HeARTspeak, adoption through art

Animal overpopulation is a problem. All across the country, cities are met with huge numbers of unwanted dogs and cats. Big cities like Los Angeles have even bigger problems. According to the Humane Society, “Four million cats and dogs – about one every eight seconds – are put down in U.S. shelters each year.” That’s a lot of animals dying. It’s overwhelming. It’s seems like a hopeless mission. But instead of quitting, I’ve joined forces with an amazing organization called HeARTspeak.

The art of photography can increase the adoption rate of rescue animals. Lisa Fishler, founder of HeARTspeak works hard to make this happen. “The vision of HeARTspeak is to unite the individual efforts of animal artists and animal rescues into collective action for social change,” says Fishler. “Pet photographers, working together can promote a deeper understanding of the voiceless through their art. We have the ability to change the reality of good animals needlessly dying through a medium that speaks volumes without words: art. The soft eyes of an animal can convey trust, love and desire for companionship; a camera can wordlessly translate that in a powerful way. The creativity and passion of an artist’s eye is a brilliant bridge for animals that have been underestimated or cast aside. A picture really can speak a thousand words directly and succinctly.”

At first, she was unsure how much interest there might be from other artists, so Fishler started a Facebook fan page to find out. Within weeks, a few hundred supporters had “liked” the page. Within a year, that number grew to more than 1,000, and 55 artists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand had been accepted as members.

“I truly believe there’s power in numbers and to have the strongest impact, we should work together,” says Fishler.

It was only natural that these talented and giving artists would reach out to other organizations offering help with fundraising. Enter The Unexpected Pit Bull calendar and Jyo Buyyala. “Since 2004, our unique and professionally photographed calendar has celebrated the pit bull love, energy and spirit,” says Buyyala. “This is a very exciting year for us since, for the first time, our calendar is collaborating with HeARTspeak.”

The Unexpected Pit Bull calendar reaches thousands of people and raises both money and awareness. It’s a perfect partnership. This year’s calendar will feature images from all across the world, including two from Culver City. I’m honored to be included with such talented and dedicated animal advocates.

“A compelling photograph can reach into the heart of a potential adopter and bring an animal one step closer to a long life with a loving family,” Fishler says. “That means an artist can be a life-changer and that is priceless.”

For more information on these two wonderful organizations, visit HeARTspeak.org and TheUnexpectedPitbull.com.

Lori Fusaro has been voted the best portrait photographer by FoxTV three years in a row. She lives in Culver City with her husband, four cats and dog. Contact: Lori@FusaroPhotography.com or FusaroPhotography.com.