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Your best shot

Readers submit their best photos to All Animals magazine

All Animals magazine, March/April 2018

Photo by Brian Murphy

I’ve been a wildlife photographer for a long time—watching animals is enjoyable and a stress reliever for me. A big part is being respectful of wildlife, and I think animals can sense that I don’t want anything but a photo. I discovered this gray fox family using a storm drain below my deck as a den. I’ve never seen California’s native gray fox up close, so it was a great opportunity to watch and learn about them.

One night while I watched the cubs playing, the mom showed up. She looked at me, then climbed up onto a garage roof next to my deck, walked to the edge about 15 feet away from me, and continued to watch me. I guess I checked out OK, because she got down and let me sit there watching the cubs.

For this photo, I got lucky. The cubs went out mostly at night, but one morning I saw them come out to enjoy the sunlight. I grabbed my camera, sat on a chair and enjoyed watching them play for about an hour. Baby animals are just plain cute, and I like sharing my photos of these cubs with my friends. It’s great to see how excited people get looking at the photos with big smiles as they 'ooh' and 'aww.' I’m happy to help lighten people's spirits!

Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, California

Photo by Mary McCoy

Butters came into my life just two weeks before I lost my father unexpectedly. His death sent me into a dark space, and Butters is one of the reasons I was able to break out of that mental cycle. He was very naughty when he was young. The first night at our house, he tore up a pillow that I had gotten as a vacation souvenir. He also got under our couch and chewed his way inside—we had to cut open the couch to get him out. I knew I had to be able to care for Butters and manage his behavior, and that helped snap me out of my darkness.

I feel like it was fate for my family to end up with Butters. We adopted him in January 2008, when he was just 10 months old. We went to an event at a PetSmart to check out the cats they had for adoption. That night we went home to think about which one we wanted and decided to get a female cat, Butters’ sister. Well, we went back to PetSmart the following night and all but one cat had been adopted out. By chance, the women fostering Butters were there, getting ready to take him back to their home. They put him on my lap, and I was in love. We took him home that night.

These days Butters has calmed down… or maybe we’re just used to his antics. He’s been such a blessing not only to me, but to so many others. I share his photos on social media and get messages from followers saying that his photos and videos have brightened their day and help relieve their anxiety. Those messages are what keep me sharing Butters' life.  

Mary McCoy, Monroeville, Pennsylvania

Photo by Paige Zito

Cali was the first animal I ever adopted. I had been wanting to get another dog for a while after my black Lab passed on, and I was open to the idea of adopting. I went in to a shelter in Orlando, Florida, in September of 2016 knowing that I wanted a dog, no matter what the breed was. I played with quite a few dogs, but they were uninterested or too distracted. I was just about to leave when I looked down and saw Cali’s face. She was quietly lying against the gate among the other loud, barking dogs. After about 10 minutes of playing with her, I knew she was the one for me. When I called her name, she came right up to me and started giving me kisses. She had the biggest smile and seemed so happy.

From her looks, some people would say Cali is a pit bull-type dog. We shouldn't judge any breed—instead, we should take each dog as its own. In this photo, you can see how loving she is. I took this picture at home in the evening, a little before bedtime. Cali loves to sleep in my bed and snuggle, and she always has to be next to me. I love this photo because I look at that adorable face of hers and I feel loved. She is truly my family, and I feel lucky that I am able to provide her with a home and spoil her as much as I can. I always buy her the cutest collars and give her many treats, which she loves, of course. She also loves to go outside, so I take her out walking as much as possible. It makes me so happy to see her beautiful face so content, being the spoiled girl she is.

Paige Zito, Orlando, Florida

Do you have an inspiring photo of a wild animal, favorite pet or rescued farm 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 2 MB.

Questions? Email allanimals@humanesociety.org »

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