Volunteer SICSA photographer helps animals find homes

SICSA volunteer photographer Lauren Prichard, 28, grew up the oldest of three children in a military family. A pet lover in a pet-loving family, Prichard had a succession of seven cats and two dogs while growing up. She currently has a 10-year-old Labrador retriever, Lily, who shares an April 29 birthday with her. After completing her schooling, Prichard studied photography in the art program at Sinclair Community College.

Prichard lived in Florida, Alaska, Michigan and Alabama before finally landing in Xenia in 1999.

“My earliest memories are when we lived in Alaska and we had a cat named Smokey that I would dress up and carry around the house like a doll,” said Prichard, who also particularly enjoys photographing felines. “I started photographing cats as a volunteer for SICSA to help them get placed in permanent homes. A good photo captures their best attributes, so they look appealing. I’m hoping to give the cats a second life.”

Prichard and her mother, Lori Prichard, are co-owners of Heart and Light Photography in Xenia. The studio specializes in senior photos, children and family photos and pet photos.

Prichard enjoys having dogs come in for professional photos at the studio because they are so happy and excited, but getting them focused is a challenge.

“Cats are different,” she said. “They come in and stare at you. I make noises like rubbing my fingers together and clicking to get their attention, but you have to take the photo quickly.”

Prichard, who also enjoys photographing animals in their natural setting, has photographed horses, chickens, birds and goats.

Volunteer activity: For the past year, Prichard has volunteered her professional photography skills to highlight the animals housed at SICSA, The Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals. Her photographs of pets needing homes are featured online at www.sicsa.org.

What is the most satisfying thing about your volunteering? “I like to think that my photography is helping animals find their permanent homes,” Prichard said. “I’m so much of an animal lover that I’d adopt them all if I could. Taking photos of them is my way of helping out.”

How to get involved: Apply online at www.sicsa.org, or visit the SICSA facility, 2600 Wilmington Pike, Kettering. For more information, contact Volunteer Coordinator Katie Tilly at 937-294-6505 ext. 21, or email her at KTilly@sicsa.org.

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