GIVE BACK CONTEST- win a BRAND NEW 16GB Product Red iPod Nano with Video!!

I am so excited about this I can hardly stand it!

Here is what you stand a chance of winning in this new GIVE BACK Contest:

A brand-spanking new just released 16GB Product Red iPod Nano with video, custom inscribed, in it’s own little matching gift box (pictured below)


It’s a brand new (released yesterday!) 16GB iPod Nano with video. Not only does it hold 4,000 songs and 16 hours of video, but it’s an Apple Store exclusive: a Product Red product. For those who don’t know, a percentage of the proceeds from Product Red products go to help fight AIDS. AIDS is still a monumental crisis in Africa, with more than 4,100 men, women and children dying EVERY DAY from this horrible disease. Image every single person you have ever met in your entire life gone. It’s impossible to fathom. Product Red products are a direct, powerful way of helping prevent the spread of this horrible disease.

From the Product Red website:


The back of this cute little iPod has a custom engraving (chosen by yours-truly) that reads:

“This cute little iPod

is helping save lives”

It will come in it’s own adorable little gift box, and will be all yours to keep.

Oh, but that’s not all you will win!

Anyone want some cute little socks for their new iPod? I do!! hee hee hee


You will also receive a multi-pack of soft iPod socks to carry your new little friend in. Yes, it IS possible that these are the cutest things ever.

Here is what you need to do to enter, with some contest background info first.

Contest Backstory:

It is no accident I chose this Product Red iPod to give away on the blog. I have been wanting to do a giveaway for a long time now, but there has only been one thing I have wanted from my blog audience. Comments? No, although they are nice. New Fans? Sure, but that’s not the impetus. More traffic? Why not, although this little blog gets a lot already.

What I need my dear blog readers is your IDEAS.

You see, I have been in a place for awhile now where I have been pretty content with my business and my life. But there has been something missing. And I can’t put my finger on it, but I know it involves giving back.

Just like this little iPod is helping give back, I too want to give back. But I don’t know how. I mean, I know I can volunteer and I can donate and I can give, I just don’t feel like any of the things I have looked at are enough, or the right fit for me. Ideally I’d like to design my own project, focused on a cause, and ultimately down the road turn it into a book, with a percentage of proceeds being donated, but not sure what, or how. I love animals but it doesn’t have to be by or for animals. I am really open to anything. My goal before I die is not to have found fame and fortune, it’s to have made a difference in the world. One that I can see and feel.

I want to give my passions and my heart to something that will really make a difference in the world. I want to help bring some visibility to something that really needs it.

I need YOU, to tell ME, what that is.

So here is how you enter:

1. get your thinking caps on.

Brainstorm GIVE BACK ideas I can consider doing. My loyal blog followers may have an advantage here in that they know me well and know my life and what I’m capable of. But I’m open to hearing ANYTHING. No idea is too random or too crazy or too out there. Remember I’m an envelope pusher.

2. leave your idea(s) as a comment on this blog post. You can enter as many times as you like. You can give me as many ideas as you want, but be sure to leave them here, and leave your email address in the comment! (You don’t need to have  a website). Please read the rules at the end of this post as well.

3. get on twitter and type some version of this:

“I just entered @cowbelly’s GIVE BACK contest to win a new Product Red 16GB iPod Nano with video. I hope I win! details here (with the link to this blog post)

The more social press I get with this, the more visibility I will be able to give to the project, and the people and/or animals that need my help the most!

4. do this before 10:00AM PST on Wednesday 9/16. Contest winner will be chosen and announced on the blog on Friday 9/18! Be sure to follow me on twitter @cowbelly for my thoughts and reactions to the ideas left for me. I may give some hints about the winner on twitter before they are announced! 😉

How you win:

Be genius.

Think outside the box.

Brainstorm powerful ideas.

In the end I will (very deliberately) select the idea I like the most, that is the best fit for me and my lifestyle. I will then get to work with my own researching and brainstorming and chicken scratch notes. And hopefully, within a *reasonable* amount of time, I will actually be doing this brilliant idea you shared with me. How awesome is that?!

You can even blog and/or Facebook about this if you like, and create your own GIVE BACK giveaway. Just be sure to link back to this post!

Contest Rules (fine print):

The Cowbelly GIVE BACK contest is open to anyone, anywhere that UPS ships to, anywhere in the world. You MUST be able to provide a shipping address or you will not win the fancy iPod! If you are in rural Alaska or Greenland or some other far off place, please let me know ahead of time so I can look into the shipping process to your area.

