I've been doing a lot of reminiscing lately and I want to tell you about this project I hope to return to soon.
Adopt Omaha was a side project I started in 2012 when I was a total Omaha newbie and looking to become more involved in the community. You see, I had previously been heavily involved and connected with animal rescue groups in Manhattan, Kansas and felt a great sense of pride in the work that I did for those groups. I was a photographer and a designer, a PR coordinator and a foster. I could see the impact that my skills had on the adoption rates and the fundraising efforts. This was my groove thang.
Then we moved to Nebraska. A total introvert, I'm not really the type to feel comfortable attending networking events or striking up conversations with strangers in a coffee shop. I made friends at work, but I wanted to have more of a life outside of work and I wanted to feel useful in my new community. I called and emailed around to several local rescue groups asking for a volunteer application and scheduled meeting times. You know what happened? They turned me down. Every.single.one. "I'll take photos and design promos for your events! I can help manage social media!" I'd say. They responded with, "Well, we are only looking for foster volunteers. We don't really need any other help."
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I was heartbroken. Why on earth would any volunteer organization turn down help? Whatevs. I decided I'd do my own thing. It turns out that there are several ...and by that I mean loads... of independent foster families in the Omaha area that are not strongly affiliated with any one organization. Through some digging on Facebook, I learned about a small pet boutique in town that hosted adoption events and fundraisers for these independent animal rescue activists. I attended one of the meet & greet events at Wag and met some wonderfully passionate women who were excited to take me up on my offer to photograph the pets.
I photographed the pets and interviewed the foster parent. Each pet had a "profile" on the Adopt Omaha website. Important information regarding the animal's personality, requirements, contact info, etc would all be right there. This created a nice little platform for the independent rescuers to appear more legit than the average Craigslist seller. Once I had a few people on board, I started to gain more interest from some organizations. Within just a couple months of starting the Adopt Omaha website and social media pages, I had built a great network and a pretty decent little following. My posts and pet profiles were being shared and pets were being adopted. I got my groove back!
This was a great experience that really helped to push me out of my cozy shell and move through and around obstacles. Just when Adopt Omaha started to take off, I learned of my pregnancy. I continued to meet fosters and photograph them, though I eventually had to stop squatting or laying on the ground to get the good shot. I moved slower and my body ached. I put Adopt Omaha on hold to have my son, but I thought I could easily jump back into the fun once he arrived and my body allowed me to work. That didn't happen, though. Tucker, my sweet boy, was a colicky mess that woke every 1-3 hours until he turned 14 months. For the last 2 years I've been in a constant state of exhaustion, but I see the tides turning now! My camera batteries are charged and my SD cards are formatted. I'm so excited to jump into pet photography again. I don't have a timeline in place for Adopt Omaha to go live again, but I am actively working to make its debut even greater than before.