New tri-states non-profit org uses photography to help animals - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Tri-States non-profit uses photography to help animals

Shelby Duggan photographed dogs at Homeward Bownd Sunday afternoon Shelby Duggan photographed dogs at Homeward Bownd Sunday afternoon

Animals in shelters throughout the Tri-State area have a new non-profit organization fighting for their adoption.

The organization is called Have a H.E.A.R.T., which stands for Helping Every Animal Receive Tender-loving-care. It pairs shelters, humane societies and rescues with professional photographers, who - for free - take and post pictures of the animals for potential adopters to see.

Sunday afternoon, the organization's founders, Judi Duggan and her daughter Shelby Duggan, photographed dogs at Homeward Bownd, a Siberian Husky rescue.

"This, to me, is like a dating service," Judi Duggan said. "When you see a photograph online of somebody or on Facebook or whatever, you're more apt to look at and appreciate a better photograph."

The Duggans own a photography business and were inspired to start this non-profit organization when they heard of a photographer on the east coast doing something similar.

"Then the light bulb went off and it was like, 'Duh! We could've been doing this the whole time,'" Duggan said.

Marla Theisen is the president of Homeward Bownd.

"We take in dogs that are otherwise going to be euthanized, from shelters and humane societies," she said.

The Have a H.E.A.R.T. pictures, Theisen said, will hopefully go a long way toward getting the dogs adopted.

"The pictures we get of them now are just with our little cameras," she said. "Usually, it's just me trying to take them by myself or one of the volunteers helping me. We don't have any photographic experience."

Homeward Bownd, like so many animal shelters and rescues, is a non-profit organization that runs on donations. Professional photography, therefore, is not a service the organization could afford, Theisen said.

"It's just too costly. You know, you go by with what you have," Theisen said. "You know, that picture's okay. You know, they have to come actually meet the dog, get the personality of it."

The Duggans hope to capture at least some of each animal's personality in a photo.

"A photograph makes all the difference in the world," Duggan said. "If you can make them look their best, why not?"

The service includes the photos, editing posting them to the organization's Website and making copies for the shelter. For bigger jobs like the Dubuque Regional Humane Society, the process can take all day.

"Sometimes it's a little bit time-consuming at the Humane Society, but it's all for a good cause, and even though we could be doing something for our commercial business, we're helping other people and animals in the process, so it's worth it," Duggan's daughter and fellow photographer Shelby Duggan said.

"Why not use the tools that God gave me, that I think I'm good at, and help other people in other ways?" Judi Duggan said. "If that's what it takes, is a day out of my week, that's small."

Have a H.E.A.R.T. started this year. Duggan said she's looking for more people to volunteer their time, including photographers, Web developers, printers or anybody interested in helping the animals.

"We can't photograph all the animals. We need help need help doing this," she said.

Theisen, too, stressed the importance of and need for volunteers at Homeward Bownd, which is near LaMotte.

Links to these organizations' Websites are on the left of this page.

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