MIAMI COUNTY — Tipp City photographer Donna Meade has a passion for pets, especially those who need a helping hand to find a forever home.
For three years, Meade has not only donated her time and photography skills to the Miami County Animal Shelter, but she also has hosted an annual Christmas portrait fundraiser during the holidays to raise money for the shelter’s wish list.
This year, Meade donated more than $600 to the shelter to purchase an elevated dog wash tub as well as flea and tick medicine and shampoo.
The retired photographer shared how she always enjoyed photographing pets so she built her business and volunteer efforts around that passion.
“Photographing pets is always something I’ve enjoyed so I started a business. I’ve done a lot of research and training and I’ve really grown since I’ve started doing it,” Meade said.
Meade began volunteering at the shelter around three years ago when she found a lost dog and looked at the shelter’s website for contact information.
“I saw the images that they had, and I was already volunteering at the Greater Dayton Humane Society, so I approached Miami County and offered my services and we’ve been going strong ever since!” Meade said. “I enjoy it when people tell me that they went in and adopted a dog specifically because they saw the photo online and that’s the reason they went in and saw the animal, because of the photo.”
Meade shared how she and shelter employees determined the fundraiser proceeds would purchase flea medication and topical treatments for the animals. Meade said many animals are found so infested they aren’t able to stand or sit, are agitated and suffer from hair loss.
“We wanted to get something to make the most difference for the highest number of pets that have long term affect. Fleas are always a problem. It just breaks my heart when I see animals come in with severe hair loss or sores all over them from fleas. The majority of the people pass those dogs over. They don’t even look twice,” she said.
With the proceeds, a large wash tub for dogs was installed last week, which Meade candidly said was “awesome.”
“We appreciate it so much, Donna donates her time all year round and she does our pictures for our website and then she does this fundraiser at the end of the year for the things we need,” said Debbie Hale, a shelter official. “The pictures are just awesome and we appreciate her so much.”
Hale shared how Meade’s holiday pet photo fundraiser last year went to purchase new beds for the kennels.
Hale said Meade’s weekly photo shoots boost the shelter’s adoption rates “tremendously” as she captures the animal’s personality, adding props and colorful bandanas to help get the animal a new home.
“A lot of people see those pictures and they are very professional looking versus what we used to do. I think it helps. She has donated her time for years here and we appreciate it,” Hale said.
Christine Herring, a shelter employee, also said Meade’s skills have helped make shelter pets look more desirable to make them more adoptable.
Herring said she often plays “director” by putting goofy props on the animals, like Santa hats on the shelter cats, as Donna captures the moment.
“It’s made a huge difference,” Herring said. “We always have people say they look at our site to see our pictures and that the pictures are so amazing. We are definitely blessed to have her volunteering here for sure.”
The shelter keeps an active wish list on Amazon for donations and is always looking for volunteers to help at the shelter.
Meade also provides professional pet portraits through her business Donna Meade Photography.
For professional pet photo information, you can contact Donna Meade Photography at [email protected] and on her website, www.donnameadephotography.com. For a list of donations or pets available for adoption, visit co.miami.oh.us.