We first met Darrell Massengill and Diane Olson a few years ago when we were shooting at a cat show in Raleigh, North Carolina. They live in the area and had asked if they could sit in on a few photo sessions at the cat show and observe our techniques. They were also a cat photographer/cat wrangler team but, unlike Ken and I, who do this for a livelihood, their motivation is a far nobler calling: they do it to save lives. Diane and Darrell are part of a cat and kitten rescue group in Cary, North Carolina, called "Cat Angels." They photograph each rescue cat and kitten that comes in and post the images to the Cat Angels website to give each kitty a better chance for adoption.
Diane and Darrell understand that winsome portraits of their subjects are more likely to attract people to adopt them, so they were very interested in seeing our shooting, wrangling, and lighting methods as well as asking us questions about our equipment.
A year or two later, when they asked to sit in on some more shoots the next time we were in Raleigh, we were glad to see Darrell and Diane again. They are so friendly, gracious, and appreciative that we were happy to help. It was apparent that they were putting into practice what they were learning from us.
After the cat show, they took us to dinner at Irregardless, a great local restaurant, where we enjoyed spending time with them and swapping "war stories" about trying to coax decent portraits out of uncooperative kitties. Compared to their challenges, struggling to get appealing poses from freaked-out feral kittens/cats, we decided that we had it much easier with show cats who are generally easy to deal with.
Accompanying each month's featured kitten is a little story about it.
This piece is quite obviously a labor of love -- as is everything that all those very special people in cat rescue do -- and we found it to be thoroughly charming.
THE POINT OF THIS STORY
More recently, Diane wrote and asked if we could help her rescue group with a favor. That's what this story is all about. Their Cat Angels rescue group has lost the lease on their current facility, which the landlord now wants to occupy to expand his own business, so the rescue group has to move. And they want to double the size of their present space in order to double their adoption rate.
To help cover the additional expenses that this move will entail, Darrell and Diane have entered the Pepsi Refresh Grant Competition by producing this 59 second video:
- Through Facebook
- By getting a free Pepsi Refresh Account
- By texting 106148 to 73774 (PEPSI)
If you are reading this on Facebook or on my Blog, it's quite likely that, like me, you are a cat lover. And for one reason or another you may not be able to be directly involved in cat rescue like Diane and Darrell and so many other dedicated people who do this are. But you can make a difference by helping these big-hearted volunteers save the lives of more homeless cats and kittens. The $50,000 grant prize they can win -- with your help -- could save a lot of kitties!
Please take a moment to click on the above link to the Cat Angels video and vote for it, then vote again each day for the rest of this month. And share the link with your friends on Facebook! Thank you!I will let you know how this turns out, but YOU can influence the outcome.