I follow a lot of photo-nerd stuff on the internet. Recently, there was an excellent article on the Huffington Post about how photographs can save the lives of shelter animals across the country. The article mentioned Seth Casteel's website One Picture Saves a Life (a partnership with GreaterGood.org), where the photographer posts tutorials to help shelters take better pictures of the animals they are trying to find homes for. The idea is that if you take a crappy, bummer-ish picture of a cat or dog or bunny—often when it's terrified upon first landing in a shelter—the chances of it getting adopted are slim. But if you know how to take a flattering photo of a well-fed and groomed animal, looking healthy and happy, it has a real, honest-to-goodness chance of finding a new owner.
But what if you upped the ante even further? Motley Zoo is a nonprofit animal rescue based in Redmond, and its cofounder Jme Thomas (pronounced Jamie) has one of the best photo ideas to date: What if you took a photo of Macklemore, or Snoop Dogg, or some of the dudes in Slayer holding a kitten or a puppy? That's a no-brainer: The cool-groupie rock animal picture gets blasted around the internets, and the animal gets adopted right away! Hannah Levin (producer and host of Seek and Destroy on KEXP) recently started working with Thomas to organize animal/musician meet-and-greets. "There's something endlessly entertaining about handing a kitten to a rough and tough rock dude and watching him melt," says Levin. "Most importantly, though, it's proven to be an effective way to find homes for the four-legged buddies."
Named as KING 5's favorite local charity last year, Motley Zoo, which was founded in 2009, is certainly kicking some ass. "We have adopted out 1,200 pets to date," says Thomas. "I started Motley with my husband, Bryan. We wanted to change the idea of what an animal rescue could be—we wanted to make it fun and a little rock 'n' roll. And it's working." She says future photo shoots will include ZZ Top, Mastodon, and Mötley Crüe.
Motley Zoo is volunteer-run and could use your help—or, better yet, a donation. To adopt, volunteer, or give money, go to motleyzoo.org.
All photos below, with the exception of Doyle of the Misfits and Kerry King of Slayer (shot by Bryan Thomas) by Niffer Calderwood. To see more of her photography, go to dripbook.com/NifferCalderwoodPhotography.
MACKLEMORE AND RYAN LEWIS Lewis really wanted to adopt this kitty, until one of his handlers pointed out that he had a ton of touring and the Grammys coming up.
SLAYER Kerry King, the guitarist on songs such as “Angel of Death,” “Raining Blood,” and “Mandatory Suicide,” was photographed holding the cutest little all-black kitten. King’s wife, Ayesha, is next to him.
THE MISFITS Guitarist Doyle has been friends with Jme Thomas for nearly 20 years. She says: “He’s so supportive of our rescue. He often wears our ‘Ace of Spays’ T-shirt at autograph signings.”
RED FANG “What’s better than KITTENS AND PUPPIES BACKSTAGE? Nothing!” says Red Fang drummer John Sherman, the guy in red. “I encourage every band to participate in this program.”
CONSTANT LOVERS Drummer Ben Verellen says: “That kitten was an automatic cuddler. Someone has got to be so psyched to hang with it now.”
PANTERA Singer Phil Anselmo is one of the fiercest metal vocalists of all time. But put a tiny puppy in his hands, and he looks like he might cry!
X Guitarist Billy Zoom with a tabby mix.
THE HEAD AND THE HEART It’s not just tough metal dudes who do Motley Zoo photo ops. Here’s the Head and the Heart singer Charity Rose Thielen. This little kitty, Honey, hasn’t been adopted yet.