Canvas for a Cause: Paws of Hope Photo

Paws of Hope Canvas PrintsDavid Holzemer, of Paws of Hope Photo, stands with his wife in front of his canvas display at the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center

Consider it a coincidence that our Paws of Hope Photo blog post was ready to launch on a day known to social media as "Giving Tuesday." We admit, we didn't even know such a day existed until we looked at our trending news-feed. Unsurprisingly, this timing, as with most of this project, has been nothing short of serendipitous. We first met David, a volunteer animal shelter photographer, after seeing Paws of Hope Photo comment on one of our popular Weekly Win Facebook posts. At the time, Canvas for a Cause was still a very new program and we decided to reach out to this organization on a whim. After learning more about David's efforts through Paws of Hope Photo, we knew it was the perfect fit.

By day, David works in the Digital Learning Center at Carlow University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By night (and weekends!) David volunteers his time and photography services to the local animal shelters throughout the city. As noted in the About Us section of the Paws of Hope Photo website, David says "doing this type of volunteer work keeps me going." This passion shows through in his work with these shelter animals and the portraits he creates. "Behind the camera is where I'm most comfortable," he told Carlow University in a staff spotlight featuring his volunteer work.

Paws of Hope pet portraits

Although David works with various shelters throughout Pittsburgh, he ultimately chose the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center for this Canvas for a Cause donation. As his "home" shelter, David felt a few canvas displays could really brighten the atmosphere in their adoption and clinic centers and help the pets find loving homes. Over the course of the summer, David, his wife, and the employees from the Animal Rescue League, spent time choosing wall space, measuring and planning the arrangements, and mocking up the designs to create the perfect displays for this shelter. Their work and dedication to the project, especially on a volunteer basis, was inspiring.

Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center Wall Displays

Paws of Hope and Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center PortraitsThe first Gallery Wall display in the adoption center

The project was completed in phases with the first Gallery Wall installation scheduled for early August. Once the dog-focused display was complete, David set to work designing the next Canvas Grouping. This display would showcase the feline shelter population, as well as the various wildlife species at the rescue. This included birds, rabbits, turtles, and even a cat in a hammock which "cat people" will understand as no small feat. "I have to make an admission that I have a total animal bias. I am kind of a dogs-only person...I just don't have the connection with [other animals] like I do dogs." admits David on his website. Luckily, he was able to put his bias aside and create two amazing and all-animal friendly displays. By late October, the entire project was complete and David had successfully transformed the adoption center and clinic space for The Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center.

Paws of Hope cat and wildlife photographyDavid installing the second Gallery Wall display in the clinic area

Through our Canvas for a Cause program, we've partnered with so many deserving causes and Paws of Hope Photo was no exception. David's passion and willingness to help these shelter animals by donating his time, talent, and equipment is exactly the type of cause we strive to support.

In his spare time (if that exists), David details his work with these animals on the Paws of Hope Photo blog. You can also follow David's shelter photography on Facebook. To learn more about getting involved with the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center, head to their website.

You can check out all of our Canvas for a Cause partnerships here. If you'd like to learn more about our program or discuss a partnership, please reach out to megan[at]cgproprints[dot]com for more information.

Megan Sievert

Megan Sievert