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Friday, September 11, 2009

Douglas Hodgkins Photography


In March of this year, I received an E-mail from a student studying digital photography, who wanted to do his final project on Save a Sato. Sounded like a simple thing - take some photos of the satos at partner shelters and in their homes and put it together in a slide show or Quicktime movie....what it blossomed into was a remarkable multimedia project detailing the journey of the satos and a lasting friendship.

Over the next few months, Doug Hodgkins took more than two thousand photos and spent many weekends photographing for the project. He and I first met at Logan airport in March, where he documented the arrival of a transport of dogs from San Juan to Boston. I could immediately see his dedication as he worked.

Doug photographing the satos arrival at Logan airport (photo by Tracey Goodwin)

Doug then visited two of our partner shelters and captured the satos as they waited for their new families to find them. He quickly realized that this documentary could not be complete unless he made the trip to Puerto Rico to capture the beginning of the journey. Being a sato owner himself, he knows the situation on the island, and felt he had to share it in order to tell the whole story. Doug would soon be covering many miles on behalf of the satos!

He arrived on an evening flight in San Juan, and was up early to begin his day with Leilani. She had Doug out first thing to try to locate and rescue a "little white dog" someone wrote to us about. They found the dog, fed her some food and were ready to take her to the shelter but noticed that with her was another little dog, that would not get to close out of fear. They could see the bond that these two dogs had for each other, and the tough decision was made not to take one without the other, Leilani knew she was not going to be able to get the second dog, so sadly they left them there. This is life for our rescuers, sometimes they have to leave a dog or two behind, and it is heartbreaking.

 
The female eagerly accepts food from Leilani, while the male will not come close, not even with the tempting food (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography)

So off to the shelter with a heavy heart, to photograph the dogs currently in our care. Doug spent the day taking more than a thousand photos of the shelter, the volunteers and the wonderful dogs - I am quite sure Gloria put him to work doing other things while he was there! Everyone had such a great time during his visit, the satos had their own professional photographer for the day!


Doug at work at the shelter in San Juan, while a sato checks to be sure he is working hard (Photo by Cybelle Cartagena)

After a long day at the shelter, Leilani and Doug could not get the two little dogs from the morning off their minds. They convinced Gloria they had to go back to get them. So as the sun was setting, the three went back out to rescue the two beautiful dogs.

 
Gloria patiently trying to gain trust with the male (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography)

The female was easy, she let Gloria pick her right up (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography

 
Getting closer, he wanted to be with his sister so badly (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography

And the photos stop here....why? Because Doug put down his camera in order to help Gloria and Leilani rescue the dogs! In the end the male was finally rescued, and he and his sister were appropriately named Doug and Dottie, after our photographer and his wife. Both have since been adopted together by a loving family in Boston!
Back in Boston, Doug and I met at the home of one of our adopters to take photos of some special satos in their forever homes. We had a wonderful day talking about the dogs and taking photos! Special thanks to Joanne and Halley for hosting our photo shoot!

Halley and sato Ruby (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography

After many weeks of photographing, Doug had the material he needed for his project. He began with a slide show presentation, and worked his way toward completion of the multimedia project which was completed in June. He spent months working on this project, and the end result is an amazing video depicting the journey of the satos from the streets of Puerto Rico to their forever homes on the mainland.

I could not in my wildest dreams have imagined such a beautiful and moving tribute to the satos and the volunteers that rescue them. The project can be seen in the YouTube video Finding Forever: The Story of the Satos of Puerto Rico and the People Who Save Them (located in the side bar on this blog) or by going to - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BveLPhPFQ2g

I still have not been able to find the words to thank Doug for his dedication to this project. We will be able to show this video for years to come, and it will benefit the satos in ways that we can't even imagine. His dedication and commitment to telling the story in a new and exciting way, will help thousands of satos and teach the world about their situation.

Tonight is the Gallery Opening at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts Boston University, Waltham Campus, where one of Doug's photos from the project will be featured. Visit http://www.cdiabu.com/oh-times.php for details on visiting the gallery.

We want to congratulate Doug on his graduation from CDIA, and thank him so much for this tremendous gift to the dogs and to Save a Sato. And I cannot forget to thank Pirate, the sato Doug rescued in Culebra, PR a few years ago, for being the inspiration for this project.

Pirate (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography

Yes you have Pirate...yes you have.

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