KINGSPORT, TN, 09/22/2021 / k9photo /
Michael Puck, founder of K9Photo, is on a mission to save 1 million dogs by 2030. K9Photo is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, but while it accepts donations, it does not actively seek them out. Rather, Puck raises funds through the sale of expertly rendered dog photography.
The money is used to keep dogs off death row, support no-kill shelters, shut down dog fighting rings, eliminate puppy mills, and encourage more dog adoption — especially now since shelters are seeing an increase in animals being returned as people come back to work post-COVID.
Puck, a people scientist and HR professional, started photographing dogs five years ago and selling his work. One of his clients operates the private side of a local airport near Kingsport, Tenn., where Puck lives. He had taken photos of her dogs, which she had enlarged, framed, and hung on the walls of the lobby at the flight planning office.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Puck. “For three weeks straight, I got an email from her everyday telling me how much customers loved the photos. I know the positive impact dogs have, especially as social catalysts, but I never made the connection between dogs and business before.”
Since this first accidental exposure of dog wall art at the airport, Puck’s dog wall art can now be found at car dealerships, insurance offices, wealth advisors, and many other places of business.
A naturally curious person, Puck researched the science behind human–canine interactions and phototherapy, which yielded numerous articles. He even found a paper that shows just looking at images of dogs increases the production of happiness hormones, creating an overall feeling of joy in people.
But Puck didn’t need science to tell him about the power of human relationships with dogs.
As a child, Puck suffered a serious burn that put him in solitary isolation for three weeks. He couldn’t even see his parents. He was filled with drugs and alone: the event profoundly affected him, causing him to become a loner and not trust anyone. “At the time, people were just concerned with your physical scars,” he said. “Your mental scars weren’t on the radar.”
Puck became increasingly depressed until his family adopted a black lab, Cora, who went everywhere with Puck.
“I instantly bonded with her. We spent hours walking through the woods, along the rivers, and built a relationship that was unmatched to any relationship I had with human beings at that point,” said Puck. “She was the one who re-introduced me to my environment. She was so social and cute, and everyone came running when they saw us out and about. I reconnected with people. I don’t know where I would be if I had stayed on the trajectory I was on — she saved my life.”
On a mission to save dogs’ lives with his One Million Dog Movement, Puck is partnering with the best photographers around the world to curate breathtaking dog wall art collections for relationship-focused businesses.
Saving 1 million dogs by 2030 is the vision that started K9Photo in 2016. He is soon launching the Global Dog Art Gallery to achieve this goal. The Global Dog Art Gallery specifically focuses on selling dog art to businesses. Puck discovered that just having photos of dogs hanging on walls in a place of business increases purchase intent by 56% through building deep and trusting relationships with customers.
All the sales — 100% — from both K9 Photo and the Global Dog Art Gallery go directly to prevent animal suffering and protect their lives.
Many dog lovers say that they prefer the company of dogs to humans. The reason for that, perhaps is, as Puck said, “Dogs make us more human.”