Contest entrants must have a working email address, and provide that address in their comment here.

Emailed comments will not be considered as entries. There are no restrictions on comment length or quantity. The comment section expands (scrolls) so feel free to type as much (or as little) as you like! Contest entrants may enter as many times as they like, but only comments with ideas will be considered for winning.

The iPod Nano and iPod socks may not be returned or exchanged for cash or credit. What you see is what you get! Cowbelly makes no warrantees as to the effectiveness of the products, nor provides any kind of warrantee against damage or defects, before, during or after shipment is received.

By entering this contest, you understand that you stand a chance of winning only if you provide a give back idea to Jamie Pflughoeft (Cowbelly owner). Comments left with no ideas will not be considered.

Cowbelly makes no guarantees that it will complete the idea in any pre-set timeframe, or that the idea will be used exactly as presented. Cowbelly will also not be held liable for any non-performance of ideas due to accidents, injury, illness or other life crap that can sometimes occur.

Cowbelly reserves the right to extend the deadline of this contest, or run this contest a second time to find the best Give Back idea, if for some random chance a great idea isn’t presented before the deadline and/or in the first round.

Contest entries will be taken until 10:00AM PST Wednesday 9/16. Contest winner will be chosen and announced on the blog on Friday 9/18. Contest winner will also be emailed on Friday 9/18 to notify them of winning. Notification will take place sometime before midnight PST on Friday 9/18.

The iPod and iPod socks will be mailed on Tuesday 9/22 via UPS. Shipping method depends on distance from Seattle, Washington, USA.

By entering, you accept that the winner is chosen purely subjectively as opposed to randomly.

Ok, now go to it my genius blog readers!!

I’m off to the dog park with the Fergs, and fully expect to see the brilliant ideas start rolling in on my iphone!

Thanks so much for entering and good luck! 🙂

Facebook comments:

47 thoughts on “GIVE BACK CONTEST- win a BRAND NEW 16GB Product Red iPod Nano with Video!!

  1. Oh, I missed the cut-off! 🙁 Going to comment regardless. 😡

    One idea I’ve seen other photographers do is put together a calendar or a set of postcards and sell these with the proceeds going to his/her favorite organization. Maybe a collection of rescue pets, or just of Fergie? (12 months of pin-up Fergie!)

    On a less commercially-viable tangent, I’m an occasional closet PostSecret fan, and I think it might be nifty to see a doggy/dog-lover’s PostSecret. Where people can write in with all the funny little things that we love about our dogs, and the things we wish we’d done better–or, where the dogs can write in with their secrets. 😀 The idea, in the end, would be to raise awareness about our pets and our relationships with them. Or something like that. I just like the idea of our dogs writing postcards to us, maybe. 😛

  2. Hi Jamie!
    Here are my ideas for you…. a lot of these can tie in together so here goes.

    1) Publish a kids magazine online, in print, or both about domestic animals that teaches community service and is directed toward humane education that empowers and encourages kids to defend animal rights. You could do so much with this….fun contests, challenges (like fundraising, food drives, story writing) and kids could earn special products like notebooks, calendars, pencils, etc.

    2) Develop a fundraising line of products. EVERY school and club out there does at least one fundraiser each year and they all sell a bunch of crap that no one needs. Kids LOVE stuff with cute dogs all over it and profits could go the school and whatever cause you choose.

    3) Develop a wicked cool board game about shelter dogs. Profits going to whatever cause you choose.

    4) Write a children’s book about the life of a shelter dog.

    5) Start a PAID pet photographer’s forum. There are NONE out there. Profits go to your choice of causes. Sell on-line ads to maximize profits.

    6) Start a non-profit volunteer pet photographers foundation. Photographers would photograph animals at their local shelters and upload them to the foundation’s website. Animals would be search-able by state. An annual calendar, note-cards, etc line could be sold to benefit the foundation. On-line ads would be sold to fund the website.

    7) Dating site for dog-loving singles. On-line ads sold to benefit your organization.

    That’s it! Ow, my brain hurts!

