Episode 4 – Mindy Dutka: Dogs I Meet

Mindy Dutka

 

Boston based photographer, Mindy Dutka, has been crafting her pet photography skills for the past several years. Combined with her passion for animals, especially dogs, Mindy creates opportunities for businesses, rescue organizations, and families to use photographs to tell stories that inspire, fundraise, and give back to these beloved animals that don’t have a voice of their own. Mindy believes that every dog has a tale, and these tales should be shared and heard.

 

Learn more about Mindy and Dogs I Meet:

Dogs I Meet website: dogsimeet.com

Keep up with Mindy and Dogs I Meet on social media:

Facebook: facebook.com/dogsimeet

Instagram: instagram.com/dogsimeet


Hi, I’m Mindy Dutka, and you are tuned into the Animal Innovations show.

You’ve tuned into the Animal Innovations Show, where we feature people, products, services and ideas that are helping animals. And the people who care for them live better lives. If it’s innovative, and if it helps animals, you can find it here first. So get ready. Here comes this week’s newest innovation for animals.

Yeah, that was a great introduction. Thank you, Mindy. And welcome. So glad you’re here. So why don’t you start us off? Tell us about who you are and how you’re innovating to help animals.

Okay, so I am the founder, or I, like to give myself the title of the Chief Storyteller of Dogs I Meet pet photography. And just like it sounds, I am a dog photographer. Although I did get a call today for cats so I can photograph cats as well. But there are, I would say, three segments, three different areas of my business that I focus on. One is dog photography for businesses that are pet related. So something like, you know, a veterinary clinic, dog trainers, pet products, and then I also focus on businesses that are dog friendly. Of course, the world has turned upside down and there’s COVID. But it used to be there were, you know, several different businesses, and they allowed their employees to bring their dogs to work. And for them it was actually a recruiting tool. Because especially with millennials, I mean, who doesn’t like it? Now everybody gets to work with their dog. So now you know the dogs are the star of covid. They were keeping everybody’s sanity.

I think that is so smart. So I’ve never heard of anybody that’s doing that. As you know. I mean, there’s lots of people that photograph animals and pet photographers and stuff. But you really niche down and said, I’m gonna go focused on those pet friendly businesses and really photograph their residents or they’re people. Exactly. I mean, nowadays, you know, everything is content driven, and more and more and more, especially again with the changes of covid is online, and people are focused on their content, and they tend to do the visuals as an afterthought. But to me, that’s reverse. The visual is what comes first, especially with an overload of content. That’s what’s going to capture people’s attention and stock photo. You know it has its purpose, but its stock photo. It’s not you. It doesn’t tell your businesses story. It’s not your people. It’s not your stuff. It’s not your clients. It’s not, you know their pets. So actually, one of my biggest clients and then they have a wonderful story. Veterinary Emergency Group. What’s unique about them is that they don’t separate you from your pet. OK, so you go into an emergency situation everybody’s stress on. Their tagline is ‘They find a way to say yes.’ So you know, you can stay with your dog or cat your animal you could sleep over if you really. Yeah, I mean, you know, the stress level just goes, you know, down for the animal and down for the human. But they want to capture that. So, you know, I go in and I do an on-site photo shoot for a couple of days because it’s it’s more of a documentary, you know, and it’s like a hospital. You can only photograph come through the doors and you need to be there to take pictures, you know, and they value telling their story and photos about them. And also it’s shows their employees that their employees matter, you know, and they’re there, and they want them to see themselves in the picture. Not just, you know, a stock photo.

Was this just a idea that came to? Did somebody ask you? I mean, how did you get into doing this? This is such a really cool thing. I mean, I started off doing I mean, and I still do, you know, private commissions with individual people and their dogs, which, which I do still do. But I wanted to reach businesses, and I didn’t particularly want to do, like, big commercial photo shoots for, you know, the cover of ah, you know, like Purina dog bag. You know, something? Something like that. And I was particularly really interested in the in the companies that allow dogs to come to their office. So I just just sort of evolved and, you know, then I kind of drill down to the why and all the branding things that you do and put it out there.

Nice. Now, you’re up in the Northeast, right? Yeah, I’m right outside of Boston. If you had any trouble finding clients, I gotta figure. There’s lots of pet friendly companies out there. There really are. And, you know, it’s a very tech friendly area and very, you know, I don’t wanna age myself. But you know, a lot of millennial companies, a lot of really large, innovative tech companies, and they tend to be, I mean, there’s there’s plenty of others, but they tend to be the ones that you know allow employees to bring their dogs to work. So yes, there there are many companies around for me to market to. The Pet industry itself is just exploding and now even even more so than than it was before. So there’s, you know, the dog trainers and doggy daycare, and and it’s just such so powerful for them to have me come and photograph them, working with the actual dogs that they work with for for other people to see. And the other thing you know, again also, with people’s websites or social media, the quality of the photos is very, very important, and I know, that will really even realize how important it is. And like anything else, I mean, you know, I’ve spent years studying. I have thousands of dollars worth of equipment. You do technology. I can’t do that. I gotta hire somebody for that, you know? But everybody in iPhone and they’re like I could take pictures. I don’t need to take pictures, but there is absolutely, you know, a big difference in what you get.

