Drive More Dog Adoptions in 2016

I'm putting together an initiative called PixelPaws to provide free  photography and marketing services for rescue agencies, animal shelters and individuals alike.

Every dog has a unique story; by using my skills in photography, web-design and digital marketing, I can capture and share each dogs' tale with the ultimate goal of finding a loving, caring home for each one. 

The goal is to drive 50+ adoptions in the first year. 


+ Free professional photo session for any dog that is up for adoption
+ Free professional copywriting to describe each dogs' unique personality
+ Website that showcases each dog in beautiful high-definition, with links and info on adoption

+ Resources for those who are considering adopting a dog in the lower mainlaind

+ Community & Social campaigns to raise awareness through photographs, updates and success stories

+ LEASH Animal Welfare Society
+ Any individual or family who is forced to give their dog up for adoption due to unforeseen circumstances (such as relocation, having children, allergies, etc.)



At any given time there are literally hundreds of dogs in the lower mainland who are in need of a loving home. While some are classified as 'strays', a much larger number comes from dog owners who are forced to move and are unable to bring their pets with them. This results in a large number of smart, loving dogs with no home, and no family.

To make matters worse, it’s no secret that dogs are difficult subjects to photograph. But for a dog living in a shelter, a bad photo on the listing could mean the difference between finding a loving home and spending their lives in limbo, or worse.

It's a fact - humans are attracted to visually striking images. 
When a dog is photographed with proper composition, colour and exposure — not to mention personality — they’re given a story that people can’t help but connect with.

Basically, the better your image looks, the more people are going to want it. 

So unfortunately the Kijiji ad that you put up looking for a 'loving home' is likely not going to get your dog as much love as you'd hoped.  

With the right tools, I can use my knowledge of photography and design to capture each dog in their natural environment, highlighting their individual personalities and ultimately showing adopting families the kind of joy and happiness a dog could bring into their lives. 


Last November I was browsing Facebook when I came across a Vancity Buzz (now Daily Hive) article about dogs that were up for adoption. As an animal lover, it naturally captured my attention, but even more so because the images in the article were so beautifully shot.

Almost immediately, I came across a dog in the article that I felt an instant connection to. His name was Carter, and he was up for adoption through LEASH Animal Welfare Society. 

I made plans to go see Carter in person, along with about 100+ other people from the lower mainland. 

The crowds that this dog had drawn were incredible, and it was all because of this particular photo being put in front of a wide audience. That's all it took. 

Needless to say, he was just as cute in person as he was in the photograph, and he was also very well behaved. After much consideration, I decided to apply to fully adopt Carter.

To stand out amongst the rest of the applications, I tapped into my creative marketing skills and created a printed 'portfolio' that explained why I would be the best adoptive owner, and why he would be the happiest with me. 

After a few weeks of consideration on their part, they finally gave me the good news. I was able to bring this little guy home. 

In the last 8 months I've grown to love this dog more than I ever thought possible. I can't imagine life without him by my side, and I often wonder what would have happened had I never seen that initial photo of him.

Now I want to pay it forward. While I can't go out and adopt 50 more dogs myself, I can use the skills I've acquired to inspire more people to bring a dog into their lives. 


I'm a bit of a nerd for all things digital, so I have a full understanding of how the web can be used for the greater good. 

Although I went to school for Graphic Design, I ended up falling in love with photography where I spent 4+ years snapping portraits, engagements and destination weddings. 

While my professional portfolio is no longer active, you can see a variety of my shots on my personal Flickr account here:

For the last 5 years I've also worked in various aspects of Digital Marketing, including roles focused around Social Media Management and Community Strategy, which is what I'm currently focused on at Unbounce (we make rad marketing software). I'm also an educator at BrainStation where I lead their Intro to Digital Marketing course.  You can check out my LinkedIn profile for a full history of my professional experience. 

I have a strong desire to help connect people and make our city a better place. Hopefully this is an area that I can have a direct impact on. 


I've mapped out the total projected cost for this project and the minimum amount I'd need to make this a reality is about $3500. This will cover items such as the website, hosting, photo equipment, insurance and travel costs.

If we happen to surpass our funding goal we'll be able to invest in better gear/more advertising, but $3500 is what we need to get things off the ground initially.

While this may seem like a lot, I can assure you that the biggest investment will be my own time and effort... but I'm happy to contribute both if it means connecting people with dogs they love and giving these furry kids a loving "forever" home.

This is my first GoFundMe initiative, so I'm extremely grateful for any kind of contribution. 

Let's make 2016 a record year for canine adoptions in Vancouver.




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Justin Veenema 
Vancouver, BC
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