adopters, dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, puppies

A Good Picture Can Be the Key

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or a picture can launch a love affair. Either way, a good picture can be the key to a dog finding a family.

Often people tell me that when they saw a picture of their current dog, it was love at first sight. Capturing a dog’s personality as well as its physical features in a picture can work magic. It’s why shelters and rescues love when photographers volunteer their time (and why it would be great if more did!). For dogs coming out of shelters in the south, that initial picture is often all a rescue has to go on when deciding which lives to save. Suffice it to say, pictures matter.

Both of my current foster dogs, Argus and Marley, are adorable, but you might not know that from my pictures.

My snaps didn’t do them justice, so I asked my friend Caitlin, who is an incredibly talented photographer, to do a photo shoot.

Caitlin confessed right up front that beyond one lost dog and her own animals, she’s never spent a lot of time photographing dogs. If only we all could do this well out of the gate…

It’s been tricky to get good pictures of Argus, partly because he’s a puppy so he’s always in motion and partly because he’s a little on the insecure side. Just like that friend who always cringes or blinks when you pull out a camera, he often looked awkward in my pictures. Honestly, though, he is awkward. He’s like that gangly teen who is easily embarrassed and always apologizing for bumping into things as he learns to navigate the world with a growing body and mind.

He also sticks out his tongue when anxious, and even the tip of it appears when he’s distracted or thinking hard. He’s also a little shy around new people. So, not an easy dog to photograph.

Luckily, he warmed up quickly to Caitlin because she’s such a gentle, encouraging soul.

Marley, on the other hand, is friendly as an experienced salesman, ready to be your best friend upon introduction. The challenge with her was to make her look not so frantic – it’s mostly the blue eye that makes her pictures look a little manic. She is so much cuter in person than in pictures.

Her gray muzzle and those mismatched eyes do not come across well on camera, but I promise you, she is adorable. She’s also devoted, often she was too close to photograph well. And she has very light brindle stripes in her coat that look like wrinkles or dirt, also limiting her photogenicness. If you’re looking to adopt an Instagram star she’s probably not your dog, on the other hand, maybe her odd look on camera might work for you. She’s definitely got the personality for it.

Thanks so much to Caitlin Garvey (you can find her on Instagram at caitlingarvey_photography – look her up, you’ll be glad you did) for lending your time and your talent (and your patience) to help us find families for these two special dogs.

If you’re interested in adopting Marley, contact the Humane Society of Shenandoah County, and if you’re interested in Argus, contact Operation Paws for Homes. For more information about either of them, feel free to reach out to me.

And while you’re here, please wish a happy birthday to Argus who turned one this month!

Until Each One Has a Home,


For information on me, my writing, and books, visit

If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.

If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs . Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at

7 thoughts on “A Good Picture Can Be the Key”

  1. Adorable… pictures do make the difference.  I love how you always use descriptions that we can understand…I immediately created an image of a clumsy teenager and an experienced sales person!  Well done… xo Side note… Tim reminded me that the pool opens Memorial day weekend.  Graduation is next weekend and Wayne travels north this Friday.  Looking at going to Atlanta for a buying trip the first week of June.  Can we take a look at the last weekend in June?  ( I try not to do back to back nights away from home) 😉  Maybe Sunday, Monday come home Tuesday?   Or Monday, Tuesday come home Wednesday? xoLisa


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