When I dream, I think about a day when there are no unwanted animals. People that want to adopt a pet are required to be chosen by the animal. Waiting lists are for the people not the animals. Adopters earn their chance to adopt based on quality of belly rubs and ability to throw the ball. But we aren’t there yet, so for a more productive dreaming and wishing I will focus on shelter design.
Most facilities were built a few years ago and they were not designed with photography in mind. Usually CMU construction and minimal finishes on the inside. People that wanted a pet, would come to the shelter and look over the available animals and leave with a new member of the family. Today with the fast paced, give it to me now, iGeneration most search for that new family member on social media and the internet websites first before ever stepping into a shelter. The internet has really changed the way that shelters operate. Photography is so very important to a shelter’s success more than ever before.
I propose that we think of shelters and their design in a new way. In my perfect dreamland world, every shelter should have a dedicated space for a photography studio. This would have perfect lighting big north facing windows and then suspended studio lighting for back up on cloudy days. It would also have the pull down back drops for professional looking photos. And then a big closet for all the props – boas, hats, jackets, scarves, bandannas, jewelry, etc… Several levels of stages so the animals could come up to my eye level and make it a little easier on the photographers back. And then a big fenced outdoor area for great off leash shots.
My day job is architect and looking at floorplans and designs is of interest to me. So far none of the plans for recently constructed shelters have incorporated photography spaces into the designs. At least none that I have seen. The photography studio is the generator of traffic and interest. I am not sure why I haven’t seen these yet popping up in designs. I would suggest to other designers and architects out there about to embark on a new shelter design to go spend a day or a week at your local shelter. Quickly the needs of the shelter will become overwhelming.
So for the next area lottery winner looking to spend a little loose change on the homeless animals of the Roanoke Valley, here is a great place to start. I definitely have some ideas.