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June 06, 2023

ACCT Philly's monthly photo shoots help adoptable dogs find homes

The themed shoots, like June's Pups for Pride, bring valuable exposure to available pets, the animal shelter says

Pets ACCT Philly
ACCT Philly Photo Shoots Love Me Do/ACCT Philly

Each month, ACCT Philly volunteers showcase adoptable pets through unique photo shoots, including the latest Pride-themed pictures. Above, Miles is one of the dogs available to adopt.

Shelters across the region are desperate to find forever homes for pets in need, and the Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia has found a unique way to give potential adopters a glimpse of its many available dogs.

Each month, volunteers showcase ACCT Philly's adoptable pets through themed photo shoots, which allow the dogs (and other critters) to interact with people and other animals as they pose for the cameras. The latest photoshoot, which took place last weekend, was full of colorful balloons and rainbow bandanas in honor of Pride Month.

MORE: 'Happy go lucky': Abandoned dog saved from SEPTA tracks gets adopted by his rescuer

"I think the obvious benefit is, you know, you get these adorable dogs with these great backgrounds and different themes, and that kind of gets people interested because people are more likely to adopt a dog that has good photos online ... So having good photos really, really is critical," said Sarah Barnett, executive director of ACCT Philly. 

The shoots usually take place somewhere on the ACCT Philly grounds at 111 W. Hunting Park Ave., but even allowing the pups to get out of their cages for the day and hang out with other pets and people has proven beneficial for the animals' socialization, adoption appeal and mental health.

"Our goal is to get as many animals out alive as possible, and get them in good responsible homes or rescues and so to do that we need lots of lots of things to be going well," Barnett said. "One of the things that is really hard for us to do is dog introductions, like have dogs meet other dogs and get video of it. And having these days, once a month, where a large group of volunteers comes out, and is taking each dog out, we're getting a lot of dog meets done. And that is information that then goes to rescues and helps find the animals homes; it also helps get all those animals out period."

Barnett said there is "no doubt" that animals have been adopted or rescued due to the photo shoot series, which was launched in September 2019 by Kerri Sitrin of Philly-based Sitrin Consulting marketing firm. 

While shelter volunteers long have shared photos of pets online in hopes of finding them forever homes, Sitrin felt that a more creative approach could help the ACCT Philly dogs grab the attention of potential adopters. Sitrin, who previously worked as an events planner for Stephen Starr restaurants, put out a call for volunteers in her network and the project slowly came together.

"Now it's like a well oiled machine," Sitrin said of the photo shoots. "We have so many volunteers and literally, it takes a village. Like, there's ... a dozen people involved with every photo shoot, you know, there's the designer, the photographer, there are the dog walkers, there's someone holding name tags, so we know what dog it is, or someone calling out which dog you're getting next. It's a whole operation."

Over the past few years, more than 50 monthly photo shoots have taken place since, capturing the hearts of animal lovers as they are shared thousands of times on social media. Recent themes have included camping, the 1980s and a special holiday-themed shoot that featured pajamas donated by PajamaGram. The June photo shoot featured the work of Philadelphia-based Love Me Do photography and Papertini event design.

Some of Sitrin's favorite memories of running the shoots include the silly moments that come about when photographing dozens of pups with big personalities.

"We've been very lucky the dogs really are great dogs; there are tons of funny moments," Sitrin said. "Like the last photoshoot, a dog just lay down and decided they didn't want to get back up. Some of those blooper moments are the best moments."

Though the photo shoots have proven beneficial, ACCT Philly, like many open-intake shelters, is full and closed to non-emergency dog intake, according to the shelter's website. Along with adopting or rescuing pets, Sitrin and Barnett say animal lovers can help out by volunteering for the shelter or simply by sharing the ACCT Philly photo shoots online.

"There's a really big reward to helping these animals get out," Barnett said. "We really hope people will take a look at the photos and see it as a fun way to volunteer and get involved."

Take a peek at some of the Pride-themed puppy portraits below, and head to ACCT Philly's website to see more adoptable pets.

acct philly anakinLove Me Do/ACCT Philly

Anakin is a male mixed breed dog available for adoption.

acct philly bambamLove Me Do/ACCT Philly

Bam Bam is a female terrier/pit bull mix available for adoption.

acct philly drewLove Me Do/ACCT Philly

Drew is a mixed breed male dog available for adoption.

acct philly harlowLove Me Do/ACCT Philly

Harlow is a male mixed breed dog available for adoption.

acct philly lancasterLove Me Do/ACCT Philly

Lancaster is a male terrier-pit bull mix available for adoption.

acct philly thorLove Me Do/ACCT Philly

Thor is a male mixed breed dog available for adoption.

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