Often times at consultations with my couples, I ask them what they like to do in their spare time. It helps me get an idea of who they really are, away from wedding planning. And sometimes they ask me the same question in return. When it happens, I get a big smile on my face, and I talk about how I’m a big dog lover, and I volunteer my spare time at my local Animal Shelter (BARCS), walking and photographing adoptable dogs. I also talk about how I am somehow always coming home with a new foster dog, how I do my part to nurse them back to health, and find them their forever homes. So if you didn’t know it before….now you do. #TEAMCDL (crazydoglady!! haha!)
It all started with this first image – Pet-U-Cation is a local Baltimore Dog training/behavioralist company, who asked me to recreate their clip-art logo in real form. And it quickly morphed into a completely different project. And after many months of coordinating, shooting in both ends of extreme weather, and lots of dog treats later ….”The Roles in Rescue – Saving Baltimore’s Dogs” 2014 calendar was born. Each page features an image of one of the amazing, beautiful, compassionate, and POWERFUL women in Baltimore that play a role in the rescue community. The goal was to show images with real women depicted as powerful, feminine, but not frilly. They own and love rescued dogs, especially the bully breeds. We wanted to show the world that you can control these dogs – with ease, AND while lookin’ this good. Who doesn’t like a hot chick in heels walkin a Pit Bull? Enjoy the 12 installments in the calendar series!
Melanie Snyder represents the role of the volunteer, offering hours upon hours of her time to help network, advocate, organize, train, and rehome animals in need. Melanie plays a major role in helping the community stay up to speed with political progress with Maryland’s struggle with BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) while rehabilitating, training and rehoming fosters of her own. Pictured with her is Chock, rescued from BARCS. Though Chock was an older dog, he was exactly what his new owners wanted in a family pet. Both Melanie & Chocko represent their roles beautifully.
This installment of the calendar is here and it is DIRTY. Alma and Savannah (of Pet-U-Cation Training) have the pleasure of helping to translate issues between your dog and your family. They consider themselves lucky to have a career where they can impact your dog’s lives (and sometimes the owners!) for the better, and their shared role with all other behavior consultants and trainers is — The Translator!
Everyone knows this is one of the most important roles in rescue.. How many of you play this role? Bridget Jennings and her dog Amelia have overcome trials and tribulations that almost all dog owners face at some point in their relationships. Amelia was a rescue from BARCS and was under socialized and impulsive… Today, this Canine Good Citizen has shown the world what Pit Bull type dogs are really like… and we have nothing but fantastic things to say, from the bottom of our hearts, about her adopters, Bridget and Matt.
The advocate’s job is to the be voice of the voiceless. To speak, write, post, educate everywhere and anywhere possible. Jessica Elaine, our model for the advocate is here with her 2 fosters, Precious and Sasha. Jessica is the founder of the organization, Babes 4 Bullies, which is company that raises funds and awareness for Pit Bull type dogs in Annapolis, MD. They stand behind the efforts of many Baltimore organizations in efforts to life the BSL that keeps American’s dog in an unsafe position. To quote Jess, “We use education to fight discrimination.” She owns 3 of her own (giant) Pit Bull type dogs and you can clearly see how in love with them she is when you watch them interact. During an in home session with her, we talked about our pasts and why we got into the dog community. I found out that Jess grew up and saw dogs that weren’t treated fairly and I believe that fueled her passion to fight for these dogs. Whatever the reason, we’re glad she does. Thanks for everything you do Jess!
How many of you see posts on facebook to save dogs? How many of you are at events every weekend, donating all of your time, energy, and money to bettering the chances that dogs end up in permanent homes? If you do any of things… you help play this role. Jen Carle is our model for this role because that’s what she does. She pours EVERYTHING into saving these dogs.. Countless friends, coworkers, volunteers, and just random people have their perfect dog because she spent time and money to network, sponsor training, board, vet, or foster these animals. The world would be a sad place without people like Jen.
Shine, the sweet 3 legged dog in this picture has a hell of a story as well.. More to come, but for now.. enjoy this badass portrait that tPoz Photography was able to capture.. Thanks for everything Jen!! You’re one of a kind.
The 10th addition to our calendar The Rules in Rescue: Saving Baltimore’s Dog is one of the most important roles and it’s AMAZING how many of you play the role, yourselves. She is “The Convert,” and she represents the person who was told to be afraid of “pit bulls.” She grew up afraid of them and didn’t trust them… then she met one. From that moment on Eileen, our representative of the Convert, opened her mind and heart to the idea that stereotypes are WRONG when used to fuel hate.
Polo and Ralphie, pictured, have a happy ending story to share as well. Though once discarded (thrown from a car and found by their current owner), they are now loved and happy as can be today. Dogs like these two have the potential to “convert” people every single day. Are YOU helping your dog change minds? Thank you Eileen for posing with us! Thank you Colleen for bringing your beautiful boys to pose for this picture.
How can I even begin to explain how important this role is. To think about the love, selflessness and devotion a foster has in their heart is truly amazing. Michelle Northam has taken foster, after foster, after foster since we’ve known her (and before!) and given them lives that they were meant to have. We have watched her help dogs over come behavior, confidence, and manner issues (lol!) and are grateful to have someone so inspiring in our lives. Michelle, you are so important. Your supportive dude, Aaron, is pretty wonderful as well! Thanks for everything you do and for giving dogs chances (and cool names) that they would otherwise miss out on if it wasn’t for you.
