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Adopt Don’t Shop: Helping Friends

Cheeky Chinchilla
Cheeky Chinchilla

You may have followed my other two blogs about our the many foster animals who have been in our care since the start of 2016.  If not, you can read about them here and here.

Once the puppies left I didn’t have the opportunity to volunteer for fostering again for a month or so. This was because of my tendency to travel for work. Foster animals tend to need more stability than I could offer with the exception of some emergency cases.

However, much like buses, fostering opportunities seem to arrive all at once.

Next to join the Latifoo Foster care were a couple of chinchillas, Dusty & Rocky. These little balls of fuzz were incredibly hard to photograph as they took a bit of time to warm to us.

They came from a friend who was fostering them and needed someone to take them for a week while they had visitors. It felt more like pet-sitting than fostering, especially now that my friend has had another “foster fail” and adopted them both! It was the first time I’d looked after chinchillas. These funny wee creatures were a lot of fun despite their love of throwing their poo out their cage… I had grand ideas of clicker training them but I quickly learned that chinchillas have exceptionally delicate digestive systems and finding suitable edible rewards was no easy task. Plus, these guys were nervous and it took time to help them settle.  But settle they did and we soon had them running around the hall, using us as part of their parkour route as they bounced off of the walls enjoying the freedom to run.

dusty & ziggy
Dusty & Ziggy

At the same time, another friend was looking after two pups she and her fiance were thinking about adopting. To be able to spend that time with them, they needed an extra pair of hands for a couple of the nights. So I helped out again and we had a fun with two lovely little pups as well as the chinchillas.

Trust is a big thing for pet photographers. You have to understand your subject’s behaviour and be able to predict it fairly accurately.  You can’t explain to them why you want them to sit a certain way to get the shot. To get the shots I’m looking for, they need to be comfortable and relaxed.

When working with foster animals, I’ve learned quickly that taking a camera out in the early days of getting to know them doesn’t always work. Some of the animals are nervous and anxious after being abandoned or passed from pillar to post. We only had a very short time with these guys and so, I only have a couple of phone snaps.

Luckily though, they all found their forever-homes with two of my favourite people here in Madrid, so there will be more photos to follow! x

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