  3. ok, here’s #3 idea (i had to turn my computer back on for this!), it may be a bit extravagant but…what about producing a large convention-type show, something like the home show. except it would be all about animals/pets. there could be booths for pet accessories, pet products and services (like photography and acupuncture and doggy day care); booths set up for animal rescues, shelters; booths about food; there can be clinics about natural products ie flea medicine or general first aid. this could be a yearly event. this idea occurred to me, because while i was typing in my other ideas, i had no idea what organizations were already out there helping out animals; having a ‘show’ could bring it all together. charge admission to help pay for all of this, any left over money can go to one or more of the charities. this idea has endless possibilities! (and maybe something like this already exists!) I don’t know. i might even help with this one! (if you’d let me)

  4. hi jamie: this is my 1st time reading your blog and i love your idea of trying to come up with someway to give back. i do have a few ideas, although they may not be too refined as i have had little time to think and develop them. my first thought, similar to someone else idea about homeless people and their companions. A lot of time we see homeless people with their homeless dogs. how do those dogs get medical attention or yearly vaccinations, not to mention food? there are shelters, food stamps and medicaid for the people but not their pets. these pets may be providing the homeless people with the only happiness and love they get in this world. you can start with photos and or stories of these people and pets, create a foundation of some sorts and provide veterinary care/food? for these pets.
    second idea:there are pets out there that have disabilities, like seizures, spinal cord injuries, even amputations. there is a growing specialty out there in rehab/equipment for pets, like prosthetics for amputated limps or carts for paralized hind limbs (like wheelchairs for animals).but all of this is very expensive. some animals are diabetic and require insulin shots. Many people may not be able to afford these treatments or equipment, and find it to be cheaper to put the animal down. my idea is to raise money to help these animals and their families.
    everyone’s idea uses your talent of photography to generate the funds, now it is up to you of what to photograph and then where to donate the proceeds.

  5. jamie – your heart is absolutely in the right place. i can’t wait to see what idea you pick!

    here are a few additional ideas to consider :mrgreen:

    1. design a line of dog-themed stamps (i think 50 would be cool, one for each state) and offer them for sale on or some other for-profit site and donate the earnings back to an animal charity of your choice. and since i know 50 is a LOT, perhaps you could use the holidays to your advantage and do a series of 12 stamps themed for the 12 days of christmas. i would buy those up for my holiday cards and it would be a bonus for the money to go to a charity in need.

    2. create a line of cowbelly decopaw greeting cards and submit your awesome designs for sale to a funky (yet fun) card company like avanti. feeling really inspired?? open your own rad card producing studio and forget the commercial aspect all together. for this it would be great to feature dogs that were ‘diamonds in the rough’ at local animal shelters and even foster groups. a small lit blurp about each dog on the back of the card would certainly be a real winner in my book. again the profits could benefit any animal charity in need.

    3. (warning….this one could be a touch political) being a bullie lover, i personally think it would be great if you could get in touch with best friends animal society and organize a book featuring the 22 dogs (the vicktory dogs) that were rescued from the vick compound and in the care of best friends. can you imagine the beautiful stories and amazing photography that could result from that collaboration?

    4. design and write a children’s book with cowbelly photography and decopaw art on how to care for and train a dog. have the profits benefit the make a wish foundation.

    thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share!

  6. I had another idea. Find a really cute stuffed dog (or cat) and have it travel around the world. You’d do this by sending it to various pet photographers in cities all over the world and they would photograph it on or near a local monument that shows where it really is. Then, they send the stuffed animal to the next person on the list. Oh, it could be a stuffed animal that looks like Fergie – by the woman who makes wonderful look-alike stuffed animals. So, it could be Fergie traveling around the world being photographed in cool and unique places. All the images could be compiled into a book. Blog updates would be fun as well – kind of like “Where in the World is Fergie?”

  7. great idea jamie. unfortunately i don’t have a suggestion for you…because i feel like i’m on the same journey myself. i think that’s the life of an artist. it’s an evolving process. it’s never 1 thing — it’s the potpourri of people, events, experiences and decisions that shape the path.

    good luck! having never even met you…i know you’re an awesome person — and you’re obviously an inspiration to a lot of photogs out there. that…in and of itself…is giving back in a big way.

  8. And yet another…..

    There are a bunch of ideas for different photography books….. What if you did a different book each year? Instead of just one project it could be a series of books. The Dog Book project or something…. I think it would be fun! And it’d be a great change of pace each and every year too. Better yet, you wouldn’t have to pick just one idea! Okay, I promise I’ll stop posting now… 😉

  9. Jamie, thought of another idea. This one includes dogs, but not photography. This is something I would love to have happen personally.

