Meet the inspiration behind "Seniors for Seniors". Brody, Heather and their beloved Dozer. When Heather contacted me to take senior pictures of her son, Brody, with their dog, Dozer, I was beyond thrilled! And slightly terrified because I had never done senior pictures before. But Heather told me she wasn't worried and all my fears disappeared when the most adorable trio ever, walked into my studio. Both boys were fantastic in front of my camera! I adore every single picture from the shoot.
While browsing through the finished photos, I stopped and stared at the one on the top left of this page and thought, "How sweet! A senior with a senior." And boom! An idea was born! Senior pets that needed another chance at life and High School Seniors that were about to start a new chapter in their life. It kinda made sense. I have always wanted to do something special for senior pets at shelters and rescues because they have done nothing to be in the situation they are in, aside from growing old and starting to depend just a little bit more on their people. After a lifetime of unconditional love and devotion for their owners, I think they deserve all the love and care they need, and more.
And so, here it is! My project called "SENIORS FOR SENIORS - High School Seniors promoting Senior Pet Adoption" where I photograph High School Seniors with adoptable Senior Pets to help them get adopted and to spread the word about how awesome Senior Pets really are. For this first round of photos, the HS Seniors got to pick the dogs they wanted to work with and even got to name the ones that didn't already have a name. I hope this project inspires more people to open their heart and home to older pets.
Meet Coleen , 8 year old Lily and 9 year old Felix.
Lily is a cute little thing that just loves to be held. Would you look at that smile? She is spunky and adorable and still has a lot of love and laughter to share. Lily is lively and alert and would make a wonderful addition to just about any family. She is still available for adoption at the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center .
Felix is a tiny ball of fur that found his way to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue from the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center and was adopted soon after. He is really the sweetest little guy and we are so happy he found his forever family so quickly.
Coleen is a 2016 High School Graduate. "I volunteered because I love helping animals. I thought it would be a really good opportunity to help get pets adopted . It's things like that, that make me happy and to be just a part of something so special. My joy in life is to help as much as I can, to give them the love and care they need. My goal in life is to become a Veterinarian to see and help the animals in need. I would like to get all the opportunities I can get with working with animals and helping them on my journey to becoming a Vet or Vet Assistant."
Meet Tucker and Granny.
Granny is about 9 years young and loves other dogs and adores kids. She is house and crate trained (a given with almost all senior dogs) and enjoys sleeping in her own diva bed. This super cool and super chill Granny is available for adoption through No Kill Kern .
Tucker is a 2016 High School Graduate. "I am training to be a professional mma fighter. I have been training since I was a little kid. My end goal in life is to become a police officer. I participated in this photo shoot because I love animals and the cause for this photo shoot. People have told me that I should model and I couldn't think of a better reason to start than helping get dogs adopted.
Meet Lindsey and Trixie.
Trixie is about 9 years young and sweet as can be. She loves meeting new people and enjoys hanging out with other dogs. She brightens every room she steps into. This little girl is perfect in every way and there's no surprise that she was adopted through Muttville Senior Dog Rescue pretty much as soon as they took her in.
Lindsey is going to be a Senior this upcoming school year. "She has been involved in Centennial's softball program and Student Government for the past 3 years and will continue as ASB president her senior year. Lindsey is interested in studying Public Relations and Marketing at Cal Sate Fullerton after high school in hopes of becoming a Public Relations Specialist."
Meet Madi and Em.
Em (short for Embrace) is a loving, super adorable poodle mix that totally won over Madi's heart. She is full of happy energy and you can't help but smile when she's around. She was at the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center and has already found her forever family.
Madi will be a Senior in 2017. "This year I'm working with Ana Deshpande Photography on her project "Seniors for Seniors": a project where Ana will take pictures of high school seniors with "senior" dogs in hopes of getting them adopted! I am going to be a senior at Stockdale, I hope to go to UC San Diego next fall to study Public Relations and Cognitive Science. With my degree I hope to work with the Brain Injury Association of California or America to help research improvements in brain injury recovery, not only for me but for my friends I have met along my journey! I decided to do this project because I love dogs and I know there are a lot of animals in town that need loving homes! This is my senior pup. For the little time I was with her taking pictures she made me so happy and I felt so much love. She is such a sweet dog and so smart (she does a lot of tricks!!). After the shoot I decided to name her Em, short for Embrace because she showed me so much love."
"I visited the shelter last week to see her but she had already been adopted. I'm so happy! This was such a fun project, it was my pleasure to help out."
Meet Cagnei and Berkeley.
Berkeley could be a model for an anti-ageing company! She doesn't look a day older than 5 and behaves like she's still 2! She is happy, bouncy and so full of life. She is cute and funny and will keep you entertained all day long! She was adopted from the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center soon after the photo shoot!
Cagnei will be a Senior in 2017. "Knowing that I am going into my last year of high school, I am excited to see how it will go before I begin my journey on my own. Though I am yet unsure of what college I would like to attend, I know that God will help guide me down the right path. I would love to be able to become a skilled architect and that I will be able to apply my creativity along with it. It's important to realize that life is short, so we must make the most out of every day that we get."
Meet Alexa and Oliver.
We were warned by the staff about Oliver being the most out of control dog in the line up but Alexa wanted to give him a chance, nonetheless. They hit it off from the get go and the pictures turned out adorable! 8 year oldOliver was simply smitten by her and although he was pretty playful and rambunctious for his age, he allowed himself to be hugged, held and be given belly rubs the whole time. It came as no surprise that he was adopted from the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center soon after this photo shoot and we are beyond thrilled with the news!
Alexa will be a senior in 2017. "Hi my name is Alexa E. and I am going to be a senior at Stockdale High School! I am an active member of the student body and was recently elected senior class president. I keep active by participating in cross country, basketball and track. I also love to sing and play piano whenever I find the spare time. I plan to attend a four-year university in California, but I have not yet determined my major. I have a fascination with dogs and there really is no better creature. Dogs are loving, trusting and nearly always happy with a goofy smile across their face. I chose to participate in Seniors for Seniors because I truly believe every good dog deserves a loving home."
I am so very thankful to everyone that helped make this project a reality. This project was a first for everyone involved yet Alexa, Madi, Cagnei, Lindsey, Coleen and Tucker jumped at the opportunity to help. They were so patient and loving with the dogs they chose to work with and made my job that much easier.
The amazing staff at the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center works tirelessly to find forever homes or rescues for every animal in their care. All but one of the dogs we photographed at the shelter that day have been adopted or rescued (and then adopted).
No Kill Kern is a relatively new animal rescue organization based in Bakersfield, CA. Every single NKK volunteer gives their all, and more, to make sure the dogs (and sometimes cats) that they take in get the best possible care, physical and psychological, before and after they get adopted. As it is with every rescue, old or new, they cannot succeed without YOUR help. Please visit their website and/or Facebook page to check them out for yourself and consider making a donation, no matter how small, to support their cause.
Thank you, everyone! I couldn't have done this without you!
Last, but definitely not the least, thank YOU for supporting and following this project. Everything I do is meaningful only because you're around.