With dogs barking all around him, Walter Chacon rolls his gear into the Miami-Dade Animal Services Shelter. He started volunteering last September, after seeing pets' pictures taken with a webcam.
He thought they looked like mug shots. "I was really upset," said Chacon. "My main goal is to replace all those webcam pictures with portraits."
He's well on his way, at 1,500 animals and counting. Chacon stops by three times a week and snaps images of 20 dogs and cats each time. But he can do up to 40 in a day if necessary.
"It makes me feel good," he said.
Volunteer coordinator Melissa Sorokin doesn't count how many animals have been adopted since Chacon started taking what she calls "amazing Hollywood glamour shots." But she emphasizes "it makes a difference.
"More people come into the shelter, I'm certain," she said.
Sorokin notes two different dogs were adopted by families out of town. Their new owners spotted the portraits.
"It's good therapy for me," said Chacon, who takes professional portraits of pets and people.
To check out the pictures yourself, go to www.miamidade.gov/animals/.