Pro photos help pets find new homes

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by TINA FOSTER

WFAA

Posted on March 30, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 30 at 10:19 PM

Look at the Collin County Humane Society Web site and you'll find 86 adoptable dogs.

Through local animal rescue groups, 240 dogs may have been saved because of photographs. And thanks to the woman behind the camera, more dogs may get help finding homes.

Professional photographer Teresa Berg snaps photos of her latest subject, Ruby. Berg is hoping that her images will help this dog and others find a new home.

"We kind of dress them up and make them look like a new member of the family," she said.

Berg volunteers her photography skills for the Dallas-Fort Worth Dachshund Rescue Foundation. She has snapped pictures of dozens of rescue dogs for the non-profit's Web site, dramatically increasing their chances for adoption.

"We've sped up the process of getting more dogs off the street, which is my reward," Berg said.

Time spent in foster care has been cut from 6 to 8 months to 8 to 10 weeks, on average.

"It's been unbelievable," said DFW Dachshund Rescue spokeswoman Kathleen Coleman. "We started with 20 to 25 adoptions a year; we jumped up doing 50 and 60."

Nancy Miller recently adopted four-year-old Finney, and her decision was influenced by Berg's photographs.

"I think it makes a big difference to look at those photos," Miller said. "To me they look like very happy, well-adjusted animals."

Berg said people too often think of rescue or shelter dogs as damaged goods, an image reinforced by poorly-taken pictures.

"We call it 'dogs behind bars,'" she said. "They often have a chain link fence across their face or the bars of the cage they are in."

For Finney — and the dozens of other animals professionally photographed who now have a home — this is one tail with a happy ending.

"I love them all," Berg said. "If I didn't photograph them all, I'd want to bring them all home... so it is safer for me to just take pictures."

Berg recently partnered with the Collin County Humane Society to provide pictures for animals waiting for adoption there. She offers free classes to shelter workers to teach them how to take more flattering animal pictures.

E-mail tfoster@wfaa.com

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