In 2006. I was considering adopting a new dog and I joined the forum for a rescue near me (in the days before social media). I was drawn to this group because the person who ran the rescue was a photographer, and he took beautiful photographs that tapped into the souls of the dogs in his care. The first time I saw Iggy it was in one such photograph of him and his 7 littermates.

Iggy stood out to me for many reasons: The photos I saw captured more than what you were seeing on the surface. He was significantly larger than the other pups but simultaneously subdued, and he looked like a deep thinker: An old soul, sitting back and taking it all in, who also needed reassurance from his someone special.

When I met him in person, I immediately fell even more in love with the depth behind his then vibrant green eyes. I saw his uniqueness and I felt the beginning of a soul connection that would eventually inspire the founding of HeARTs Speak. I was even told he might have a heart condition, (which turned out not to be true) but honestly none of that mattered. He was my dog.

Iggy was my rock, my co-pilot, always by my side 24/7 for 13 years and 8 months. Through my own cancer diagnosis, the loss of my father, my aunt, and all the ups and downs life throws at you, he was there. I was his person, and he, my dog. Because of him, I am a better person and I believe the world is a kinder place for animals.

I know many of you have similar stories of the pets that changed your life. The past year has been difficult for animals like ours who are still waiting for homes, as the pandemic continues to restrict shelters’ activities. Now more than ever, the key to that home is being seen online, with imagery and marketing powerful enough to create a soul connection with a pet in need. Our programs provide shelters and rescues with the resources to make those connections happen faster.

Our work here at HeARTs Speak continues to center on giving each animal in need the opportunity to be seen, and to become as valued, beloved, and life-changing as our own soul pets. You can help make this possible by ensuring that shelter and rescue pets get their moment in the spotlight, even in the toughest moments.