This article was featured in WYDaily on 7/5/24
It is said that a camera never lies. Soulful eyes, nose kisses and snuggly cuddles, area pet lovers are invited to preserve the deep truth of their love of their pets by sharing their stories and sitting for a portrait shoot. The second volume of “Tails of Love” by professional photographer Debbie Leanne Portraits is underway to celebrate area pets and pet lovers while helping area homeless animals at The Heritage Humane Society.

Witnessing unbreakable bonds

In 2019, professional photographer Debbie Jones began volunteering at Greater Williamsburg’s largest animal shelter. The daily routine spanned cleaning kennels, feeding pets, walking dogs and soothing nervous new arrivals, engaging pets who have been at the shelter for a while and tackling the endless laundry. As Jones looked around, she saw beyond the hard work and witnessed the unbreakable bonds between people and pets.
This sparked an idea in Jones. Jones came up with the idea to permanently capture this love and the unique story between pet and human companion. The first book, “Tails of Love: Letters of Love” debuted in 2022 to instant popularity. The heartbreaking-turned-heartwarming tale of Ellie, a dog who faced tough odds captured hearts along with the letters 49 other pet families wrote to their pets.

A book for the ages

Just like the first volume, this second volume will feature letters from human companions to their featured pets along with their professional pictures taken during a portrait session by Jones. The high-end, coffee table-style book is designed to preserve and forever celebrate the treasured bonds created with pets.
Pup Champ’s family shares an excerpt of their letter that will be included in the upcoming second volume, “Champ, it’s been about four years since your sweet face caught our eye at the Heritage Humane Society. You definitely stood out with your big floppy ears. In our eyes, you are the most precious dog. You have brought so much joy and laughter into our lives…We are so lucky that you chose us. Here’s to many more memories with our best friend. We love you!”
“Creating the coffee table books and raising money for Heritage Humane Society over the past several years has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Meeting all the fur babies and working closely with them and the families brings us so much joy and fulfillment,” shares professional photographer Debbie Jones, owner of Debbie Leanne Portraits. “Every pet has a unique story and personality. Capturing their essence and the relationship with the people they love in beautiful portraits, is one of the most valuable things we get to do. It’s encouraging to know that our efforts will help support the organization and make a positive impact on the lives of many deserving animals.

Reserve a spot now for a permanent keepsake

There are several spots available for portrait sessions for the latest volume. For the first volume, more than 200 pet lovers applied for one of 50 spots. To register for a portrait session for volume two of the “Tails of Love: Letters of Gratitude” coffee table book, register here online.
There is a $150 sitting fee that covers Jones taking customized, keepsake pictures of people and their pets for a double-page spread in the coffee table book. Each family will write a love letter to their pet(s) that will be included in the hand-stitched book. All proceeds from the sitting fee benefit the homeless pets of The Heritage Humane Society.
Portrait sessions will be at Debbie Leanne Portraits located at 5730 George Washington Memorial Highway in Yorktown. Pet parents will have the option to purchase printed photographic artwork of their personalized session.

Who will be on the cover?

There will be a private book release party that will be held at The Heritage Humane Society in December. All families in the book will be invited. Adding to the anticipation, the front cover pet will be revealed at the party. The book will be available for purchase for an additional $125.

Want to join, but don’t have a pet?

The Heritage Humane Society is filled with more adoptable dogs than it has had in years. For pet lovers who would like a more temporary opportunity, the shelter has robust Fido Field Tripsvolunteer and fully supported foster volunteer programs.
Nearly 250 dogscats and small pets are currently in their care. Adoptable pets are available to meet during The Heritage Humane Society’s visiting and adopting hours from 12 to 4:30 p.m., Tues. through Sun.
To learn more, visit, call 757-221-0150, or visit The Heritage Humane Society located at 430 Waller Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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