All I Want for Christmas is You … an animal shelter photography project

Louie is about one and played with Mack for a long time. This was Mack’s first experience going to an animal shelter and it was hard for him to leave Louie.

Looking for a volunteer project that involves photography is usually easy but I was looking for something different.  Something that would be fun but would also have, perhaps, a meaningful and immediate impact.

I thought about what had touched my own life this year.  My kids were getting older, leaving the nest, and my two rescue dogs had brought such joy into our house.  Saving a dog was something I had never done before and the whole experience was awesome. So the volunteer project took focus.

One by one I took my kids and my friends up to a little town called Huntley, Illinois where there is a little shelter called Animal House Shelter.  (   No one even felt like they were volunteering, it was all fun.  Driving through the countryside, eating cider donuts and drinking hot chocolate and then arriving at a pretty little red barn and playing with the dogs.

Daisy was very fun loving and gentle. This is Emma and after this experience Emma and her mom adopted two dogs from this shelter.
This is skylar and she is little and cuddly. Alley is a dog lover at heart, with 3 dogs of her own. She held Skylar for a long time.

 There were all kinds of dogs.  Purebreds as well as mutts.  Big ones and little ones.  Cute ones and funny looking ones.  Some were shy and some were outgoing.  They all had one thing in common.  They were friendly and sweet and affectionate.  It was as if they knew they had one chance to look their best so that they might become ours.

The ride home in the car was a little quieter.  We talked about which dogs we liked the most and we wondered if what we were doing would make a difference.  I’m writing this on Christmas Eve and, so far, this project has helped six dogs find homes for the holidays.

Animal House II3
My photographer friend, Julie Linnekin, came along and took this picture. Julie has two rescue dogs of her own so she and I have a lot in common.
Animal House2
Quinn volunteers at Animal House Shelter every Sunday. This dog is named Todd and he loves boxes, toys and kissing.
Animal House4
Kayden is friendly and energetic with a big tongue and big eyes. Such a nice dog.
Animal House6
Blue loves to play and is super friendly.
My friend, Julie, fell in love over and over again.
My friend, Julie, fell in love over and over again.

Animal House Shelter, located in Huntley, Illinois, is open every day of the year from 11am till 7pm.  Even on Christmas.  And even on Christmas Eve.

And if you want to volunteer with us going forward just give us a call … because this project isn’t over yet.


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