If the Grinch stole anything this winter, it was our hearts! On December 20th, Family Focused Photography partnered with Conway Area Humane Society to hold a professional dog photo shoot with the verdant villain himself! In the true spirit of the Grinch, the event was a heartwarming success that reminded us all how much kindness and joy exists in the world.
In the true nature of CAHS, community planning was key for this event. Nicole Butler of Sacopee Veterinary Clinic in Cornish, Maine was our most ardent supporter, coordinating vital outreach efforts necessary for the photo shoot to take place. She and Kellsey Libbey contacted Tayla Vittum at Family Focused Photography with the initial idea of a photo shoot. A true animal lover, Tayla responded with a resounding ‘Yes!’, immediately donating her time and photography skills. As always, CAHS Administrative Assistant Elizabeth Lord served as master events coordinator, putting the pieces in place for pups to get their howl-iday photos.
Saturday, December 20th was the big day! Additional community support made that big day possible. Tayla Vittum arrived as our dutiful photographer and Ben Jones stayed in character the Grinch. Volunteers Megan Vitters, Nicole, Christine, and Kellsey offered hands-on support. Percy Paws donated a goodie basket and $25 gift certificate for our raffle. Everyone who got their dog’s photo taken was automatically entered for a chance to win. As an extra special treat, Aly (Wrigley’s mom) generously donated presents for our canine visitors: two bags of treats and toys!
The system of puppy photo taking, orchestrated by Nicole, was simple and safe. Families showed up one at a time, providing pet information upon one-way entry. Their pet was then escorted to the Grinch. The Grinch would welcome each dog with his costume mask lowered, as not to frighten them. When each dog got comfortable, the dog would be repositioned, and the Grinch’s costume mask would slide back on. Elizabeth made a high-pitched noise behind the camera, encouraging dogs to cock their heads just slightly, making for the perfect pet photo. She also coordinated two FB live events, broadcasting the fun in real time!
Upon reflection, the CAHS team reflected that the event went perfectly, with over 20 families participating and $500 raised. Part of this success was the memories that were made. We had a bearded dragon show up for his own Grinch photo, and were delighted to see quite a few alumni (past adoptees/adopters of CAHS) as well! After the photo shoot, Family Focused Photography generously took photos of animals up for adoption – dogs, guinea pigs and a cat named Luna. Tayla mentioned she was glad to help raise money for CAHS, and hopes to turn this event into an annual fundraiser. Following her immense dedication to this event, Nicole Butler decided to join the CAHS events committee! If the good news could not get any better, a Christmas miracle ended the afternoon. The Grinch himself chose to adopt CAHS shelter puppy, Lunchbox! He and his fiance, Megan Vitters, took Lunchbox home that very day.
Smiling ear to ear, Elizabeth envisions a similar event happening next year. She imagines the event being open to everyone, once COVID restrictions and mask wearing becomes unnecessary. She dreams of greater youth involvement, goodie bags for all animal attendees, continued raffle items, and perhaps a Santa-Grinch combo shoot. She hopes to coordinate the event earlier to allow for participants to use their photos for holiday cards, if they wish.
Thank you so much to Family Focused Photography, Percy Paws and our outstanding volunteer support for making this event one to remember for years to come.
- Tayla Vittum is a self-taught photographer who loves creating happiness through affordable photography. If you are interested in professional photos, visit Family Focused Photography and contact her via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- If you are looking to support local businesses and treat your pets, visit Percy Paws today!
- If you love animals and appreciate events like this, please donate to CAHS. Your support allows us to support our neediest animal friends.