The idea for HeARTs Speak was inspired by the most special dog I’ve ever known, Ignatius Bodhi Sattva, aka., Iggy. He was the reason why I became a pet photographer and why I do everything I continue to do today. The disparity between the first impression some had when they saw my 90 lb., boy, and the kind, sweet, comedic, and respectful dog he actually was, was something I found best communicated through photographs.
The experience of adopting Iggy led me to discover the magnitude of the problems facing homeless animals. Dogs and cats just like him were waiting for families across the country, yet the number that ultimately found homes was disproportionate to those that did not. This realization motivated me to begin using my camera to help make life-saving connections for animals in shelters and rescues in my local community.
I found the exorbitant number of animals still waiting for their lucky break across the country to be overwhelming, and was determined to do more, yet, I was just one person. HeARTs Speak was born from my desire to connect with others and collectively tackle the problem of animal homelessness. What started as a grassroots effort quickly grew to become a united community of passionate artists who, like myself, were touched deeply by a shelter animal and moved to use their skills to help others. It was with this in mind that HeARTs Speak’s flagship program: Artists Helping Animals was born.
What was inspired by the mutual love between me and my dog Iggy, has blossomed into a love army, now over 600 strong, spanning almost every state in the nation, over 20 countries, and is literally transforming the image of shelter pets across the globe. Today, all HeARTs Speak programs work with and help shelters and rescues to change how the world sees homeless pets.
On August 2, 2018, my biggest fear was realized when Iggy passed away. He came to me at just 12 weeks, and the bond we developed over the next 13 years was unlike any I’ve ever experienced. Despite the extreme sadness and pain, I am eternally grateful to have been blessed with being on the receiving end of his fiercely loyal dedication and love. I was his person, and he my dog, and because of him I believe the world is a kinder place for animals. It is my sincere hope that Iggy’s legacy lives on through HeARTs Speak programs, as they are designed to ensure all the Iggy’s in the world have their best chance at their very own happily ever after.
Lisa Prince Fishler
Founder & Executive Director