    It makes me CRAZY every Saturday when my mom and I go to the farmers market. It’s a super cute, super fun, super yummy, outdoor market. First time this year, I decided to bring Topaz along. She’s such a good girl when we go places. She walks nicely on the leash doesn’t usually have any accidents, etc. When we walked into the market, we were stopped by someone at the info stand. Apparently, they are following some farmers market standard. No dogs. And this is a place that is very dog friendly. IF they’d just let them in!! I see multiple dogs waiting outside the market every weekend too! And there are a bunch of other places like this. Everyone with dogs that go places has found them! So, my idea is this: What if dogs that had the proper testing (like therapy dogs) were allowed to go places? Like a canine good citizens test, but a little bit more intensive and specific to going places. I’m not sure on the laws and the liability issues and every thing that goes along with this, but, the owners of the dog would sign off on all of this once their dog passed the test. This is obviously a HUGE project idea. But, one that would make so many dog lovers happy! And pet photographers too. Wouldn’t it be great to take your clients some of the places they aren’t normally allowed to go? Another thing, the test would be for dogs of ALL ages!!! Topaz is so ready to ace her canine good citizens test but can’t yet because she’s too young. Anyway, that’s my idea. More like a dream, as it is such a huge undertaking. But, maybe if you feel the same way maybe you can get people to start working on it with you. I know you’re a behaviorist, so that’s a plus! I, in the meantime, will be starting a petition to get dogs into that market!! Looking at all the other ideas, you sure have a lot of great ones to choose from!

  10. Hi Jamie. I have decided I want to get into Pet Photography and recently discovered your site. Thanks for all the advice you readily give out.

    As a Photographer, I always look at other persons site’s for ideas. One day I found a site by a Photograher called Knox and also Sara Neeley. They had an idea for a book and was sourcing it around. I read all the preliminary thoughts and photos they had on thier site. It really touched me and when the book was finally published, I bought a copy.

    What they did was to follow and document a group of feral cats in thier neighborhood. Not unlike somebody following a pride of lions in Africa. Each cat was given a name and they wrote about it’s personality. Of course, being strays, the book does not have a happy ending. Some kittens didn’t last very long. It touched me however sad it was. The book is called Urban Tails and you can read portions of it here

    Now luckly there is no wild packs of dogs to document, so how about 1 particular shelter. Over the course of time, you could follow particular dogs (and cats) to both the joy of getting a new home as well as the sadness of getting enuthanized. Turn this into a website then eventually a book. Hopefully it will touch somebody as Urban tails touched me. Awareness that pet adoption from shelters should be considered when a family wants a new pet. As well as funding for pet Shelters.

    Just an idea.

  11. Ok so I get to work this morning and was telling a co-worker about your idea hunt. And together we came up with Fergie becoming a reading coach. Children with learning and speech problems have shown increased confidence, better grades and overcome some of their problems by reading to dogs. Some libraries offer this program as well as some schools. If Seattle Public or King County libraries don’t offer this program this is a perfect chance to start one. I promise I will stop with the ideas. Because it looks like you are overwhelmed already. May you be the person your dog thinks you are.

  12. See what happens when you ask for brainstorming. You get the neurons firing. Another idea for you, as you know Seattle and Washington state is full of sports stars, movie stars, authors, and other celebrities. So a calendar or book of those people and their pets. With proceeds to go to rescues,shelters, children’s charities, homeless charities etc. This project would sell outside of the area because of the subjects fans. Bringing more money for the causes. I know that this may be a daunting task but if you used your connections it may not be a tough task. Thanks for what you are doing. A human is not complete without a dog by it’s side.

  13. i have to add that i think it will be wonderful no matter what you choose, but if you don’t choose my idea, may i be crowned the queen of typos? lol.

  14. Yeah for giving back! Okay so I think we should incorporate all your loves. Travel, pets, and photography. Therefore I think one week out of the year ( or more if you can take more time) you should travel to an international shelter and photograph some of the adoptable pets.I don’t think the shoot should take place in the shelter but rather in a gorgeous setting that encompasses your location. I think that creating a number of gorgeous images from the shelter and then selling the prints or creating a calendar where the proceeds will benefit that specific shelter would be awesome. Not to mention you will totally enjoy traveling and challenging yourself in a different location and environment. I also think that you would most likely need an assistant while traveling, and since Christina will probably have to watch Fergie, I volunteer myself 🙂
    Here are a few international shelter links. Viva Mexico!
    Island Fever!

  15. Yeah…BSL is crap! I own a pit bull and if anyone ever tried to take her away from me, you better believe she would just mysteriously “disappear”…and then we would move!

