What We HeART: September

HeARTs Speak Blog

Happy first day of Autumn! It’s that most magical time of year — time to drag your beloved scarves out of hiding, and dust off your favorite pair of boots for a romp in the leaves with your furry friends. Here’s what we’re excited about as we welcome this new season (aside from pumpkin spice everything!).


HeARTs Speak BlogSeniors for Seniors

We’re head over heels for HeARTs Speak member Ana Deshpande’s beautiful portrait project that features senior animals awaiting adoption, posing with high school seniors! The project not only serves as an adoption marketing tool but as a celebration of all that theses subjects have to offer one another: “I realized that HS Seniors are at a turning point in their lives and will soon be making their own decisions. I hope that one day they will choose to adopt a senior pet who is also at a turning point in its life,” shared Ana.

Look for more info on Ana’s heartwarming project in an upcoming HeARTs Speak blog.


Creativity for Good and Art in Unexpected Places

What happens when a crowdfunded advertising initiative meets the magic of rescue cats? A takeover of the London underground that is as educational and refreshing as it is cute! All the cats pictured in the re-imagined ad spaces were in need of a home and provided a unique opportunity for adoption exposure while also offering passengers a chance to smile on the subway — a pleasant change of pace for all involved!


Rethinking the Stories we Tell

HeARTs Speak BlogThis recent article in Animal Sheltering Magazine got us thinking: What control do we, as animal welfare staff and volunteers, have over the messaging that the public consumes about the work we do? The answer: More control than we might assume. As the experts, we happily have the power to shape the perception our community has about our work, and about shelter animals in general. It’s helpful to remember to let the public share in our celebrations, our joy, and the truly compassionate work that’s happening behind the scenes and not let negativity dominate the headlines we create. It’s likely that if we can show our softer, sometimes funnier and certainly more human side, that we’ll see more buy-in from folks who may have been afraid to engage with us in the past.


Illustrated Food for the Soul

We believe you’re never too old for gorgeous illustrations and a heartfelt message about self-care, so this post from BrainPickings about a book called The Heart and the Bottle really hit home. Whether you’re an animal welfare advocate, volunteer or paid staff member, the work that you do can be difficult. Despite the many amazing things that may happen on a day-to-day basis, there are still moments of sadness, anger, and grief that can shake the foundation on which we’re working. Learning to navigate and properly deal with those difficult moments and emotions will help us to better serve the animals for whom we care so dearly. And if we can learn a lesson and look at beautiful pictures in the process —well, we call that a good day!

BONUS! There’s an app version of this sweet story!


Cat Photography Tips and Tricks
HeARTs Speak Blog Cat

Thanks so some amazing and oh-so-helpful tips from HeARTs Speak member Lindsi Jones, your shelter cats will be looking like supermodels in no time. Our favorite tidbit from this blog: “Use long feathers, like those of a pheasant or peacock, to get your feline muse’s attention towards the camera. Tap them lightly with the feather on the ear or whisker for almost instantaneous movement.” Add a feather to the photo toolkit, stat!


Art and Activism

HeARTs Speak BlogAfter breed-specific legislation (a law that regulates pets on the basis of breed or looks, rather than on behavior or incident) was introduced in all nine of Montreal’s boroughs, the SPCA of Montreal immediately mobilized to provide science and fact-based information to combat what is widely regarded as terribly misguided policy.

Now, they’ve joined forces with a Montreal-based artist Jean Labourdette to help reinforce their message through art. Their goal: To help lawmakers and members of the public understand that every dog is an individual and that breed-specific legislation threatens to separate families from beloved pets, making the job of animal shelters needlessly more difficult. We love that art can play this powerful role for them, though we hate that they’re dealing with such a travesty in the first place.

(Photo: bit.ly/2deMKrL)


‘What We HeART’ is a monthly curated collection of awesome and inspiring things, ideas, and happenings from the world of animal welfare.

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Caitlin Quinn

Caitlin Quinn

Caitlin is passionate about working with shelters and rescues to reimagine the way they tell their stories and connect with new audiences. She has served in the animal welfare field since 2008 and early on had the honor of working closely with diverse organizations across the U.S. to maximize resources, redesign policies, and find life-changing marketing solutions. In 2015, she got her MPA with a concentration in nonprofit management and in 2021, she began teaching marketing + communications for the University of Florida Master of Veterinary Science, Concentration in Shelter Medicine program. She lives in NY with a petite brindle pit bull named Sally who owns her heart.