Bemo Combs been involved in rescue since 1989 when she started her own rescue, Dalmatian Rescue of MD. She would transport Dalmatians on death row every weekend to a home or rescue. She started with the bullies in the 90’s and at one point, had 17 dogs in one household. Talk about a tireless effort. Her dogs have been discriminated against for years, even though they have been greeters at the shelter where she worked, and loved meeting new people. When you talk to her, you have no doubt that her passion is helping people see what these animals truly can be. In her words, “It makes it all worthwhile. Anyone that has ever had a big ol’ bully head lay in their lap knows what that means.”
Through trials and tribulations, she fights on, for the good fight. Thanks for all you do, Bemo.
Lori Raxenberg knows the importance of teaching the next generation about kindness towards animals. When she started Teachers for Tails, her love and passion for helping Baltimore’s shelter animals began to spread and affect others. Lori is a teacher for small children and encourages them to be active in the rescue community with crafts for the local shelter dogs, donations, and have even brought local shelter dogs to help instill love, rather than fear, of the Pit Bull type dogs – and all dogs in general! We met Lori when she became a private client for her own dog Cody. Through countless health trials and tribulations we have watched them overcome, he is turning into quite the happy go lucky, confident, playful, smiling dog, all thanks to her hard work and dedication. Her role is vital for changing and improving the future of the rescue community, and we can all take heed of the lessons that Lori is teaching.
The dog in the picture is Suds, and he has a genetic condition that has left him blind, along with some neurological problems as well. Suds is the most kind, gentle, laid back, cuddly, eye catching dog we’ve met so far in this calendar “journey.” When we were taking the pictures, people would stop, stare, melt, and not want to continue wherever they were heading to begin with. People asked questions, wanted to pet him… just generally became in awe of his kind and gentle presence. It was a pleasure to include him in this calendar and send thanks to his foster momma, Anita, for letting us borrow him.
There is a role in rescue that is often forgotten. Who is the person that gets the dog from the shelter to the vet? How about from the vet to the rescue? The Transporter is a role that is vital.. and we are honored to have Kathy Quinn, veteran transporter involved in our calendar… Here it is!!
Kathy Quinn, animal advocate, rescuer, volunteer, transporter, supporter.. you name it and she has done it! She works tirelessly in our community to protect and improve our beloved rescue dogs and we are so thankful to have met her a few years ago in our efforts as well. She is one of a kind, and anyone that knows her personally can attest to that!! Thank you for everything you do, Kathy. You are beautiful on the inside and out.
As for the dog included in this image, Sarge, once called Ice, has a hell of a story. He was found, near death, chained in an attic. He had been neglected, abused, starved, and even had his mouth duct taped closed. His angels, Cindy and Rusty, Hedgesville Hounds, and the Berkley County Animal Control in West Virginia, swooped in just in time to literally save his life. We are honored to have Cindy, Rusty, and Sarge as training clients and have seen the bond between them grow even stronger as they teach him what his previous owners did not. He has even been Canine Good Citizen Certified – talk about a complete 180 from his previous life. It’s truly a touching story.
Christine Sandberg plays the role of the mediator. The organization that she runs is called Rescue Well, and it is a volunteer-run, front line, grass-roots organization whose mission is to stem the flow of animal surrenders to area shelters. They provide resources to fill unmet community needs; they work directly with owners to stop neglect and abuse, and do so in Baltimore’s most at-risk communities. You can “Like” them on facebook and find out how you can help here: https://www.facebook.com/
Whether it’s rescuing dogs and cats in the inner city, being a liaison between rescues and volunteers, or taking donations for families in need, Christine mediates and helps solve the problem. When we act as mediators, and come together for the common goal, we can affect more lives. Thanks Christine for everything you do!
Featured with her is her owned dog, Tug. Tug was rescued from a Baltimore City fighting operation and had been badly abused, traumatized, and under socialized. Today.. he is happy. That’s all that matters now – he is HAPPY and loved and will live the rest of his days under the safe and loving care of Christine and her husband Drew.
Baltimore City Police Officer, Kelly Steinhorn, as well as the entire animal enforcement department play the role of the protector, whenever and wherever possible. Posed with her, is her own dog that she rescued (literally), Pretzel. Pretzel is the survivor of severe animal abuse in which among other things, she was stabbed several times in the throat and chest by her previous owner. Through generous donations from the Frankie Fund, BARCS, and a great deal of love, this beautiful dog was given a second chance at life. As a Baltimore City Police Officer for almost 19 years, Kelly has seen countless instances of animal abuse, and all have broken her heart. As a Police Officer and past BARCS volunteer, rescuing animals and being a voice for those who are unable to speak has been her passion. It is her hope that her hard work will help other families add affectionate, faithful and amazing pets, like Pretzel, to their families. Thanks for everything you’ve done, Kelly.
these photos are AMAZING. and what an awesome cause!!
I’ve seen these on your Facebook and have loved them all but never knew exactly what they were for. This is so awesome! Every photo is beautiful, I love all of the stories and all of these roles are so important!
I love love love love all of these! I think it’s so wonderful to highlight all the people doing good for the pups out there!
This is such an awesome series!
Teri, this is absolutely outstanding. I have enjoyed seeing your amazing photos along the way, shared by you and by so many rescue organizations, and it is such a joy to see it all together with the great stories of these inspiring and life-changing people. I am so grateful for all that they do – and for everything that those not seen do as well. While reading this, I was thinking about how many different types of people came together to bring my three rescue dogs into my life (I met my first when my mom and I were volunteering as transporters many years ago!). The photos are great and capture the theme and idea of each month so well. Thanks for everything you do, Teri!!! You need a 13th month honoring The Photographer!!
Teri, this is one of my favorite blog posts I’ve seen all year. Your passion is inspiring and your heart is so beautiful. I can see you as so many of these women, the foster, the bleeding heart, the advocate, the adopter and so on. Thank you for sharing!