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HeARTs Speak Members Donate Their Talents to Save Homeless Pets

The global network of photographers, authors, artists, and advocates helps shelters and rescues present their adoptable pets in the best light possible.

Lisa Plummer Savas  |  Aug 2nd 2016


It’s no surprise that professional portraits can go a long way in giving homeless animals a significantly better chance of finding forever homes. In fact, high-quality photographs that portray a pet in their best, most flattering light can often mean the difference between that animal getting adopted or unnecessarily euthanized. But not every shelter or rescue has the means to afford professional photography, nor the skills and equipment necessary to take great photos. Enter HeARTs Speak, a global network of photographers, authors, artists, and advocates who generously donate their time and talents to help animal welfare organizations find more homes for homeless pets.

Will you get a load of that smile? Meet Jasmine, a 6-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier mix who can’t wait to find a loving home of her very own. She dreams of an active family that will take her on fun outings, hikes, and runs, then let her curl up on the couch for some evening cuddle time. She’s been waiting patiently for over two and a half years at Humane Society of Fairfax County in Virginia. (Photo courtesy Jeanne Taylor)

Will you get a load of that smile? Meet Jasmine, a 6-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier mix who can’t wait to find a loving home of her very own. She dreams of an active family that will take her on fun outings, hikes, and runs, then let her curl up on the couch for some evening cuddle time. She’s been waiting patiently for over two and a half years at Humane Society of Fairfax County in Virginia. (Photo by Jeanne Taylor)

Founded in 2010 by NY-based professional photographer Lisa Prince Fishler, HeARTs Speak works to connect artists with shelters and rescue groups, promote pet adoption, dispel the misconception that shelter animals are somehow inferior or damaged goods, and thus, save more innocent lives.

If Mara had her own Match.com profile, it would read: Young single brindle female loves long runs on the beach, hikes, strolls in the park, car rides, treats and belly rubs. Infectious smile, happy spirit, thoughtful, dedicated, energetic, attentive, and loving. Seeking a monogamous relationship with people only. This adorable 6-year-old Pit Bull and Labrador mix is waiting anxiously for your response at PAWS New England.

If Mara had her own Match.com profile, it would read: Young, single brindle female loves long runs on the beach, hikes, strolls in the park, car rides, treats, and belly rubs. Infectious smile, happy spirit, thoughtful, dedicated, energetic, attentive, and loving. Seeking a monogamous relationship with people only. This adorable 6-year-old Pit Bull and Labrador mix is waiting anxiously for your response at PAWS New England. (Photo by Wags & Whiskers Pet Photography)

“Our goal, first and foremost, is to create a world where no animal goes unseen,” says Hannah Pearman, HeARTs Speak director of communications. “(Our) membership is modeled on a unique blend of social and creative collaboration that is beneficial for everyone involved — artists, animals and organizations!”

This happy-go-lucky bully mix is Nika! This irresistible 5-year-old’s favorite things are lounging, catching hot dogs, and giving sloppy kisses. She would do best as the only pet in a home that will let her spend plenty of time on the couch and give her lots of love. She’s waiting for you at MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Massachusetts. (Photo courtesy Darlene Woodward)

This happy-go-lucky bully mix is Nika! This irresistible 5-year-old’s favorite things are lounging, catching hot dogs, and giving sloppy kisses. She would do best as the only pet in a home that will let her spend plenty of time on the couch and give her lots of love. She’s waiting for you at MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Massachusetts. (Photo by Darlene Woodward)

United by their shared love of animals, HeARTs Speak’s talented army of 600 members spans 20 countries, including 47 U.S. states, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Singapore, Argentina, Canada, the U.K., Venezuela, Lithuania, and the Netherlands. Through their beautiful and heartfelt photos, artwork, and writings, these kind-hearted professionals have helped countless shelters throughout the world successfully market their pets to potential adopters.

Bert is a sweet, intelligent and uber-friendly 5-year-old terrier mix who is seeking a loving family that will be committed to him for life. Calm, quiet and affectionate, he doesn’t understand why he’s been at the shelter for so long – after all, he’s a catch! Won’t you make this handsome little guy your new partner in crime? Adopt him today at the Humane Society of Jefferson County in Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy Christina Hyke)

Bert is a sweet, intelligent and uber-friendly 5-year-old terrier mix who is seeking a loving family who will be committed to him for life. Calm, quiet and affectionate, he doesn’t understand why he’s been at the shelter for so long – after all, he’s a catch! Won’t you make this handsome little guy your new partner in crime? Adopt him today at the Humane Society of Jefferson County in Wisconsin. (Photo by Christina Hyke)

But for under-resourced shelters that either don’t have access to a HeARTs Speak member, or the means to afford professional marketing assistance, the organization offers an empowering solution – the Perfect Exposure Project. Launched in 2013, this incredible outreach program grants open-admission shelters a DSLR camera and lenses, a studio lighting and backdrop setup, and a two-day workshop taught by HeARTs Speak photographers and instructors.