  16. jamie:
    here are a few ideas: 1. with either guide dogs or service dogs, take pictures of the puppies in training all the way through adulthood. you could start either a website or just post on your own blog about their story and everyone could watch as they grow up. (once you have several, you could always do a book as well) you could talk to those organizations and have a link to their site (the link could say donate or “find ways you can help” etc.) 2. pick a shelter in your area and once a week/biweekly/month feature the dog that has been there the longest. a newspaper in columbus one day featured a dog that had been at a local shelter for two years and he was adopted the next day. it could be a great way to get awareness and the touching stories that are behind all these dogs out so they get exposure. anyway, hope this helps! good luck in your endeavor, i hope you find something amazing. 🙂

  17. If you want to push yourself and get out of your comfort zone get out on the streets of your city and many other cities in this country and photograph the homeless and their pets. This would be a very tough project and yet it could be huge. The key would be figuring out a way to create an end “product” if you will that could be sold to help the homeless and their pets. I may add more to this later … let me think on it.

  18. I know my opinion doesn’t matter in what you choose, but I love Jennie’s idea! I’ve always, always, hated those breed laws! So many wonderful family pets have been taken, and I can’t imagine too many things more horrible than that. Even here in ohio we have the most ridiculous law. Dogs such as German Shepherds must have passed the canine good citizens test or they can’t live in a neighborhood. What about all those other dogs?! No one would ever think to make a golden retriever do this! It’s ridiculous. And it needs to stop. Hope you find something that works for you, but I also hope it’s her idea! (can you tell I’m not too concerned with winning the ipod? 😉 ) Or at least something that has to do with positive breed awareness.

  19. I love this idea! Verry creative. I think this creativeness you’ll have no problem selecting/doing something to get back for the world.

    I take it you like music? A lot of artists are doing things all around the world. Sponsoring Love146 (stops sex trafficing and human trafficing), TWLOHA (helps depressed teenagers), and is using thier music to get a message out to the kids.

    You could start your own organization helping animals or people or whatever. You can use this site to sponsor it, or a different organization. The internet is a great place to get things out there. You could donate, donate, donate.

    I take it you like TV/movies? I lot of movie stars out there give large portions of money to organizations. Of course, not all of us have huge amounts of money. You could do fundraisers and give all the money to charities. You could start your own club dedicated to helping charities.

    You like photography? You could go to poverty places around the world and take pictures of the suffering. You could take pictures of abused animals and submit the pictures to anywhere you can. The news, local commericials, this site, other sites, etc.

    If you’re comfortable with public speaking, you could make speeches anywhere you can on how we need to stop abusing animals and how they are going extinct. If you get yourself out there enough, then you’ll keep getting bigger and bigger.

    Volunteer! I’m sure there are many places near you where you can help out. The Humane Society, soup kitchens, even helping out a random person on the street!

    Use your talents to give back. Most of what I wrote about is about talents. If you use talents, then it means a lot more to people and will get you more attention to the cause you’re supporting.

    Even this giveaway is a fantastic! People will see the comments and think ‘wow I can do something like that…’. I applaud you and good luck with what you decide!

    I’ll probably think of more things but this comment is long enough haha.

    Keep giving,

  20. Jamie – you are the most creative person I know and I’m sure you will come up with something phenomenal. And, by the way- you already give back in a huge way by sharing your knowledge and expertise with newbies like me!

    It’s funny, my husband and I have spent hours on this topic – How can we give back? We have photographed animals at shelters, I have designed free websites for shelters and rescue groups and we put together a contest with stories about rescued pets (Happy Endings) and gave away free photo shoots for those animals. Our intention was to create a book of Happy Endings and sell it to raise money for local shelters- but the printing and production turned out to be too expensive (we don’t have enough good contacts in the business -especially in Myrtle Beach!)

