ANGELICA, NY - Marika Burke is a professional photographer and an animal lover.
Those two worlds collide when she volunteers her time and talent with Joyful Rescues, an animal shelter located in Cuba, N.Y.
"Having pets and wanting to show the love you can have for a pet I think inspired me to do it in photographs to try and get those pets into homes," said Burke, owner of Marika Photography.
When she isn't busy photographing weddings or family sessions, Burke is snapping pictures of animals the shelter is having difficulty placing into good homes.
Sometimes older animals or certain breeds, like pit bulls, don't get adopted as quickly as puppies or kittens.
"It gets them into homes faster, and if we can get them into homes faster we can take more in then move them out. It means saving lives," said volunteer director Joye Turock.
There are a few rules regarding the pet photographs: no cages, wire fences, or stale shelter backgrounds in the pictures. Burke wants potential owners to be able to envision the animals in their own homes or yards.
That's the easy part. Getting the animals to cooperate can sometimes be a challenge.
"When they are rambunctious and full of energy, it's really hard to get them to sit still and get them in the best light," said Burke. "I guess it would be better to photograph them in their own environment, but they don't have their own environment. That's what we want to give to them."