The Model Pet Project is Boosting Adoptions at Humane Society of Southwest Missouri

The Model Pet Project, founded in April 2012 by April Turner of UTurn Studios, Robin Bulster of Missouri Marketing and Misti Fry of Springfield Side Kick Dog Training, is a volunteer-based photography program whose goal is to boost adoption rates and showcase the personalities of individual animals at the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri.

Available soon at Humane Society Southwest Missouri
Available soon at Humane Society Southwest Missouri (Copyright UTurnStudios)

This wonderful program is changing the public’s perception of what a shelter pet looks like. Each month these ladies, along with their core volunteers Debi Dela Cruz, Mika Logan and Tara Hastings, hold a photo session where they reach a total of 50 animals at the Humane Society. Through exercise, play, treats, they coax out the individual traits of each dog and cat they photograph. The Model Pet Project believes

“By shining a light on these pets and showing them at their best, we prove that a shelter pet can be a model member of any family.”

Each pet photographed is given individual attention with the hope a potential adoptive family will view that animal and realize shelter guest animals can be model members of any household. The ladies have quite a bit of fun too – the photos are always the “icing on the cake” for them.

Reba, age 11, is sitting pretty (Copyright UTurnStudios)
Reba, age 11, is sitting pretty(Copyright UTurnStudios)

Mostly, they all enjoy the opportunity to socialize and provide love and comfort to these animals in need. April’s photos always capture the pets’ personalities so well and they’re beginning to see a change from within the shelter environment as well as local rescue organizations about the way people adopt based on their initial impression of an animal.

The Model Pet Project team is always in need of additional volunteer support at their monthly photo sessions. If you are interested in getting involved with The Model Pet Project, please contact them through the contact tab or give them a call at (417) 844-6620. Visit their website at UTurn Studios for more information. Their Facebook page can be found here and they’re also on Instagram.

Elisa Taylor

Elisa's articles have helped save thousands of the shelter pets she writes about, along with animal welfare and cruelty case articles which are published on as well as her personal website at (National Cat Reporter). Elisa lives with her daughter and a multitude of cats (including one cat­-dog named Cujo). As a writing "addict" Elisa enjoys sharing interesting stories with other animal lovers.