Who wouldn’t want to kiss that adorable, fat face? Kiki is a very playful, loyal and affectionate 3-year-old bully mix who actually curls her lip up in a cute “smile” when she’s excited to see you. Super smart and eager to please, she knows lots of obedience commands and can’t wait to learn new tricks. Check her out at Nina’s Network in Florida. (Photo courtesy Paola Paladini)

Who wouldn’t want to kiss that adorable, fat face? Kiki is a very playful, loyal and affectionate 3-year-old bully mix who actually curls her lip up in a cute “smile” when she’s excited to see you. Super smart and eager to please, she knows lots of obedience commands and can’t wait to learn new tricks. Check her out at Nina’s Network in Florida. (Photo by Paola Paladini)

“Many shelter’s budgets don’t allow for a dedicated marketing professional on their team, and the responsibilities of promoting adoptable pets to the public often lands on the shoulders of an already busy, and potentially unprepared employee or volunteer,” explains Pearman. “Through the Perfect Exposure Project…shelter staff and volunteers of all backgrounds and skill sets learn the basics of professional pet photography, get fresh inspiration for writing engaging bios, and learn industry tips for effective use of social media.”

Introducing Lilly, a 3-year-old American Bulldog mix who loves meeting new people, going for car rides, and destroying squeaky toys. Shelter staff describe her as a “rock star” who will make an amazing addition to one very lucky family! Meet her today at Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services in Florida. (Photo courtesy Shannon Carvell)

Introducing Lilly, a 3-year-old American Bulldog mix who loves meeting new people, going for car rides, and destroying squeaky toys. Shelter staff describe her as a “rock star” who will make an amazing addition to one very lucky family! Meet her today at Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services in Florida. (Photo by Shannon Carvell)

In addition, HeARTs Speak supports its artist members by providing a collaborative and supportive online community, and a host of resources to help them develop their skills and grow their businesses, including small monetary grants for special creative projects.

Jock is a sweet, playful, and very handsome 5-year-old American Bulldog mix who loves treats, toys, and butt rubs. He would love an active family that would take him on hikes and fun adventures, as well as let him be the center of their world. He’s waiting to meet you at Danbury Animal Welfare Society in Connecticut. (Photo courtesy Sarah Matula)

Jock is a sweet, playful, and very handsome 5-year-old American Bulldog mix who loves treats, toys, and butt rubs. He would love an active family that would take him on hikes and fun adventures, as well as let him be the center of their world. He’s waiting to meet you at Danbury Animal Welfare Society in Connecticut. (Photo by Sarah Matula)

“Our primary goal is to provide resources, opportunities, and educational engagement for our members to further their work in the animal sheltering world. It’s becoming more common knowledge that working within the field of animal welfare can be very emotionally challenging. We provide a safe, supportive online space for our members to engage with one another, ask questions, share hurt, and celebrate the successes of their every day. We’re constantly developing a collection of tangible tools that can inspire and complement their creativity, (and) through that we hope to empower each member to do the very best they can for animals in their communities.”

Baby Girl is a sweet and sassy 5-year-old Pit Bull mix who enjoys belly rubs, going for walks, and especially people! She would love a forever home that would allow her a spot on the couch and plenty of cuddle time. She’s located at SPCA of Luzerne County in Pennsylvania. (Photo courtesy Brina Platt)

Baby Girl is a sweet and sassy 5-year-old Pit Bull mix who enjoys belly rubs, going for walks, and especially people! She would love a forever home that would allow her a spot on the couch and plenty of cuddle time. She’s located at SPCA of Luzerne County in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brina Platt)

To learn more about HeARTs Speak and their incredible work, please visit their website or check out their Facebook page. Are you a creative individual with a passion for helping animals? Learn how to become a HeARTs Speak member here!

(Top photo by Chaya Baumbach of Chaya Digital Arts)

About the author: A devoted dog mom, journalist, and animal activist, Lisa uses her writing to spread awareness about global animal welfare and cruelty issues. She lives in Atlanta with two incredibly spoiled German Shepherds and a very understanding husband. Read more of her work at her blog and website, and follow her on Twitter.

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