What is a Photo Worth?

HeARTs Speak Some of the most memorable moments of our lives decorate our spaces in the form of photographs. They hang unassumingly amongst souvenirs, fridge magnets, and trinkets; tiny glimpses into windows of happiness. We grow so use to their presence, yet every time they catch our eye we are instantly flooded with emotion.

HeARTs Speak artists believe every homeless pet deserves a chance at being front and center on the family photo wall. Or occupying two-thirds of your smartphone memory. In fact, we hope you always have difficulty downloading that software upgrade because it would mean deleting snaps of your beloved rescue pet to make space.

We’re working in our communities every day to create unforgettable first impressions that transport the portrait of a hopeful pet from an online adoption bio, to your desk at work.

So what is a photo truly worth? Put quite simply: everything.

Humans have about 7 seconds to make a great first impression in person, and that first impression could land you a new job, make or break a date, or get you out of a speeding ticket. Rescue pets have even less than 7 seconds to grasp the heart of an adopter who is scrolling through adoptable pet listings, but significantly more at stake. A powerful connection could save their life and find them the home they’ve waited so patiently for.

The animals featured here have first-hand experience with the life-changing power of a photo, and a HeARTs Speak artist to thank for their happily ever after.


Before finding their way to Doggie Protective Services, the four puppies pictured here were malnourished, mangey, and a day away from euthanasia. They were lovingly nursed back to health and the day after HeARTs Speak member, Avishai Avivi, captured this portrait, two of the puppies were adopted. The following adoption day, the remaining two puppies found their forever homes. In each case, the adopter cited the image as their inspiration for visiting and eventually adopting their new puppy.



Valerie Bruder captured this beautiful portrait of Wilbur, and his adopter says:

“Taking the time to get a professional photo of an adoptable dog versus a regular picture really makes a difference. The second I looked into his eyes, I knew we’d be PERFECT. When Wilbur walked into my home and gave me a kiss, my heart melted and has never been the same since.”








Washburn struck gold thanks to his portraits by HeARTs Speak member, Karen Weiler. His adopter contacted Karen with this touching note:

“My heart skipped a beat at seeing his adoptable photo.

We originally saw his picture on the Toronto Animal Services site when we were on our way to an adoption event, and we haven’t looked back since he came into our lives.

I want to thank you for taking the time to give exposure to dogs like our little Wash. Without people like you these special animals would have a harder time finding their forever homes.”


Roxy’s 2-year home search with AFEW came to an end a month ago when a couple saw her portrait, taken by HeARTs Speak member, Tom Myers. After a long journey, Roxy is now living it up in a loving home, and her new family reports she is already the best thing that has ever happened to them.




Octavius waited patiently at Pennsylvania SPCA for a long while before an adopter discovered this photo online. It was taken by HeARTs Speak member, Aimee Davis. They printed out the picture, brought it in and said, “We want this dog. This is the dog for us.” They met him, loved him, adopted him and the rest, as they say, is history!










If you believe more animals deserve a lifesaving first impression, join our mission to Shine A Light on Shelter Pets. With your help, we can empower more animals to connect with an adopter through a photograph and find the home of their dreams.

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HeARTs Speak

HeARTs Speak

HeARTs Speak's goal is to increase the visibility of shelter pets by uniting creativity and advocacy. Through programs based in partnership, training, resource-sharing, and innovation they are proud to be the only organization of their kind uniquely focused on the portrayal and marketing of animal services and pet adoption. A tiny but mighty organization with over a decade of work under their belt, they're passionate about ensuring that no animals go unseen, and that creative marketing for shelters and rescues is fast, easy, and fun.