    Another idea we had is, kids books- photo books teaching kids how to be good pet guardians, how to train and care for their pets and the importance of spaying and neutering them with all profits going to a Low Cost Spay & Neuter program. (hey, maybe some type of game too!!) How do we teach kids (who will hopefully teach their parents) that pets are not disposable? I don’t know if you have seen the Oregon Humane Societies marketing campaign right now, but I love it! It is “Help End Petlessness” I LOVE the fact that they are not focusing on gloom and doom of life in a shelter, they are focusing on how pets can be a wonderful addition to your family – now if we can teach people how important training and consistency is, pets can become a permanent member of a family and not be given up when it doesn’t “work out”. I’m rambling now . . .sorry! I love your blog, love your work! Thanks for all that you do! 😉

  21. Your photos have made me smile, laugh and cry. With all the emotions that a person can convey in a photo this makes it an excellent medium to help heal wounded psyches. And as we all know a dog’s love and understanding can heal wounded spirits. So my idea for your new life chapter is to help the soldiers at the Seattle Veterans Hospital or Madigan Army Hospital. The young soldiers may not have visible wounds but they are damaged. And need a creative outlet to express themselves. Photography allows them to tell their inner feelings in a safe, non-confrontational way. So you teaching them how to capture those feelings in a photo would give them the confidence to achieve a productive and rewarding life. Maybe you could use dogs from a rescue organization for your models, then use the soldiers photos for a calendar to raise funds for the rescue. Who knows how many souls you could save and heal. Both in the humans and the dogs. May your spirit always have a canine guide.

  22. I was recently reading about Maty the tri pawed dog and thought you could always do free sessions for those who take tri pawed dogs in and give them a loving home. It’s amazing to see what those dogs can do on only 3 legs!

  23. I love the idea of giving back… and people have had some great suggestions for you! Sometimes I find it hard to convince people to allow you to give, as weird as that seems. I have volunteered at three or four shelters now, wanting to spend time with the animals and take photos of them that will draw people in and make them see the personalities of the critters… but no one ever seems to want to take me up on it. They have photographers, with point and shoot cameras, who stand OVER the dog instead of getting on their level… but it’s good enough for them. *sigh*
    At least there have been several organizations that have auctioned off gift certificates from me and I’ve met several fun pets that way! : )
    But anyway, this is not about me.

    I think you should start an organization, perhaps with pet photographers all over the WORLD, that gives to terminally ill pets. Not everyone can afford a professional session with the beautiful images that come from it… but it doesn’t make them any less deserving of having a piece of their best friend to look at and show off forever. And then perhaps an annual book could be put together to be sold and the proceeds could go to an organization that helps sick animals. Then you could be giving to people AND to pets!

  24. I think the biggest form of giving back (at least when it comes to helping animals) is to become a foster parent. My hubby and I have rehomed 11 animals in the past 2 years and we are on #12 (so if anyone is looking for the sweetest lil brindle pit you’ve ever seen, message me!) It’s amazing to watch the transformation from what they are like at … Read Morethe shelter to what they become in a home setting. And you’ve got a great outlet to try and get attention to the cause with your blog.

    There ya have it…not really outside of the box…but its been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done!

    Oh…and here’s another thought…have Fergie trained as a therapy dog. Then the 2 of you get to go visit hospitals and nursing homes and cheer people up w/ “pet therapy”. I want to get my Ivy trained as a therapy dog soon.

  25. What if you did something by having a pet of the week on your site or blog? Partner with one of your local shelters or choose between a few and rotate. Then donate say $0.50-$1.00 each time someone clicks on the link you create that by clicking takes the visitor to the details of that pet. Granted you’ll need to put a cap on the amount of clicks you can afford to contribute but that could help animals find homes and give back to the shelters who rehabilitate them.

  26. I think Big Sisters would be a great idea. You can build a child’s confidence through your own confidence and by giving her skills for her future which may otherwise be grim. You could build a lifelong relationship and incorporate your love for animals into her life as well. You can check it out here not only will you forever change a child’s life you will change your own. There is no greater gift than your time and I’m sure there will be plenty of stories to create a book! I put this up on twitter already and my email is

  27. I have always been so impressed with dogs that work as police officers or do search and rescue. These dogs do this because it’s a job they are trained to do, and are so dedicated. I would love to see a beautiful book (maybe a coffee table book) for these awesome animals and the work they do. Maybe certain proceeds from the book would go to organizations that train these dogs. It could also have pictures of the bond between the dogs and their “partners”, and you could do tribute stories/photos of some of the fallen heroes. To me, I think you would do an awesome job at something like this!

