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Gary Lura, Pet Rescuer

Gary LuraOne Picture Saves a Life enthusiast Gary Lura got involved in pet rescue shortly after his family’s adopted dog of 12 years passed away. It was in her late senior years that Gary realized the family had few photos of their beloved pet, so he took action by reaching for a digital point-and-shoot camera and started taking photos. After the passing of this long time friend, Gary and his wife started volunteering and fostering dogs with the organization they had adopted her (and pair of kittens) from: Adopt-A-Pet of Fargo/Moorhead (ND/MN).

This is when Gary realized how much he enjoyed volunteering as well as the photography aspect of the work. Gary tells us:

“Eventually I picked up a used DSLR and started to actively learn more about photography and advance my skills. Most of the photography I did was for Adopt-A-Pet, photographing pets we had in the program and doing photo fundraisers. A couple of years ago, my wife helped start a local cat shelter, Cats Cradle Shelter (Fargo, ND), so I started doing photos there as well. Today, I still volunteer with Adopt-A-Pet and am a member of their board, and continue to volunteer at Cats Cradle as a photographer.

Cats Cradle Shelter has developed a very large following on Facebook (over 13,000 followers, the vast majority outside of our Fargo/Moorhead area) and the photos I take for them and post on their Facebook page gets the cats (and shelter) a ton of exposure. The photos have definitely brought in potential adopters that were attracted to a particular cat via their photo. People have driven from other communities across North Dakota and even driven from the Twin Cities (four hours away) to meet cats whose pictures ‘spoke’ to them.

We receive many positive comments about the photos online. But I’ve learned the benefit of good photos isn’t just limited to helping a pet get adopted. The photos get the organization greater exposure as fans share them with their friends. They are also used in the shelter’s literature, thank you cards, and at fundraisers or local events where the shelter has set up a booth to promote the shelter and adoption to others. For Adopt-A-Pet, we also leverage photography for an annual pet photo fundraiser.”

Although Gary has been unable to attend a One Picture Saves a Life Workshop, he has taken advantage of the online resources available on our website. Gary states:

“I heard of One Picture Saves a Life via Petfinder and immediately got drawn in and watched all the videos. It seems so obvious that a good photo will only increase a pet’s chances of getting adopted, yet when you look around at photos of adoptable pets, many times the photos don’t present the pets as well as they could. That’s why I think One Picture Saves a Life is such a great program and doing great things. In today’s world, a person looking for a pet is going to turn to searching online first. That first impression they get from viewing a pet has to be a good one.

The better the photo and description, the greater chance that pet has for being adopted. One Picture Saves a Life opens up opportunities for volunteers interested in photography and making a difference at their local rescue organization or shelter. It provides them the tools, knowledge, and confidence to bring out the best in an adoptable pet through photography, as well as grooming to prep the pet to look its best. The work of One Picture Saves a Life is going to save more adoptable pets, period. Regardless of skill level behind the camera, I think there is something to learn for everyone based on the videos I’ve seen.”

Thank you Gary for all of your hard work saving lives through positive photography! Anyone who is inspired by Gary’s efforts can connect with their local shelter here and train online with our Learning Videos. Remember, One Picture Saves a Life!