Thursday, May 26, 2011

Featured in the Kansas City Star - Helping Homeless Animals Put their Best Paws Forward - Kansas City Dog & Pet Photography

I am excited to announce I was featured in Monday's FYI section of The Kansas City Star. Columnist Jenee Osterheldt interviewed me and compiled a fabulous article that highlights what I do for the local rescue community. Scanned article and link to the online version are below.
http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/22/2894184/she-helps-homeless-animals-put.html

Jennifer Hague helps homeless animals put their best paws forward
By JENEÉ OSTERHELDT
The Kansas City Star

You’ve seen that ASPCA commercial. You know, the one with Sarah McLachlan singing “Angel” in the background while abused and abandoned animals flash across the screen.

I wince when it comes on. It’s torturous. Yes, it makes me want to donate. But I’ve never made it through a commercial long enough to want to take one of those beautiful fur babies home.

Those images tell us sad truths, but they don’t do those pets justice. We see them shaky and bewildered, but they are more than that. That’s the bad rap that shelter animals get. They become their pasts.

But what if those pets had portraits, beautifully shot pictures that really capture their spirits?

Enter Jennifer Hague. An Olathe graphic designer and communications specialist by day and a pet photographer every chance she gets.

For years, she has seen friends post pictures of adorable pets looking for a forever home on Facebook.

But there was always something that bothered her — the robo eyes thanks to the flash, hands holding the dog still, leashes coming from nowhere. No one can blame the shelters. They are running on limited resources and dealing with constant intake.

So Jennifer started volunteering her services. She was no pro, either. It was two years ago; she’d just gotten a schnauzer, Remmy, and bought a starter camera. She figured with her photo restoration skills, love for photography and dogs, she could make a difference.

She started doing portraits of the pets at Animal Haven and soon realized it was hard helping out.

“It was difficult seeing how many animals are dumped and neglected and abused.” says Hague, 29.

It was the heartbreak of shelter living that had kept Hague from volunteering sooner. Ever since she was a child, she has wanted to work with animals, but she knew she didn’t have the strength.

Somehow, she found it. Jennifer has helped 100 dogs get homes. She has learned her way around the camera.

Treats, love and squeaky sounds are her secret weapons. She does all she can to become the dog’s new best friend.

Every other week she shoots for KC Paws. And her work ( www.fixyourimages.com) in the local shelter community has brought her paying gigs and a bit of notoriety. Her portraits have been featured in a variety of pet magazines — Fido Friendly, Dog Fancy, Bella Dog and the like. But she says it’s not about that.

“I just felt led to do this,” she says of her work. “No longer was I going to be discouraged because it’s sad. Instead, I’ve learned to focus on the hope of finding dogs forever homes.”

Through her portraits, you don’t just see what an animal has been through. You see where it can go.

Jeneé Osterheldt’s column runs on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. To reach her, call 816-234-4380 or send email to josterheldt@kcstar.com

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