As artists of many mediums volunteering our work to animal shelters across the globe, we are exposed to a world that gives us the opportunity to feel thankful every day — for the countless adoptable pets we meet, hardworking shelter staff and volunteers, and a quality paintbrush that just feels ‘right’ in your hand.
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, what better time to collect and share all the special things we’re thankful for!
“I am thankful to be part of this HeARTs Speak community based on love and giving.” — Rita Earl, CA
“I am so thankful for those that take a moment to get to know the overlooked animals — the cats with a sassy attitude or the dogs who need a little extra training. I get so attached to these fur babies as they are waiting the longest, so I see them the most, and it brings me to tears each time I watch someone meet one of these pets and make a genuine, heartfelt connection with them. That’s when I know those animals have found their family.” — Sara McCormick, NC
“I am thankful for family, cherished friends, HeARTs Speak, good books, good coffee, music, laughter, comfortable shoes, beautiful light, a cozy nest, Netflix streaming, a house full of fur, and animal advocates. — Jill Flynn, AZ
“I’m thankful for good health, amazing family, strong friendships, and books! I’m grateful for new opportunities, for the power of collaboration, and to have joined a team of some of the most selfless, creative, generous and welcoming people I’ve ever met in my life (lookin’ at you HeARTs Speak team!). And I’m thankful that this amazing work allows me to continue to interact with and learn from shelters across the country who are making a difference not only in their own communities but to the wider world of animal welfare.” — Caitlin Quinn, HeARTs Speak’s Director of Operations
“I am hugely thankful for the staff who directly care for the animals in shelters. The kennel techs who clean up after, feed, and tend to the basic needs of homeless pets in municipal facilities at all hours of the day. I’ve been that person and, upon returning home from our last Perfect Exposure Project of 2015, I am reminded of just how grueling, emotionally challenging, and unpredictable that job can be. I am thankful for those who do it.” — Hannah Pearman, HeARTs Speak’s Director of Communications
“I am thankful for and amazed by the remarkable people that I have met through my involvement in HeARTs Speak. What an incredible journey! I can’t wait to see where it goes next!” — Valerie Bruder, NJ
“I’m so thankful for this group and all the hard work Lisa and the entire staff do every single day! Having been “behind the scenes” for a few years now, I’m just amazed at the energy, enthusiasm, and passion they have! So proud to be a part of this organization. — Jenny Froh, TX
“I’m thankful for the networking, support, advice, inspiration, and connections from HeARTs Speak! I’m thankful for my job that gives me the opportunity to photograph so many different aspects of animal rescue. I’m thankful for my dog Escher who reminds me everyday why I do what I do, and who shows me that even the dogs rescued from the worst situations can recover. I’m thankful for my amazing fiancee who supports my crazy work schedule, doesn’t care if I spend even more time on volunteer shoots, and sometimes even helps me on those shoots!” — Stacey Axelrod, NY
“I’m thankful for everyone else involved in getting an animal out of a ‘last chance scenario’ (whatever that may be at the time) and into a loving home. Whether it’s shelter staff, vets, foster homes, transporters, networkers, photographers, writers, etc. All these fellow advocates help me in my job and together we can make miracles happen. No one person can do it all, and I’m grateful, thankful, and blessed that I have a teeny bit of involvement in the lives of SO many pets that are now living happier lives with families that love and want them.” — Jenn Wilson, Ontario
“I’m thankful for fosters! These wonderful, selfless people are the lifeblood of so many rescues and shelters across the nation. They’re a blessing to the homeless animals who need out of the shelter for all kinds of various reasons and without them, so many more would be lost.” — Aimee Davis, PA
“I’m thankful for my husbands gift of my first camera many years ago and his indulgence in my continued photography passion that has grown to include helping two shelters with my photography. I am thankful for Jill Flynn who teaches PPSOP’s Pet Photography class, a class that I took and learned so much that I took it a second time! Her encouragement is what gave me the courage to volunteer at the animal shelter. I am thankful for this huge community of gifted and caring artists that share their talent and creativity with all of us on a daily basis making it possible to continue growing as an artist and a photographer. And I feel blessed that this passion has shown my children how even the smallest act of kindness can have a huge impact on many lives especially furry ones.” — Penny Sesher, MO
“I am thankful for Facebook and networking. If it had not been for The Boxer Gang Facebook page, my boy Zeus would already be gone. Because I was willing to share his Glioma brain tumor story and his journey with the Facebook fans, some kind people reached out and shared a protocol that worked. Zeus is tumor-free as of September 8th.” — Jeffrey Feole, TX
“I’m thankful for my lovely furry boy Kovack and that he chose me in 2005 to be his guardian. Now even from heaven he is making me proud with his photographs overseas. I’m also thankful to be part of the lovely group of talented and caring people at HeARTs Speak!” — Kristina Zambrano, Venezuela
“I am thankful for my HeARTs Speak family without whom HeARTs Speak just would not be. Every one of them has played an instrumental role in our development. I am also thankful for the extended HeARTs Speak family, which is made up of all of our artist members, as they are creating positive change for animals, across the globe, “together!” — Lisa Prince-Fishler, Founder & Executive Director
We’d love to know: what are you thankful for?