by Sandra Murphy
Canon, maker of fine digital image solutions, held a contest to honor their newest model of the Rebel and celebrate the original model’s 25th anniversary. The campaign was called “Rebel with a Cause” and photographers across the country were invited to enter the contest.
Guinnevere Shuster, animal activist, social media, and photography coordinator for the Humane Society of Utah (HSU), in Murray, was chosen as the winner for her work in photographing shelter dogs in need of a home.
“I love to promote shelter dogs and will use any platform to do so,” Schuster says. “Most of the photos I take are of the dogs here in our shelter but if a foster or other shelter asks for help, I do what I can.”
Canon flew Shuster to New York to video in real time, A Dog’s Best Day, with shelter dog Willa, a 65-pound Hound who had trouble finding her forever home. “With shelters overcrowded and adopters reluctant to see dogs in a sad, caged condition, I wanted to do my part to change opinions about shelters and their residents,” Shuster says. “Canon was amazing to work with. We were able to show the dogs having fun instead of the usual photos that show them sitting behind bars.” The video was shot entirely on a Canon EOS Rebel T6i.
Willa thought it was fun to catch soap bubbles in the park, drink from a golden toilet, and search a room full of toys to find just the right one, which turned out to be a giant rawhide bone. In one scene, Willa sits in a dining room chair with a domed plate in front of her. When the dome is lifted, there’s a steak. Willa’s shock and surprise is evident on her face, but then the look of transforms. “How do I eat it?” she seems to wonder, as she’s never dined at a table before.
When it was time for dessert, Willa simply walked across the table to get to the cookies she wanted. All food items were animal-friendly, of course.
Shuster also partnered with Dogs of Instagram to further highlight the needs of adoptable dogs as many shelters are near capacity at all times.
Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO at Canon U.S.A., Inc., says, “Guinnevere embodies the modern rebel in the world today and shares a passion that many share around the country. She aims to make a difference by finding forever homes for shelter dogs.” Shuster has photographed over 7,500 animals, and in 2015 the Humane Society of Utah placed 11,318 animals in homes. Some of the dogs are obtained from overcrowded California shelters, working in cooperation with the HSU. In California, Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls have the hardest time finding a home.
“Hundreds of people wanted to adopt Willa but many lived in apartments in the city,” Shuster says. “The shelter felt Willa, being a Hound, needed more space to run and play. Willa continued to wait for just the right home for her. I checked with her shelter again and found out Willa was adopted over the Thanksgiving weekend. She has a lot to be thankful for this year!” Willa’s video led to the adoption of many other dogs as well.
The video is a happy one as watchers see the joy on Willa’s face as she gets such special attention. “She wasn’t trained to do any of this,” says Shuster. “She just got into the fun and ad libbed.”
Even before the contest and Willa’s video, Shuster recommended a Canon Rebel. “It’s easy for new photographers to use, is smaller and easier to handle. It’s just a workhorse of a camera,” she says. “I’m really grateful to Canon for choosing me as the last of the Rebels with a Cause. It was great fun and got a lot of dogs adopted. That’s the most important thing.”
Shelters always need help, whether it’s towel donations, volunteer dog walkers, cat petters, photographers, office help, or items from their wish lists. Money and labor are always in short supply. Spread the word on social media. Every pet deserves a “best day” and a forever home.
To read about some of the HSU’s success stories, go to https://www.utahhumane.org/success-stories. Take a hanky for happy tears.
Splash photo: Canon