Behind the Scenes

by Amanda Jean Harris

Warm Hearts, Cold Noses

Our fashion shoots are all about the clothes, about what’s hot now, what’s cutting edge yet wearable. For November, however, we added a real dash of heart to the mix, heading over to Acadiana Animal Aid.

It was the suggestion of one of our big-hearted models (Kimberly Wooten) that first piqued our interest. Add photographer Robin May (an animal lover if there ever were one) and a few more models with hearts that are even better looking than their faces, and we had a group perfect to show off fall’s best pieces while raising some much-needed awareness for Acadiana Animal Aid.

Photo by Robin May

Located just north of Lafayette on 10 beautiful acres, the animal rescue spot is home to dozens of animals who are getting a second chance at life. It’s the sort of place that can, within minutes, destroy your faith in humanity and then restore it again.

It’s an abysmal thing to see a creature so mistreated. There was Smoochy, who perhaps gave me the biggest lump in my throat. She’s a beautiful, white 5-year-old American bulldog who was rescued when she was no longer of use to breed. The evidence of what was done to her is clear with her swayed back and a body that has carried more litters than it ever should. She’s a sweet dog with the big eyes that steals kisses without apology.

Without a home at Acadiana Animal Aid, Smoochy would’ve been put down. Now she’s available for adoption to a home ready for kisses. There are other sweet little puppies and aging dogs like Amber, who is blind. She came to Animal Aid after her owner died. She has the disposition of a regal and aging woman with an auburn coat.

Each dog we photographed had a story, and thanks to Animal Aid, a life. Read our companion piece beside this story for the insides of what Animal Aid is doing to save animals and how you can help.

As Christmas arrives, there’s no doubt some puppies will appear under trees. It’s perhaps the best time of year to look at how we can help in our community. Owning a pet is serious business. It’s the chance to add a family member and to teach the kids new responsibility.

While there’s no doubt people have an affinity for special breeds with a big price tag found often at puppy mills, I find it hard to believe anyone could leave Animal Aid without finding a dog or cat that suits their family. There are big breeds and little tea cups, dogs that need daily walking and cats that just want to lounge. In short — adopt don’t buy.

At INDStyle we love some designer pieces, just not when it comes to the animals.