Giving back – Animal Rescue Volunteer Photographer


It started with a photo.  A quick snapshot of a little puppy not quite sure where he was or where he’d end up.  His name is Baxter and he is the reason you’ve found my site!  Tara Lynn & Co. would not exist without him.

My husband saw his photo on in 2008 after we first visited our local shelters. Baxter’s bio said he lived with a family with seven children. They moved out and the landlord found him in the backyard in the middle of the night scared, alone, and with an injured paw.  We knew instantly he was “the one.” 

Little three-month-old Baxter was two-and-a-half-hours away at a shelter in Florence, South Carolina.  I drove up from Charleston.  My husband drove from Chapel Hill.  We met our pup on the front porch and fell in love.  Baxter would be living with Brandon in Chapel Hill.  No problem right? I never grew up with dogs, only cats, so I didn’t think I would be so attached. Boy was I wrong.

Pet Helpers – Charleston, S.C.

Within two weeks of adopting Baxter, I was signed up to volunteer at a shelter down the street, Pet Helpers, to walk dogs and love on them…really trying to get my fill of puppy love since Baxter was four hours away!  After a few rounds of volunteering, I noticed the adoptable dogs’ photos were often not up on the website.  This is a common problem at shelters where the staff is stretched thin.  I offered to take photos of the pups because I knew this would up their chances of being adopted.  After all, that’s how we found Baxter!

I started out with my point-and-shoot and captured some good shots.  But I wanted to do better. I purchased my first DSLR camera from a local photographer who showed me the ropes.  The pictures started to make a big difference, helped free up time for the staff and it filled my heart with so much joy.

I specifically remember the shelter (Pet Helpers) posting a particular photo of a pup named Sunshine on their Facebook page.  Somebody immediately commented that they were interested and drove to the shelter later that day to adopt Sunshine based on his photo! Wow!  One photo certainly made a difference for that dog!

The SPCA of Wake County – Raleigh, N.C.

When I moved to Raleigh in 2011, I began volunteering for the SPCA of Wake County to take photos of the animals looking for forever homes.  We also had monthly themed photo shoots to highlight overlooked dogs. Check out one of my favorite Pit Crew Glamour Shot sessions here.  No matter what mood I walked in with, I’m always light as a feather and smiling when I walk out. 
Volunteer pet photographer Tara Lynn takes a break to hug a black dog at the SPCA of Wake County

I had the opportunity to photograph dozens of dogs the SPCA rescued from puppy mills, and even documented and assisted on the scene of a Brunswick County puppy mill bust in August of 2012.  I am proud to have shared my gift with the SPCA of Wake County for nearly ten years.

Pink the pup at the SPCA of Wake County

Toby was one of my favorite long-timers at the SPCA

Triangle Beagle Rescue of North Carolina

My husband is also to thank for my involvement with Triangle Beagle Rescue of North Carolina. He grew up with beagles and Baxter is clearly at least half-beagle. I first started volunteering with this foster-based rescue in 2012. Nearly every year since I have held a fundraising photo booth at the annual Beaglefest event. We also host a special holiday photo fundraiser with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Each photo booth event usually raises about $1250 or more!

Some of my favorite memories with TBR include photographing Marge and Rodgers’ bucket list wedding and the rescue of more than 100 beagles from the Envigo testing lab in 2022.

Marge and Rogers’ Wedding

Rescued beagle touches grass for the first time

Saving Grace Animal Rescue – Wake Forest, N.C.

In 2023, I joined the volunteer team at Saving Grace Animal Rescue to photograph adoptable dogs monthly.

Helping these pups find homes with a great photo overflows my heart. Of course, some puppy snuggles in between photos are also a plus. Saving Grace and its founder, Molly Goldston, have created a paradise for dogs waiting to find forever homes. The open space is inviting and allows the dogs’ personalities to really shine.



Dogs enjoying the open field at Saving Grace Animal Rescue

Tara Lynn is a proud member of Hearts Speak, a non-profit that helps shelter animals be seen and find homes, ultimately transforming public perceptions of pet adoption, shelters, and animals in need.

Interested in booking a session with Tara Lynn? Please fill out the form below! You can also email me directly at tara (at) inbetweentheblinks (dot) com or call me at (757) 406-2752.

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