It’s fall so that means it’s fundraiser calendar time! From spring to summer I shoot the photos for the Kewanee Animal Shelter’s calendar. This is my 4th calendar that I have done by myself and the 5th one that I’ve worked on. When Tara Baze of Marquis Pet grooming and I got the calendar started again we decided we would ask people to sponsor their pets for spots in the calendar to help cover printing costs. In the past I think the calendar featured shelter pets that were awaiting adoption. While this is a great idea, the shelter has to cover the entire calendar printing costs, which cuts into fundraiser profits--so less money goes to helping the animals. Selling off months ensures more money goes toward the shelter. Now being in the shelter’s calendar is kind of like being in an exclusive club. It can be disappointing to those who don’t get a spot but thrilling for those who do! It’s gotten popular enough that we may have to consider doing a lottery to decide who gets a spot and I’m really proud of that.
Creating a calendar can be a lot of work. B & B Printing in Kewanee has helped me improve my calendar production skills these past 4 years. I can do all the layout, but B&B is nice enough to touch up the cover typesetting, create a great preview back cover design and a calendar statement for the inside. They make our calendar look top notch!
I’m really happy to work on this project every year. I get to meet some great people and awesome pets who are always fun to work with.
The cover was really special this year for me and for the shelter’s supporters and volunteers. Kellie had said she wanted to buy a spot in the calendar for long time shelter resident, Suede. I said, “Let’s put her on the cover.” She’s perfect for the cover. All the past covers have been shelter alumni but I had never used an actual shelter resident. Suede has been at the shelter for 13 or so years and she has become a familiar face to all the volunteers, employees and visitors. It’s sad that she has spent nearly her whole life in the shelter. On the bright side, because of fundraising like this calendar, we have a shelter where she can live out her life.
Max Kursock (January).
Max is a big goofball and doesn’t like to sit still for much. He’s a sweet boy and this is his 2nd calendar appearance . His mom, Sandy, is a volunteer at the shelter and board member. I like Max. He is a little tough to photograph but we have fun doing it. I went with this photo because I thought Max looks a little stoic and the black & white has a little more of a winter feel. My goal is to take the photos during the season for each month. Sometimes I use indoor shots for the winter photos but not this year.
Gin Gin “Buggy” Morey (February)
When Gin Gin’s mom contacted me about a spot in the calendar I was excited. Gin Gin was a special needs girl who had spent some time at the shelter and looked like she could be a long-term resident or lifer there. But she got adopted and I remember how happy everyone was when that happened. I was just getting involved with the shelter when she got adopted and I got a text from Kellie with a picture of Gin Gin and a couple of young boys saying that she got adopted. That felt good because it’s easy to adopt a puppy or a dog without medical issues but getting one adopted with special needs can be tough. It was pretty hot when we did her photos but she did great.
Coco Collinson (March)
Coco was adopted from the HCHS-K 10+ years ago and her spot in the calendar was a surprise gift to her owners. We had to be a little sneaky and maybe fib a bit but we got her into the calendar. I hope her owners are surprised.
Eddie and Cosmo Whippie (April)
Eddie.…Gosh, I love that name for a dog and I felt like he was an Eddie. Eddie is older--about 10--if memory serves me, and he is such a little ham for the camera. His sister Cosmo wasn’t going to be out done though and had her own moments in front of the camera. They did great together and even managed to give me a great pose at the end.
Timber & Riley Follis (May)
What a couple of clowns.…Should I stop there? LOL. No, they are great! Riley is a little older but I can’t quite remember how old. I think he’s close to 10, maybe a little older. He doesn’t act like it at all! He goes 100 mph but he stopped every few minutes to give me a good shot of him. His brother, Riley, is a rescue also, from the Great Pyrenees Rescue in Bishop Hill. Riley’s mom Carlin told me that when they took him in as a foster they had no intention of becoming a 2-dog family but Riley just fit in so well they had to keep him. These 2 really like to play with each other and I love it because my dogs don’t play together outside much. So for me, it’s great entertainment.
Stella & Zoey Hehlke (June)
Stella & Zoey are from Bettendorf. Their mom was looking for shelters and came across the HCHS-K Facebook page and saw the post for the calendar. Kellie thought it sounded fun. Since it was for a good cause she got a spot for her dogs. Stella, the girl on the left, was only about 6 months old when the photo was taken and her sister Zoey is about 11 (I’m going off memory so I could be wrong). The funny thing is their mom thought Zoey would be pretty calm and easy while Stella might be a little tougher. She was wrong. Stella was a star in front of the camera and Zoey was a little more shy and wanted to go out into the woods and check out the burrs.… She found them. I was worried I might not get a photo of both of them together that was calendar worthy so I was so happy when I got this photo.
Chance Busboom (July)
Chance is a big boy and a little shy. He was adopted from the shelter a few years ago. He came sporting an American flag bandana so it seemed fitting for him to represent July.
Frankie Moon (August)
Frankie is also a shelter Alumni and was adopted a couple years ago. I work with Frankie’s dad and I knew they had a pool so I thought, “Great. We’ll have a water shot for summer”. It worked out perfectly. I love the look he’s giving. If you didn’t know any better you might think this pose was on purpose. At the end of the shoot he jumped in to cool off. Frankie was a lot of fun.
Patches Richards (September)
Patches is a pretty lucky dog. His dad, Marty really loves his dogs. I met Marty earlier this year at an event for P.I.N.K. and his love for his dogs is apparent. I really wanted to blow this shoot out of the water. I felt Marty deserved it. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get what I wanted. Marty had 2 dogs for the calendar, Patches and Nina, but I couldn’t get a good shot with the two of them together. They were very excited about the whole situation and with the hot weather I didn’t want to over work them. Hopefully I will get another chance at capturing these 2 beautiful dogs.
Cody William (October)
OMG! What else can I say? Cody is a senior citizen who was set to be euthanized 10 + years ago. Cody won the award for quickest photo shoot this year. He laid down and gave me a great big smile and we were done. This is my favorite photo from this year’s calendar. In fact, it is probably in the top 5 all-time images of mine. Thank you, Cody.
Ninja & Jack Foley (November)
Ninja didn’t seem to want his photo taken that day and Jack seems like he probably loves everyone. Jack was recovering from some pretty major surgery but you couldn’t tell. I had a difficult time getting a shot of these two together but we did finally get one. Ninja & Jack are nephews of Cody Williams. Cody’s mom got herself a spot in the calendar and one for her daughter; it’s nice to see that Jacque’s love of animals was passed down.
Stryker Pronschinske (December)
Stryker loves to chase his tennis ball but I didn’t get a shot of him catching it that was good enough for the calendar. One funny shot I did get: the ball bounced off his nose and hit my camera lens. It was one of the moments that would be hard to purposely duplicate.
Thank you to everyone who purchased a month for their pet and to anyone who buys a calendar. All of the money made from the calendar sales goes directly to help care for the dogs and cats who are still waiting for homes.