The beach communities love their animals, and San Diego Humane Society’s annual giving and corporate partnership manager, Bobbie Barnes, sees this year’s photo fundraiser as a chance for local pet owners to brag about their furry, feathered and scaled friends.
“As pet-lovers, we tend to take a lot of photos of our animals,” said Barnes. “This fundraiser is a great way for us to reach out to the community and have people share photos and stories of their beloved pets with us.”
For the past 25 years, the San Diego Humane Society photo fundraiser has not only helped raise money for homeless animals, but has also served as a way for the community to come together, get involved with the shelter and receive information on the nonprofit’s work. Participants go online, submit a photo of their pet with a donation, and the shelter will select photos to be featured in their annual calendar. This year, the event has already raised more than $41,000. The goal is to raise $100,000.
But, for Humane Society employees, there’s a more nostalgic factor that comes with each bio submitted alongside a photo.
“Part of the entry is about giving people the option to tell us their pet’s story and it’s really great to read about how our past adopters found their pet,” said Dariel Walker, communications specialist for San Diego Humane Society. “People come into our shelter every day to adopt animals and a lot of times we never hear from them again.
“Our staff really loves the animals here and we get to know them so well, so I think that’s something fun about the calendar. Whether it’s an animal adopted from us or another shelter, it’s great to hear people’s stories of how this pet became a real part of their family.”
Last year, there were more than 900 photo submissions, and for the 2017 calendar there were more than 1,100. While the majority of the photos are of dogs and cats dressed in hats and sunglasses riding sidecars and bicycles, there are handfuls of less-traditional pets, such as Hortense the chicken and Jackie the donkey. Previous calendars have also featured “odd couples” like Pete “the wonder cat” riding a family horse, along with a tortoise and his long-time rabbit pal.
“I do spend a lot of time in the evenings after work combing through the photos, just to take a look at some of the entries,” said Barnes. “Every year, I’m equally tickled by these photos and the stories of these animals. These owners are giving us updates on the ways these animals have changed their lives and it’s super impactful and inspiring.”
The fundraiser ends Friday, Aug. 31 and photos can be submitted at gogophotocontest.com/sdhumane2019.
Winners will be awarded tickets to San Diego Humane Society’s annual gala, the Fur Ball, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 6. Calendars will be available for purchase by late October or early November through the SD Humane Society website, sdhumane.org.