Harford Magazine - Page 41 - Gaining Exposure - from page 39

Harford Magazine
- Page 41
Gaining Exposure - from page 39

with the public.

 

“You want to show their personalities so that they’re not just lumps of clay,” she said. “Some are so shy they give you this ‘alligator’ pose where they’re lying in the litter box and all you can see are their eyes and ears. Then my colleagues try to engage them with toys, or bits of crinkly paper, and I aim my camera and go, ‘Yes!’ ”

 

Other times, she’ll wait by a window as a cat peers out the glass.

 

“If people walk by at just the right moment, you can catch the big wide pupils in the eyes of the cats as they watch them.”

 

She has photographed more exotic adoptees as well, like mice and hamsters.

 

“I’ve done some ferrets, though one of them peed on me,” Murray says. “And I just did my first rat, which is OK as long as it’s not in my house.”

 

Some animals are gussied up to meet their online public. Like Gus, a pit bull mix who wore a taco costume for Halloween—an outfit for which “he was particularly tolerant,” says Jessica Simmons. The shelter’s foster rescue and volunteer manager, Simmons, of Kingsville, works to beautify her clients for the cameras.

 

“We posed a chihuahua in a Gwen Stefani onesie,” she says. “There was a black guinea pig named Gummy Bear, with incredibly long, silky hair, so I put it up in ponytails. She was really gracious about it.”

 

More often, what resonates with would-be pet owners is the animal’s own persona.

 

“We’ll take dogs offsite to Jerusalem Mill [in Gunpowder Falls State Park] and photograph them swimming, playing in the flowers and acting in real-life situations,” says Simmons. “Sometimes you catch them doing ‘the big cheese,’ with a wide, stupid grin on their faces. Or leaping in midair, trying to