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Your best shot

Readers submit their best photos to All Animals magazine

All Animals magazine, November/December 2017

Photo by David Sices

I've always loved photographing animals of all kinds because they're beautiful and pose so naturally. Now 84, I don't venture out very far for my wildlife pictures and instead enjoy the animals at my retirement community. Our nature-loving residents enjoy seeing squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer and the occasional opossum, not to mention numerous birds, from chickadees to red-shouldered hawks.

Because the community stocks its small pond, this great blue heron has been coming to fish there every few weeks for some time. (We assume it’s the same heron, but even our resident ornithologist can't swear it's always the same one!) Since we're harmless folks, the heron pays us no attention and goes on searching the water for fish—even when an elderly, ungainly gentleman sneaks up close for a photo.

David Sices, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Photo by Eryka Larena-Lacayo

My boyfriend and I found little Meatball abandoned in our front yard in October 2016, during Hurricane Matthew, and we saved her from the rain. She was the tiniest little kitten. What can I say—we were smitten. We are cat lovers and there was something about her that charmed us right away. We fed her, gave her shelter and most importantly, we gave her love.

Meatball was a ball of energy as well as a ball of love. She would get so excited to see us that she would meow the way dogs bark. Watching her run after us was funny, too; she would sometimes tumble over from her little belly. She loved to play, whether it was with our hands, a little ball or a string. She would bounce around while trying to keep up with us. But the best part was when she wanted to snuggle. She could curl herself into a little ball and lay on our chest, our lap or in between us.

Sadly, after a month of life with us, she passed away in her sleep. We don’t know the cause, but our hearts were broken. This little Meatball had filled our hearts with so much joy. I took this photo in our backyard at sunset, and I love the way the blue planter makes her eyes pop. I can look back at this photo and it feels like she's still looking at us, because this is how she looked at us every day. We loved her very much. 

Eryka Larena-Lacayo, Miami, Florida

Photo by Kathleen

Hamsten had been in an Albuquerque shelter for three months when my husband and I adopted him in 2012. I suffer from clinical depression but didn’t realize that I needed treatment until we brought Hamsten home. I was so upset by the change in our life that I finally got into therapy. During this time, my husband worked with a dog trainer whose mission is to keep rescue dogs in their homes, and she gave us tons of free advice over the phone.

Once I got used to having him around, it didn’t take me long to realize that Hammie really was a perfect first dog. It helped that my husband had pets all his life and assured me that some of Hamsten's behaviors and challenges—like the time he got his head stuck in his crate or when he ate through a bunch of drywall—weren’t all that unusual. We’ve continued to learn together through therapy dog training and agility training, and Hamsten got a roomie this past April when we adopted Alto from a local shelter. Hammie converted me into a dog person.

This photo was taken in my home. Hamsten likes to lay down with his head on whatever you're sitting on when he wants to be petted… or I could have been eating something and he's begging here! He’s just an amazing dog. He is super calm and hardly ever barks. He loves people, walks and snacks. He is nine now and, according to the vet, still very healthy, so hopefully we'll get a few more years together. He saved—and is still saving—my life.

Kathleen, Kansas


Do you have an inspiring photo of a favorite pet, rescued farm animal or wild animal? Please share it!


Submit your photo to us for possible publication in All Animals or on our website, along with an explanation of 250 words or fewer about why it's meaningful to you.

Submitted photos should be at least 300 dpi at a size of 8" by 10" and at least 2MB. (You may also send hard copy submissions to All Animals—Your Best Shot, The HSUS, 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20037. Hard copies cannot be returned.)

Questions? Email allanimals@humanesociety.org »

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