150 dogs at this shelter since I started volunteering for them (oh, and a few cats)! This is such a beautiful achievement. I have helped many rescue groups and shelters over the past years, but Animal Haven is the place where I did most of my work.

Striking Paws started with a simple idea: good photography saves lives. Good photography presents adoptable pets in a better light, but it also helps giving shelters a good image! I always wanted to photographer shelter dogs with as much care as any other model. I am demanding with them, yet caring. I consider these shoots team work: the handler, the dog and I work together to capture the expression, the face that will attract potential adopters.

Before I met the team at Animal Haven, I had been trying to volunteer for shelters for some time. But getting my foot through the door of any of them had proven more difficult than I had hoped. Luckily, Animal Haven gave me a chance to show what I could do. Rapidly, our relationship grew stronger, with trust and mutual respect at the heart of it. Thanks to Animal Haven I have been able to evolve as a photographer and a volunteer, refining my own voice and strengthening my skills. I hope my images also made a difference for the adoptable dogs I met. 

It has been wonderful working with the staff at Animal Haven and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tiffany Lacey (Director of the shelter) for welcoming me as a volunteer photographer, Mantat Wong (Director of Operations) who coordinates the shoots and has handled more dogs (and cats) that I remember for me, and Kendra Mara (Associate Director) whose reactivity in posting the photos and making sure every dog shines made my work that much easier. Also a huge thanks goes to all the staff members and volunteers who help during the shoots. I could not do this work without all of you!

Here are some highlights from the 150+ dogs I photographed at Animal Haven since October 2013. You can also check that page for all the shelter shoots I have done since launching Striking Paws.

SHELTER SHOOT: Animal Haven

I spent the day at Animal Haven to photograph a bunch of doggies (and some cats!!) who are waiting for adoption. The Dogist and I teamed up for a double shoot! We photographed the dogs: him for his Give a Dog a Bone project and me in my regular studio set-up.

Below are the dogs and cats I photographed. Stay tuned for some Flower Power portraits, and Dogist / Striking Paws side-by-side!

FLOWER POWER: New faces!

Mid-November I spent 2 days at the Brookhaven Municipal Shelter on Long Island, NY. I photographed 60 dogs (see previous post), 44 of which graciously accepted to wear flowers for my Flower Power project. The project is aimed at changing the way we view Pit Bulls. It will take me time to work on these 44 new flower children, but here is the first group! All these babies are available for adoption. Contact the shelter for more info (if you are on a computer, click on the photos to read more about each dog).