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A Promise Made: How I became a Hearts Speak Artist

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

In 2009 I was having a very rough year. After moving to Edmonton, I lived far from family and friends, was newly single, and felt rather lonely. So, I did what any animal lover would do. I contacted a local rescue group. Unfortunately, they had no adoption photos online of their cats, so I asked for the feline who needed a home the most. I was single, with no kids or other pets, so I wanted to adopt one who had been challenging to place. The adoption volunteer on the other end of the phone started to tear up as she knew the "puuurfect" match for me. Her name was Lisa-Lee, and she was a short-haired diluted calico. The rescue found her under an abandoned trailer with her kittens. The kittens had already been adopted, but Lisa-Lee was more challenging to place. She'd shown signs of fear around other cats and children and needed a home with just a single owner. At the time, they guestimated her age to be three years old. They had no photo of her, and I was eager with anticipation to finally lay eyes on my new furkid and share her with my family and friends.

I fell in love not only with Lisa-Lee, which was love at first MEOW!!! I also fell in love with capturing our journey together in that big city to share with family and friends who lived so far away. Family and friends LOVED hearing and seeing about our great adventures!

My Sweet Lisa-Lee 2013

However, in the fall, I realized I was not a giant metropolis sort of lady and moved to Medicine Hat. I was heading back to work after some time off, and I worried about Lisa-Lee being companionless while I was away during the day, but the rescue had mentioned her phobia of other cats. So, after consulting with my vet and receiving some training advice, I decided to adopt a young feline as her companion. So, I headed down to the SPCA, and after searching every room, I finally found Poly-ana. A sweet 1-year-old feline polydactyl calico. It was love at first paw, as she placed her mittened paw on my lips when I asked her if she wanted to go home with me. I immediately found her on the rescue's website, not the best photo, and shared my excitement about bringing home my new furkid!

Poly-ana's adoption photo (L) Poly-ana in my studio in 2019 (R)

Documenting our journey together, all those special little moments and the big ones, I fell in love with pet photography and knew I wanted to capture these unique moments for other pet parents.

As I fell in love with pet photography, I loved looking back on our journey together and realized our journey; while it started when I adopted them, one had no adoption photo, and the other had a poor-quality one. It had me pondering about rescues and adoption photos.

It was not long after my path crossed with Hearts Speak. A fantastic global organization that not only consists of amazing photographers that donate their time and skill to taking amazing adoption photos, allowing furkids to find their homes 60% faster, but they also help local rescues in other unique ways. Help from Hearts speak also includes artists who create pieces to raise awareness or for auction, equipment donations and education to rescue to take their own photos, and even tips on writing the best bio's ever for the furkids in their care and more. Hearts Speaks mission is to make sure no rescue pet goes unseen. This was something that resonated with me to my core.

As I started my journey with this incredible organization, I promised my beautiful furkids. I would keep volunteering my time and skill to this great organization, helping make sure other furkids find their happy tails as they did. To help ensure that no amazing and phenomenal furkids like them ever went unseen.

In Abbotsford, I was proud to work with several dog rescues, on a few occasions with the SPCA, photographing felines and canines as well as with local horse rescue. With every furkids photo captured, they left tiny pawprints on my heart. And with every email or social media post announcing their adoption, my furkids and I did a lively dance for them and shed tears of joy.

A few of the many happy tails I captured while in Abbotsford left big paw prints on my heart.

Me doing what I'm passionate about - helping ensure any rescue furkid never goes unseen. shout out of thanks to maggie may photography & lacrosse photography for the behind-the-scenes photos. If you'd like to see a video of me doing what I love, check out this video from Shaw Go! West Coast HERE

Sadly, Lisa-Lee crossed the Rainbow Bridge in August of 2017, but I promised her I would keep on helping other rescues like her find their happy tails. I have no doubt that she is watching from the rainbow bridge, making sure to help ensure I do just that.

Lisa-Lee is watching over things from the Rainbow Bridge I'm sure

Sadly, not long after we moved to the North Island, Covid-19 struck, so I've been unable to pursue my passion and keep my promise. Still, I hope 2022 will hold great things and hopefully allow me to connect with more local organizations that help great rescue pets in need. With my work with Hearts Speak and my Featured Charity Program - helping raise awareness and funds for local rescues. So if you know of or are a local rescue group or one that works up on the North End of the Island, please don't hesitate to give me a bark!

This week, be sure to watch my blog as I share some of my favorite rescue pet stories I've had the fortune to capture, more about Hearts Speak, and why I'm so passionate about my work with them as I celebrate my 6th Anniversary with them.

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