Number of the Day

100%: The percentage increase in adoptions at a Texas Dachshund rescue after professional photographer Teresa Berg volunteered to take their adoption photos.

Male Anchor, sitting beside dog: We've heard that a dog is [humankind's] best friend, and Sam here is a good friend. [dog yawns] But who might be a homeless dog's best friend? Possibly the woman our Steve Hartman went to meet.

Steve Hartman, in voiceover, over images of Teresa Berg taking pictures of dogs: Teresa Berg of Dallas, Texas is a professional pet photographer with a major league pet peeve. [cut to Berg sitting at her computer showing online pet pix to Hartman; Berg is heard saying, "It could be so much more appealing…"] Her issue: Bad dog adoption photos. [They chat briefly about a bad picture.] Shelters and rescues post these pictures to try to entice people to adopt. [Berg comments briefly on another picture.] But Teresa says the effect is often just the opposite—that thousands of dogs are euthanized every year for no other reason than bad marketing.

Berg: I can't stand the thought of, you know, for want of a good picture, that a dog goes homeless. [She shrugs, choked up.]

Hartman, in voiceover, over images of Berg photographing more dogs: That's why, a few years ago, Teresa started working for homeless dogs, pro bono, if you will—volunteering to take their adoption photos. She worked almost exclusively with a Dachshund rescue group, run by Kathleen Coleman.

Coleman: We were getting adoptions, but it was just slow going.

Hartman, in voiceover, over images of Berg photographing more dogs, then over old and new photos: So, Teresa retook all the pictures of all the dogs Kathleen had posted online—brought 'em in focus and put 'em in pearls, got 'em out of jail and onto the couch, and replaced the Nick Nolte mug shots with Dog Fancy cover shots. After the retakes, every one of these dogs got adopted in record time. And today, adoptions at the rescue are up one hundred percent.

Coleman: Pictures make a difference. That dog looks like it could be my friend.

Hartman, over images taken by Berg of a Dachshund named Liberty: This was Liberty's picture. The day after it was posted, three people called to adopt her. [over video of Berg welcoming people to a class] Teresa is now determined to multiply her results by training volunteers from other rescues and shelters—and by persuading other professional photographers to lend their cameras to the cause.

Berg: If every photographer just took in one rescue group, we could save so many more dogs. We really could.

Hartman, in voiceover: She's talking tens of thousands of lives. Picture that.
More here.


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