Holiday pet portraits fundraiser for food bank

Posted Sept. 26, 2012, at 10:01 a.m.
Duffy Higgins Taylor looking handsome for his annual holiday portrait.
Courtesy of Bell Imaging & Design
Duffy Higgins Taylor looking handsome for his annual holiday portrait.

A picture is worth a thousand words as they say. Specifically, a thousand words of love when the photo is of the beloved family pet.

Duffy, my own dog, is always ready for his close-up when the time comes for the Holiday Pet Portraits sessions with Debra Bell from Bell Imaging Design (Bell is also a staff writer for the Weekly and BDN Special Sections). Hosted by Green Acres Kennel Shop, these portraits really have your dog putting his or her best paw forward.

Not to be a stage mother but the cuteness factor cannot be denied. But more than bragging rights, these portraits have another purpose. Each photography session nets $10 for the Furry Friends Food Bank, a program of Eastern Area Agency on Aging that supplies supplemental pet food to low-income seniors.

Bell, a long-time animal lover who specializes in pet photography, was completely enamored with FFFB and has been holding this fundraiser for several years.

“I support the Furry Friends Food Bank because I believe in it,” she said. “Donations of food, supplies, or money are the only ways the food bank can provide for the pets and their people: seniors and people with disabilities. The people who benefit from FFFB often will share their own meals with their beloved pets, which isn’t healthy for either party. I want to ensure that I’m helping to make their lives a little better.”

Rob Crone, director of nutrition and the Furry Friends Food Bank at EAAA, appreciates her generosity towards the program.

“We’re a non-profit agency that’s dedicated to preserving the special bond between seniors and their pets by providing food and basic animal care supplies, at no cost, to those who need it,” he said. “And sometimes older people have trouble keeping up with pet care, such as proper feeding. The goal is to help them, which we hope will allow them to keep their beloved pets longer.”

Studies have found that that pet owners visit their doctors less, and use less medicine. It is well documented that people also recover faster from surgery and illness, tend to deal better with stressful situations, and are less likely to feel lonely. The basic need for social contact and support is often not met for older individuals who may have lost friends and family members.

There is a reason that dogs are called “man’s best friend.” If you want to immortalize your buddy on his or her best behavior, a frozen moment in time, you have a couple of chances.

There are two sessions scheduled, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sept. 30 and Nov. 5, at Green Acres, 1653 Union St., Bangor. Sessions may be outside or inside depending on weather and the pet owners’ preference. The cost is $40 per 20 minute session and allows up to three animals and includes a 5×7 gift print. For three or more pets, Bell recommends booking a double session for the discounted price of $70 to ensure there will be enough time to take picture perfect poses. Having taken three dogs in at one time, take her advice and book the double. There is always one trouble maker in the bunch. But that doesn’t rattle Bell.

“My assistant and I have experience in dog training which helps us work with them to capture their attention,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a toy or treat that gets them excited. We’ll work with each pet to ensure we get some great portraits that capture their true nature.”

Because of the early photo sessions, there is time to turn these adorable pictures into your personal holiday cards so call 945-6841 to reserve your space. Still not sure how pet portraits work? Check out www.bellphotostudio.com and click on “pets.”

Crone never wants to hear of seniors having to give up their animals because they couldn’t afford to keep them.

“We are very grateful to Deb Bell for holding this fundraiser for the Furry Friends Food Bank because we are always in need of support and $10 can buy a pretty good sized bag of cat food,” he said. “The community has been wonderful rallying around our goal of feeding seniors’ pets. We have had monetary and food donation coming in the past couple of months. This is an especially important time because as the temperature drops, seniors start worrying about how they will heat their homes. Furry Friends Food Bank can ease their minds somewhat.”

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. Email Higgins Taylor at chtaylor@eaaa.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free (800) 432-7812, email info@eaaa.org or log on EAAA.org.

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