| Senior Model Volunteer Event – Take ONE | PawPrints Ministries Decatur, IL Comfort Dogs |

Last week we had the first ever SJP senior model service day! If you have been following our 2018 senior models on facebook and instagram you know this year, more than ever, we are making senior year about more than just portraits… it’s about creating experiences! While some of these are fun and just for us (like the new pop-up sessions which just recently included carnival lights and rides and super melty ice cream and a few fireworks), I wanted to also make sure that some of these experiences were about others. So, one day last week we scheduled some time to give back to a fabulous local organization Paw Prints Ministries.

You might remember them from the recent headshots I did for a few of the pups on the team. I was so happy that Jennifer (a past client of mine) was excited to partner with us and let us come in to lend a hand. While we’d hoped to have more hands to lend, those of you with teenagers know summer schedules can fill up quite quickly and between camps, summer jobs and illness our full lineup of models was quickly reduced to Jaiden and I! We may have been a small ‘group’ but we sure were mighty and stuffed over a box load of cancer care packages and tragedy gift bags.

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Payton and Enzo were there to lend a hand too!

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Payton’s clearly supervising here!

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Check out all the goodies packaged into these care bags.

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If you follow me on snapchat you got a lot of behind the scenes looks at what we were up to that day including some fun videos of us attempting a group photo with the pups!

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After our time at headquarters we headed over the the Decatur Conference Center for a training session. It was so fun to see a few dogs at different stages of training. To see what they struggled with and what they were able to pick up and learn in even just one session. Check out Enzo fighting the distractions (even of a favorite toy) and staying put on his table.

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And this happy guy was working so hard and learning so quick to ignore all us distractions in the room and follow his owner’s lead.

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Jaiden got in there to attempt to distract them too, this awesome guy didn’t move once!

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Pawprints provides cancer care packages to those going through the often tough cancer treatments and include items like chapstick, hand sanitizer, lotion, tissues, candy, socks, scarves, hats, etc. They also provide small care packages with a prayer, tissues, candy and chapstick when they attend gatherings where there may have been a disaster or life loss. These are small offerings provided to bring comfort along with the presence of their dogs.

Last year when I spent much of the year in the hospitals and long-term care facilities with my mother there was one particular hospital which had a beagle comfort dog free-roaming the halls/rooms at least a dozen times I was there and in places like these, especially long-term care hospitals where there’s not much hope of your visit being short or even pleasant, this pup brought a smile to so many faces and a lightness to the air felt by both staff, patients and families like myself. Since that experience, I’ve had a special place in my heart for these dogs and I’m so glad that our first service project could be with them!

You can learn more  about PawPrints Ministries HERE and you can contribute to these cancer care kits by dropping off items to the PawPrints Ministries office at 226 W Eldorado in Decatur and you can learn more about what the kids can contain HERE. To continue our support of this organization we’ll be adding a cancer care kit box to the studio where clients can bring donations to add to these kits!

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