  28. PUBLISH: Put out a call for submission to pet photographers all over the world and ask photographers to submit photos taken of rescue/ shelter/ pound pets and include the story of that pet. You could compile a book of the images/ stories you choose (and your own beautiful images too 🙂 ). Or you could donate your own time and go to Seattle shelters, rescues, pounds and take the photographs yourself. You can find a publisher or use an online publisher. It could be an annual project and you could cover different topics each year. For example, one could be about rescue dogs, another could be a book about humane education perhaps targeted toward children, another could be photographs of different breeds, etc…

    WEBSITE: It’s a fact that a dog with a really good photograph has astronomically higher chances of being adopted. I know that pet photographers try to help out as much as we can – but not every shelter, rescue and pound has a local photographer that they can call on. What if you created a website where pet photographers who are interested in volunteering their time could sign up and list their contact info (by country, state, etc…) so that rescues/ shelters/ pounds could find local photographers interested in helping them. Or vice versa, the shelters could sign up seeking a photographer for their area. On the website you could list tips for photographing pets so that even if there is no local photographer who can help and they ended up having to take the photos themselves, they could then upload their photographs to the website where one of the volunteer pet photographers (located anywhere) could sign in, digitally enhance the photographs for them, and send them back.

    SELL: Create a website where you sell or auction off your artwork (notecards, prints, calendars etc…), photography sessions, time, mentoring etc… and donate profits to the pet charity of your choosing. Perhaps other photographers could donate some of their artwork to help out too?

  29. Well, I’m going to think about this some more and brainstorm some, but, here’s what I’ve got now…

    Lot’s of pet photographers do volunteer their time to shelters and photograph homeless animals. I do too! Of course, I’m not really professional yet, BUT, they are very appreciative because I take better pictures than they do. And, the photos really do help! In the one week my pictures were up on petfinder, they received over 2,000 more hits than normal! I’m sure that other photographers have seen the same results. Unfortunately, the photographers can’t always be there to take photos. I go every week or so to the shelter, but I’m still not able to take photos of all the cats and kittens! Wouldn’t it be great if the photographers were always available?

    My idea is this: Not only teach shelter volunteers to take better photos, but take it a step further and buy them better cameras. If the people who are constantly there at the shelter (the ones who are taking the pictures anyways) can take those nice photos, they’ll be able to promote their animals better. Now you obviously can’t quite reach every single shelter, and there aren’t a bazzilion shelters in your area, you’ll need to take a different approach.
    I’m thinking two things: 1. Team up with other pet photographers or 2. Write a book or make a video of some sort, or on second thought, 3. Make a website. You already have experience in instructing people how to photograph animals, and you certainly know what kind of photos appeal to people. If you could help shelters by donating a nice quality camera and your time, they could help more animals find homes. The quicker the animals move through the shelters the more animals they can take in. You could eventually have all the shelters you helped submit one photo and one story. From there, you could turn it into a book of rescued animals. Another way to fundraise!

    This is just my basic idea… I’m kinda stuck on thinking photography right now. 🙂 But, you could help animals in a very different, fun, totally you, way. It might even turn out to be fun for the shelters you help out. Good luck in finding that perfect idea!!!

  30. offer sessions to pet owners for a $100 donation to your favorite animal charity. no fee other than the donation. the pet of everyone who takes advantage of the offer goes in a book (Pets of Seattle, or whatever you want to name it). The book is sold with a significant portion of the proceeds going to the pet charity. the pet charity may even want to sponsor the book. This gives back to the pet community (owners get a great coffee table book starring their pet) and the animals (i.e. the charity gets money), and you get to meet lots of fabulous pets and their owners! You could also take pictures of the animals at your favorite charity (adoptable? or happily adopted to show outcomes?) and maybe place those photos in the book on pages facing those of ‘owned’ pets of the same breed. Or take before and after photos – pre-and post-adoption!
    It’s a win-win situation! No need to limit it to one species – do dogs, cats, rabbits, snakes, etc!

  31. Oh no this may be somethign I would like to do someday but I am nowhere near being able to do it and you live in Seattle so why not. My idea is that you could find an organization that works with underpriviledged kids (like a boys and girls club) and teach them about the art of photography and the impact pictures can have. (Or maybe kids that are enrolled in a photo class at a high school.) Have a field trip day where you give the kids a disposable digital camera (or get a sponsor that would give you the cameras) and have them take pictures of dogs either in shelters or your own models. Kids have such a different perspective on the world and having them be so small and almost at the dogs level could produce some great unique images. It would be neat if you could find a local store (coffee shop, pet boutique, library, etc) that could then display one photo from each student and have an art show. The students could even sell their images with proceeds going to a non-profit organization. You would be using your skills to reach out to kids who may not be exposed to art and in the process helping your community. And if you did a book with the kids images you could profile each dog and artist as well. Or maybe even have each artist write a blurb about their image, kids words (and handwriting) can be soo cute too.

  32. I am pretty new to your blog, but why don’t you publish a dog photography book and have some of the proceeds go to an animal resuce or animal organization.

    I have to say that I like all of the other comments too!

  33. Oh, I have another one (this is probably going to be a common occurrence but that’s what you get when you ask for brainstorming :))…Check to see if your local hospital (particularly the terminally ill children’s and adults ward) allows therapy dogs and their handlers to visit. After you and Fergie pass the qualifications for therapy dogs and their handlers, you could either join the hospitals therapy dog program OR create one yourself (which can be done at nursing homes as well). Fergie’s visits to these children or the sick or the elderly would be worth more than you could possibly imagine and you could tell their stories for them.

  34. Oh and I’m sorry, I didn’t really get into the thoughts on how to conduct the project…. I guess there are tons of ways to do it, but I’ve always envisioned it as “the faces of BSL” and either photos and stories of dogs that have been affected, or stories of some really amazing dogs that have or could be affected. Pits and other bully breed dogs that have saved lives… Pits that have survived horrible things.

  35. On the 10th of November 2009 we had to put Lily, our 12 year old miniature poodle down. She had been battling kidney failure for more than a year and there was nothing more we could do. Of course dialysis was an option, but we were getting to the point where we were keeping her alive for our own benefit and not noticing the pain that she was enduring on a daily basis. So, as you can imagine, it was one of the hardest things that my wife and I ever had to do. Now, I’m not trying to bring sadness to the contest, but after having talked to a number of people in situations similar to ours, many of them all regretted not having much to remember their pets by. Fortunately for us, I was able to collect all of our photos of Lily and put a photobook together. In addition to that I created an online tribute ( that we were able to share with everyone who knew her.

    Having said that, I guess my idea would be to reach out to the friends/family/clients who have lost their little ones and offer them away to find the happiness and joy amidst the sadness of their loss. It sure helped us get through the rough days.

    Ok, if that’s at all confusing, please do not hesitate to contact me.

  36. Hi Jamie. I remember talking to you recently via Twitter a week or so ago about Breed specific Legislation. many people DO NOT realize the imact that these laws can have. By impact I mean nagative. Many do not realize that BSL is not limited to pitbulls. Breeds such s pit mixes, staffies, dobermans, rotties, mastiffs and more are often targeted. God forbid BSL ever came to Seattle, Fergie would most likely be targeted, as she looks slightly pit. Never say never, because the city of Denver Co reinstated their pitbull ban. Loving family dogs were pulled from their homes and destroyed. In two months the city destroyed almost 400 dogs. Here is an article: The thought of any animal being taken from their family breaks my heart. I have spokn to people at A.W. conferences that tell stories of people hiding in their homes with their dogs until their house sold, or only walking their dog at night for fear of their dog being confiscated. This country and the world need to recognize the beauty and regalness of this breed. People need to see that this breed is amazingly loving and kind, not vicious. I think a motivated person and fabulous photographer such as yourself has the contacts and talent to make a project like this happen. Whether it be a beautifully put together ad for some of the major animal rights groups to use, or a book, I know it could make a major impact. An impact that is long overdue. Best of luck with your project, no matter what you choose.

  37. You and Fergie could volunteer your services as a search and rescue team with SAR (or a similar organization) finding lost children, people and victims of natural (or not so natural) disasters. Not only will you be helping save lives, the experience would be completely book worthy.

  38. With all of your contacts, I’d think globally and get pet photographers from all over the world involved in participating. PPA has done something like this for people. It could be a month where every pet photographer that signs up donates a certain dollar amount per session they do – whatever makes the most sense for them. I think the charity should help people who can’t afford to spay and neuter their dogs and cats. Lots of pet photographers donate their services to photograph these dogs and cats in the shelters, but how great would it be if there weren’t that many to photograph! Alternatively, the money could go towards cancer research in animals. Wait, another idea, instead of picking a charity right now, you could set up a Cowbelly Foundation (or a Fergie Foundation) where animal-related charities could request funds.

  39. I really think that you have a great opportunity to give back to the community. One way to do this could be to work with the local SPCA or Humane Society and offer portraits for their pets that are up for adoption. Whenever I look at their sites the animals always look a bit un-loved and sad. With your talents and creativity, you could really reach out to the community of animals AND humans by posting some portraits of the animals in need to your blog, and linking the photos back to the SPCA/Humane Society. You would be interacting with the pets in a new way for them, while hopefully helping reach out to the community and finding them a good home.

    Good Luck!

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