Dog photos make emotional impact

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MANATEE CO., Fla. - There appears to be a growing trend at dog shelters around the nation, where photographers are using their talent to help save K-9 lives.

A volunteer program, started by a local woman, uses photography to find dogs homes.

“'Picture Them Adopted' is basically a group of volunteers who take pictures of the animals at Manatee County Animal Services,” says Caryn Hodge, the founder of Picture Them Adopted.

Nearly 2 years ago, Caryn Hodge, was inspired to start, Picture Them Adopted. The program uses photography to find families for unwanted dogs. She wanted to capture their real personalities. Her hope; that people will see the joy these dogs have and feel a connection with them.

“When you see an animal that's smiling, having fun, and has a little bandana on, or some sunglasses, that looks like a fun animal that i would like to have as a family pet,” says Hodge.

Caryn got together a handful of photographers and dog handlers who share her same passion. Linda Buttstead and Pam Fortenberry volunteer every week, by taking the dogs to a small area where they can get fresh air and play. They spend nearly 7 hours of their day photographing sometimes more than a dozen dogs.

“These are dogs that nobody cared about. Pam starts playing with the dog and that's when I really start taking pictures because she reacts so amazingly with the dogs,” says Buttstead, a volunteer photographer.

“You fall in love with each and everyone one of them, and every one is so giving and loving,” says Fortenberry, a volunteer dog handler.

The happy photos can be found all over the web. Linda posts her interactive pictures on her Facebook page with a unique biography about each dog. They are also posted on the, Picture Them Adopted, Facebook page and website and Manatee County's website.

These photos are saving abused dogs, like Michelle, who was found through the pictures, by her now foster family and is healthy and ready to find a forever home.

“Michelle was a dog that was confiscated because she was being abused. Her mammary glands were all infected and she was brought into animal services,” says Hodge.

Hundreds of homeless dogs, like Michelle, are just looking for love.

Picture Them Adopted is making a difference by giving dogs the chance to be adopted and showing people just how lovable they really are.