Skip to content

Lucky girl: Shelter pets in Idaho need homes for the holidays

    a shelter dog all dressed up for Christmas

    Listen to this post:

    She’s going home for the holidays.

    Lucky caught my eye on one of my first visits to the Companions Animal Center in Hayden, Idaho, and she stole my heart.

    A 3-year-old Dogo Argentino, she took one look at me, dropped to the ground and rolled over for belly rubs.

    She must have known I would be a willing scritcher … well practiced too.

    a Dogo Argentino rolls over for belly rubs
    Belly rubs for Lucky!

    A desire to give back

    I first became associated with the Companions Animal Center, a no-kill shelter, last spring when I approached their development director, Vicky Nelson, about a possible fundraiser.

    She loved the idea … and the help.

    The Coolest Dog of the Inland Northwest photo contest was born. Dog lovers from around Spokane and North Idaho entered photos of their dogs and then coerced, cajoled and convinced friends and family to vote for them.

    The top 12 vote-getters won portrait sessions with me and one image from each shoot created a 2004 wall calendar.

    The contest raised $3,200 and the calendar continues to bring a little much-needed cash into the CAC’s bank account. Eight dollars from the sale of each calendar becomes a donation to the shelter!

    I continue to volunteer with the shelter, a fully donation-funded nonprofit, to ensure they have great images of their adoptable dogs. I’ve even taken a few pictures of cats

    The work is foundational to my mission at Big White Dog Photography to do only good, or D.O.G.

    Finding them homes for the holidays

    It’s so hard to not fall in love with every dog that crosses in front of my lens and, if I could, I would bring them all home. 

    That, of course, isn’t possible, so I do what I can to help them find the homes they need.

    My friend Anita Parisot is the volunteer and events coordinator at the CAC. Anita and Communications Director Hillary Darty came up with the idea of a pets Advent calendar in the leadup to Christmas.

    Each day, they would reveal a different adoptable dog or cat in the hope they could find them homes for their holidays. The adoption fee for each featured future pet is half off.

    Would I help with photos?

    Hell’s yes, I would.

    a shelter dog raises his head in song at the Companions Animal Center, a no-kill shelter in North Idaho
    Hugo sings the song of his people

    We braved pouring rain, some challenging light conditions, that in-between cold that isn’t frigid, isn’t mild but still gets into your bones, and migraines (me) and over the course of three weeks, we got photos of 25 different animals for the calendar.

    As of today, four dogs, including Lucky, and five cats have found their new homes.

    On a sad note, Sam, this gorgeous husky, has been adopted twice … and returned twice. 

    Sam the husky is an adoptable dog waiting for a home at Companions Animal Center in Idaho

    Folks, before you decide to adopt a certain breed, please educate yourselves on those breed traits and have a home that’s prepared to house that breed.

    And don’t lie to your shelter or rescue representatives. I understand now why some private rescues have home inspections before finalizing an adoption.

    A bittersweet farewell

    Tim is one of the volunteer dog walkers at the Companion Animals Center.

    Last January, his wife left our physical realm and he needed that supportive, comforting space that only a dog can provide.

    He too attached to Lucky as soon as he set eyes on her.

    He fell so in love with this beautiful girl that Anita had me drop over to the shelter for a quick photo shoot with Tim and Lucky, on their last day together.

    shelter volunteer says goodbye to Lucky, the Dogo Argentino who found her home for the holidays
    Lucky and Tim

    Christmas at Chez Bella

    We’ll be hunkering down in our jammies for the weekend, a cup of warm cider in one hand and the other kept free for scritches and belly rubs.

    Stay tuned for some super big news next week. It’s that personal project I’ve been hinting at for months! I posted about it on Facebook and Instagram yesterday.

    And if you have some free time, a willing heart and a need for your own scritches and belly rubs, give Anita a jingle at Companions Animal Center. They can always use more volunteers.

    In the meantime, Bella and I wish you all a very happy holidays. We’re looking forward to a kickass 2024.

    Find your next adventure

    Download your copy of our 5 Favorite Close-To-Home Hikes and subscribe to the Big White Dog newsletter. You’ll be the first to know about news, promos and model calls!


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    8 thoughts on “Lucky girl: Shelter pets in Idaho need homes for the holidays”

    1. What could be better than featuring adoptable shelter pets in a holiday blog? Answer: Adding a video with Fa-la-la-la-la music! Loved this post. Great work with this shelter. I hope they all soon find great places to land, especially Sam.

    2. My goodness these photos of shelter dogs are amazing! If that doesn’t help them find homes I’d be surprised. You are doing amazing work for shelter dogs of Idaho

    3. The Companions Animal Center is lucky to have you photographing their adoptable dogs! This is such a wonderful campaign, and I hope all the shelter dogs find their perfect home for the holidays (or should I say howlidays).

    4. I love everything about this, Angela!!! Thank you for helping these shelter dogs find their forever homes. The images are beautiful! You know I love that husky and would have my own sled dog team if I could haha! Great video, too! Hope you and Bella and Chip have a Merry Christmas – bring on an amazing 2024!!!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *