I believe we can help the world to become a better place by giving back and helping others. It might be a very selfish way to look at it, but when we help others it feels so good that I actually think we end up helping ourselves too in the process.
I was recently in Brazil teaching a few Pet Photography workshops. And I made sure I saved some time on my busy schedule to visit and to do volunteer photographic work for AILA – Alianca International do Animal. This is a non-profit animal shelter organization located in Sao Paulo. Their work is admirable! I was very impressed with their facilities and amazed to see and feel that the dogs seem actually very happy living in there! They present no signs of stress what so ever! Honestly, they seem at peace!
Maybe it’s because AILA feels more like a sanctuary then your typical animal shelter. The facility is huge with 6 acres, and the dogs are not confined in kennels like we normally see on our local dog shelters here in the US. There most of the dogs are free to walk around the property and just live a normal dog life. The other dogs are in big fenced-in areas which still give them lots of room to walk around, play, run, and again just be dogs.
The staff divides the dogs into packs based on their size, personality, and behavior. If a newcomer is put into a pack and for some reason, he is rejected by the pack or it wasn’t a good fit due to behavior issues, then the staff will try another pack for the newcomer. The staff is a small group of dedicated and caring people who are just wonderful at what they do!
There are about 900 dogs on their facility now. Yes, that is, correct 900 dogs! However, these numbers change daily as some dogs get adopted but new ones come in every day. Well, as mentioned AILA feels more like a sanctuary, so that said, many dogs are residents and are not going to be adopted any time soon. Some are at the old ages, others present some sort of health issues and some other presented behavior issues. Therefore, unfortunately, unadoptable animals in the eyes of the public. These dogs have their forever home right there at AILA’s. They don’t seem to feel sad about it though. I really got the vibe they love living there!
The non-profit organization was founded in the late 90s by actually an American woman from Long Island, NY. Her name is Ila Franco. I had the pleasure of meeting her briefly, she is a wonderful human being with a heart filled with love & kindness!
I was very impressed and happy to see how the dogs live a more somewhat fulfilled life at this shelter! It was not difficult to photograph them at all. They were very calm dogs, even the puppies sat still for a group photo. Well, full disclosure this photo may or may not have some Photoshop work done hehe.
I had an amazing time visiting this fantastic organization. The energy I felt in that place was so nice that I actually wanted to live there myself. No wonder why some dogs don’t want to leave either!
It was such a great experience overall but photographing all these beautiful dogs was the very best part of my day.
I would like to thank Ju Bannach journalist and founder of FalaCão for organizing this meeting between myself and this wonderful animal shelter organization during my stay in São Paulo, Brazil. Gratitude to you my dear! ❤️
And thank Fernanda Cerioni for being my assistant for this volunteering project. We dealt with very challenging lighting conditions as we were photographing in the middle of the day with harsh lighting, but in the end, the photos came out great. Yay! Thanks for your help, my dear friend.
If you’d like to know more about or donate to this wonderful animal shelter organization, this is where they can be found:
Thanks for reading it!
Until next time all we need is love (and a dog) 🙂