Being a volunteer at my local shelter, I get to meet lots of dogs and cats from all sorts of backgrounds. Most of the time, no one knows anything about the animal except what they can see - color and size. The shelter I volunteer for has a very high intake rate. Dogs and cats are pouring in every day. They take photos of them on intake, but they don't always have the time to get the animal to look at the camera, and they may not be able to take the animal out of the cage for a photo at that time. That's where I come in.
By the time dogs make it on to the adoption floor, they've been at the shelter for a little while...long enough to learn when feeding time is and the normal routines of the shelter. They've been walked on leashes and handled daily for a while, and are much easier to photograph at that point...at least in comparison to Day 1. I don't always get good photos of them, case in point the photos in this blog post!! That aside, I try to get the shots I can in hopes of increasing their chances of adoption.
This past Saturday, I had the privilege of the company of another volunteer. She was a big help in distracting the dogs so I could get some shots in. When I first got there, she had already spent all morning with one dog, a little puppy. I let her know that we needed to spread the love out - that all the dogs need a chance to come out, or at least as many as possible. She said she liked smaller dogs better, because the big dogs scared her. I told her we would have to change that! She said she would be okay with it if I walked them...and we didn't bring out any pit bulls. She had heard that pit bulls would "turn" and bite. Well, that's outdated info, now isn't it?! After a full afternoon of small dogs, big dogs, and everything in between, I brought out one of my favorite dogs, Deago. His coloring is different, but he reminds me a lot of Axle, including his love of giving hugs. I didn't tell her his breed. After she had played with him and commented on how cute (and skinny :/ ) that he was, I asked her if she was afraid of him, since he was a big dog. She said no. I asked if she was sure, and she said she was, that he was sweet. So I told her that he was a pit bull. She was amazed! I then showed her pictures of Axle and the rest of the fur family. Before she left, she said she had decided that pit bulls weren't "so bad after all." :) See below for a cute pittie smile.
Sometimes, all it takes to change a heart is a little time, a little patience, and a lot of understanding.