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Stephen Chopp, Shelter Volunteer

Stephen Chopp & RockyOne Picture Saves a Life friend Stephen Chopp has been volunteering at L.A. County Animal Care and Control in Lancaster, CA since August, 2011. He comes from a family of animal lovers, who over the years have had “dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, mice, gerbils, fish, lizards, and frogs”. When he found out the company he works for would allow him a few hours each week to volunteer at the organization of his choice, he naturally chose his local county shelter. He also volunteers on weekends and at off-site adoption events.

Stephen volunteers all over the shelter in many different capacities, including photography, but after attending the One Picture Saves a Life workshop in Baldwin Park, CA he has taken a bigger interest in taking positive adoption photos to save lives. Stephen tells us:

“I enjoyed the seminar immensely. I hadn’t thought of it as a marketing effort before. I had known, but not really realized the effect of the reputation shelters often have that leads to unwillingness for the public to visit and adopt a pet.

Even though I consider myself an advanced amateur, I found the One Picture Saves a Life seminar to be very helpful and jam-packed with good ideas and suggestions. It provided a very good guide through the myriad of controls and settings, which can be daunting to wade through successfully.   

I also had not known about tearless dog wipes, but will be keeping some on hand during my photo routine for the dogs with eye and face ‘goobers’.

The day after the workshop, I photographed several bully breeds who were being evaluated. I concentrated on headshots.  I have attached a photo of Bonnie, who’s has been adopted!”

When asked for his most memorable photography related success story, Stephen told us about a family who drove 5 hours from San Jose, CA with their dog Tiramisu to meet a Shih Tzu he had photographed named Darius. Now Truffles, he is a valued member of the Nugent family and best friends with Tiramisu!

Stephen loves to volunteer and recommends it to others frequently:

“All in all, I find volunteering to be very rewarding. I am constantly impressed by the ceaselessly dedicated and hard working volunteers I’m privileged to be a part of, and equally impressed by the hard working and dedicated shelter staff who day in and day out attend to the needs of the animals in their care. I would encourage anyone who loves animals and would like to make a difference to contact their local shelter and sign-up to be a volunteer and become a part of this wonderful, global, family, dedicated to solving the problem of homeless pets.  Thank you to One Picture Saves A Life for providing this seminar and making a difference.

I need to give a shout out to some of my wonderful fellow volunteers! Danielle McCabe Ruthven is our most prolific and wonderful photographer.  Her initial and continued advice on animal handling, photography, and shelter knowledge has been invaluable and has resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of adoptions.  I know of one case where a couple drove up from Costa Mesa to adopt a dog Danielle had photographed.  Heather Johnson, Jolene Grimes, and Laurie Vogels are our wonderful groomers who make amazing transformations of our dirty, scared dogs to cute, wiggly, super huggable, fur-babies.  It is almost like magic. Finally, Sheryl Wall Mistretta provides benevolent and consistent leadership and guidance in all areas of volunteer work from organizing and setting up an off-site adoption to bathing dogs.”

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