Rescue Animals’ Special Needs during Photo Sessions

Not all rescue animals are created equal. Some may walk right up to you and act like your best bud, and others may cower behind their foster parent in fear or even snap at you if you go in for a pet too soon! Always use caution and err on the side of safety when photographing a dog you don’t know.

If he’s been out of the shelter for a while, his foster parent will likely clue you in on his personality and any potential negative triggers, but if he’s fairly new to the rescue, the employees and volunteers may still be learning about him.

The best technique with any unfamiliar animal is to adopt a slow and steady mentality. Be patient and take your time getting to know the dog, and understand that this may be a very new (and scary) experience for him.

Many dogs pulled from the shelter system suffer from temporary or long-term physical limitations. If you suspect the dog you’re about to photograph has any medical issues, be sure to ask whether there’s anything he can’t do during your mini photo session, such as sit, lie down, or even stand for prolonged periods of time.

Coming across dogs recuperating from recent surgery isn’t uncommon — everything from minor surgeries like being spayed or neutered to more intrusive surgeries like having an infected eye removed, a broken hip repaired, or even a leg amputated.

The sad reality is that pet owners often dump their sick and injured pets at shelters when they can’t afford the medical bills. And until those dogs are either adopted directly from the shelter or pulled by a rescue organization, they generally don’t receive extensive medical care.

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