INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but for animals at the Indianapolis Humane society it’s all that and more.
The saying can mean the difference between homeless and home. That’s how Linda Metcalf views her job as one of two photographers who volunteer to capture the essence of these animals with their cameras.
Metcalf said the goal is to make their online adoption profiles as appealing as possible to the nearly 15,000 people the Humane Society’s website reaches every day.
Since retiring from Eli Lilly two years ago, Metcalf has volunteered her time and talents as a photographer, trekking to the shelter at 86th and Michigan every week for photo shoots with these homeless dogs.
“I look at it as the difference between a mugshot and a portrait. I really am looking to help them find the people that want to love on them and bring them home and start that next part of their lives where they’re cared for and a part of a family,” saiad Metcalf.
She brings with her a literal bag of tricks. From bows, hats and scarfs, to squeakers and treats, Metcalf is on a mission to make each pup look his or her best.
She and a dog handler work with around eight dogs in a day, styling the photo shoot to capture each animal’s personality. But the work doesn’t stop there – Metcalf then continues at home, meticulously editing each photo until she feels she’s gotten the perfect shot.
“I like to work with them until there is expression. If the picture online is a portrait that makes you go ‘Aww – I want to come meet this dog,’ then I’ve done what I set out to do,” she explains.
Metcalf’s attention to detail really does make a difference, says Shawna Sims, director of volunteer services at the Humane Society.
“The better the picture is, the more people will share it and hopefully reach the right person that’s going to click with that animal,” said Sims.
She added that puppies are usually the first to be adopted, but for older dogs, a fancy photo shoot can make all the difference.
“Those older animals, animals with concerns, these photos work magic.”
As for Calista, the beautiful white dog profiled in our story, these glamour shots did the trick. The Humane Society reports she has been adopted.