Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Ebony and Ginger Project, No. 1

As the first edition of this project, I have put a sample of the cats that I photographed at the Austin Humane Society. For a complete listing of all available cats, you can see them at: For a description of The Ebony and Ginger Project, see my original posting on April 21, 2009.

I would, however, like to show you some photos and just how special and beautiful many of these cats are. The first cat that caught my eye was "Lilly," who was both curious, but also very engaging and easy going. Before I even started photographing, you could tell she was asking, "Who are you? ... want to play?" However, unlike kittens, she was also respectful of me and my time and didn't seem pushy about wanting to engage. Really neat cat.

Lilly is 1 year, 3 months old - and has been at the Austin Humane Society since early January '09. Of the young cats/kittens that you might consider adopting, Lilly would be awesome, so consider going to meet her.

One of the real sweetie pies I photographed was "Tia," who is 6 years, 2 months. Tia is all white with some minor marks on her fur, and has the sweetest blue eyes. She was surrendered about a month ago, and strikes me as a very loving and sensitive cat.

I think Tia probably took surrender pretty hard, but I also think she would be very loving to whomever will provide her a forever home. Ginger was much like that when we adopted her. But because Ginger does bond so strongly, once she opened up to us - she was extremely affectionate. You never know for sure, but Tia strikes me as having a similar personality.

One of my other favorites is "Ms. Madeline," who is the face of this project above in the top photo.

Madeline was probably one of the most cooperative in my photographing, and a cat that seems pretty confident and easy going at the same time. She was pretty willing to let me do what I needed to do and didn't fuss about it. Madeline is also one of the most beautiful cats there! If you were to just see her in her cage, I don't think you would get just how striking she is, but she seemed very happy to pose for me. I hope you enjoy her images, too.

I also think Madeline is an old soul, but is only 2 years old. She has been at the Austin Humane Society for over a month and a half, and I think is one of the real jewels there - in my opinion.

Bless "Linus's" heart, he is the longest resident of the cats currently at the Austin Humane Society. Linus is very sweet and also extremely cooperative in my photographing him - which says a lot about his temperament.

Linus has been with the Humane Society for almost 5 months. Of the boy cats I think you could adopt, Linus would definitely be one worth considering and definitely one you should visit. He is also very handsome! Really neat and engaging cat.

One cat that I had to individually show off is "Biscuit," a female black cat who is 2 years, 9 months old and has been at the Humane Society for a month and a half. Given that Biscuit looks REMARKABLY like Ebony, I think it is only appropriate that I focus on her as well. She seems to have the same personality that Ebony has, ... very curious, likes human interaction and very sweet.

Finally, while I can't promote all the cats here, definitely check out the Austin Humane Society website listed above if you want to see the other cats who also are currently looking for loving parent(s) and homes. There were many great cats with sweet personalities, such as "Carrie" and "Sissie," and several cats who were also sweet but strikingly beautiful, such as "Callie" (to the side) and "Delia" (below).

While this posting is of cats, be looking for my future posting of dogs at the Austin Humane Society, coming soon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"The Ebony and Ginger Project"

In a new effort to assist non-profit, charitable and individuals seeking to assist the re-homing of cats and dogs in the Central Texas area, I have launched what I am calling "The Ebony and Ginger Project."

Because of the events in January 2009, my wife and I have come to appreciate how difficult it can be to re-home great pets, when circumstances require it. We had the unfortunate need to re-home our dog, Ginger, and had very little time to do it. Ginger had injured our cat, Ebony, and we needed her out of our home by the time Ebony returned from the vet. When we adopted Ginger almost 4 years ago from the Austin Humane Society, she was listed as "likes to chase cats and squirrels" but we suspect the prior owner had not honestly disclosed her as "cat aggressive" in efforts to try to help her (based upon pretty valid analysis I think). By not being honest with the Austin Humane Society, the owner put Ginger at mortal danger, since she could have ended up in inappropriate homes - and most new owners would not have worked with the situation so thoroughly to save Ginger and find her a home that would work for her.

We found that one thing that helped Ginger after the event was great photography of her, which I had taken. (See photo above and this one).

We human animals can be visual creatures, and the need to "see" something is often more significant than the mere description of the thing or being in words (i.e. a picture is worth a 1000 words ..."). We also found that often the best pets, those that are most sensitive, sweet, intelligent, and personable, are the ones most difficult to place - for those very reasons. Such pets understand and feel the loneliness and isolation when they lose their owners/parents more deeply and profoundly, and are most affected by shelters or new circumstances. For them, being surrendered is often literally as "heart-breaking" to them as it is to their owners. It is then hard to see their "real" personality in the shelter ... as they might be in your home.

Because of these issues, Ginger was deemed un-adoptable at the time by the Austin Humane Society because she was so distraught when we were not around her. When we had first adopted her from there, she had also been so distraught that she would barely eat, did little to "market" herself and just laid in the kennel. Part of what drew us to her was the personality we sensed, but since then the shelter has apparently and understandably had to select for pets that will be sufficiently responsive to their new surroundings that they will be "adoptable." As a non-profit, the shelter has to make sure to allocate its resources in the most effective place. While we all would want all pets saved, there is more need than resources often in the system. The Austin Humane Society, however, were very kind to us and helped us review all potential options to help Ginger. Given that Ebony was also an alumni of the Society, they were particularly interested in finding situations that would work for both Ebony and Ginger.

While I might not be able to save every pet, I am allocating a good amount of free photographic services in this venture. As a very-skilled amateur photographer, I spent 3 hours on Friday at the Austin Humane Society on this project, and an additional 15 hours editing the photos (which is common with good photography - a 5 hour post-production to every 1 hour photographing). I look to do more as my time permits for the Austin Humane Society, Austin Pets Alive!, Blue Dog Rescue and others as I can.

For Ginger, we have a happy ending after all. My parents decided that they would take Ginger temporarily to help us get her immediately out of the home, and ensure that Ebony survived her injuries. Although Ginger really missed us, we put some "dirty" clothing in her crate for the first several nights and she could go in there and "smell" our scents and be comforted. She did - and was. In a short amount of time, my parents fell in love with Ginger, and she with them, and Ginger is now well integrated with their other pets, two elkhounds (also rescues; one is Zarko, pictured below, who is as noble in spirit as appearance). Ebony has fully healed and happy being an only pet again. She has also earned that sole status for the remainder of her years, hopefully many!

For such Grace, I am now committed to helping other sweet pets also find happy endings in homes that will best suit their needs! Consider adopting pets from rescues and shelters - although they may be older pets, have some issues, often you will find that they are extremely wonderful. I hope that The Ebony and Ginger Project will both help achieve ends in themselves (placing pets), and also help others understand the difficulty of such pets more thoroughly.