What have you noticed? I mean, these companies, obviously they’re commissioning you right there, bringing you into What do they do with these photos? Are they using them on the website? So they framing them? I mean, give me some context. I mean, do they think they are you? The veterinary group is That’s how they choose to decorate their hospitals. Eso with, you know, select and large canvases go up on the wall so that their staff and and their employees can see that as well as the clients who come in. And they can see their, you know, like their story right up there. And they use them as well for on the website. They use them for social media. They use the pictures for brochure. So there’s lots of different ways to use the photos. Some of the corporations, they actually use it on their websites. And I guess the human resource for recruiting, you know, so that’s one of the things that they use it for. And they’ve done like back in the day what people went to offices. You know, I’ve been there for happy hour, you know, photograph that, you know. So it’s it’s just it’s a fun day for everybody.

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So how long have you been a photographer? Is this done something you’ve done your whole life, or is this something I started? I meet four years ago. That’s it. That’s it. Years ago. Okay, years ago. So I had owned my own event company for many, many years, and I had a couple of I’ve done a lot of other things, and I just sort of I also relocated from Manhattan and relocated upto this area. So I was actually doing something else in the interim between these two businesses. And I just kind of said, Hey, I want to do something that I love. Like I want the next career that I I’m gonna have to create it. And I love dogs. I just love dogs. And so I’ve always been a dog owner and dog lover, and I love photography. I’ve always been just fascinated with how it freezes in time. You know, a memory. Sometimes it’s it creates a memory. You know, if you think of kids that look back at pictures, sometimes it’s a photo that they’re remembering that their parents showed them than the actual memory. But I just love how they tell a story and you know, they freeze a moment in time. And to me, my tagline is ‘Because every dog has a tail.’ T-A-L-E and they do, they have many tales, many stories and whether it’s the dog story or the story that they bring to their human. I mean, you know who rescued who. Everybody has a story. Dogs-they’s so meaningful in our lives and so constant. So you know, whether it’s your own dog and you wanna honor it, you know, like, you know, a picture that really shows their dog and shows who they are. You know, that’s important. And then for businesses, as we talked about and then the third segment of my businesses rescue because one of the things that was really important to me is to help dogs, but photography it really does. It saves lives for adopt. A good photograph is the difference between life and death. And I understand, you know, shelters and places they’re busy, they’re not photographers, but they you know, dog comes in it stressed out it’s dirty, it scared, and they take these pictures like a mug shot. You know, of a dog and still like cinder blocks, and people just kind of go through it. And oh, you know that dog doesn’t connect with me. But when you put a picture of a dog that looks like you know, that dog could be sitting in your living room and you see that dog’s personality, it’s a whole different thing. All of a sudden, you know, there is a connection, and people, you know do want to rescue the dog. Also, I’ve done a lot of international work where I’ve been to Mexico, Puerto Rico and where else Cartagena and I seek out different rescue groups, which, by the way, I’m also blown away at these people that dedicate their lives, you know, and it’s all volunteer, so I kind of look at it as the That’s like the Charles dick and the best and the worst of people. You know, people do horrible things to animals, but then there’s this group of people that just are amazing, but without photos, people don’t know that and they don’t understand that and these organizations that air grassroot, these rescue groups, they’re doing amazing work and they don’t have any way to raise money to continue to do the work. If people don’t see the photos of people, don’t know what they’re doing. So you know, that’s another piece of it of, you know, taking pictures, bringing them back, putting them on my social media on my Instagram on my Facebook, and letting people know about these wonderful organizations and where and how they can donate to them.

Yeah, So what’s your vision for Dogs I Meet? Where do you see this going? I don’t know. You know, it’s it’s evolved since I started, and it evolves with, you know, pieces of it that resonate with me and different opportunities just sort of pop up like I was able. I photographed a spay neuter clinic in in Mexico which led to all these rescue groups that I found there so on and I actually had was doing a lot of work in Puerto Rico before covid We were due to go down there, and I had connected with someone that ran a vet from toughs and they were interested in working with us there and starting a student, a visiting student clinic. So there’s all kinds of different things, and for me my background planning events gives me an edge that I can project manage things. So it’s more than just photography. I can kind of see the whole big picture and what needs to be done and what needs to be put in place to make all the pieces work. So I don’t know, You know, I just want to keep meeting dogs and, um spotlighting rescues, telling stories and getting more clients because those clients that pay me allow me to do all the rescue work which pro bono. So without clients, I can’t continue to do, you know, my my passion projects and certainly, you know, also even individuals, people have come back to me, you know? And sadly, dogs just don’t live that long, you know? And they’ve told me that the photos that they have, you know, are priceless and it just means so much. I mean, I always liked photography, but it’s been in the last, you know, 57 years that have really focused on it and study to get to a different level. But I had a dog from the time I was probably 16, you know, almost 30 on. And I look back. I thought I took a lot of pictures, but I I think I have three that are decent of that dog, you know? And I think people will find that, you know, they’ve got hundreds of pictures on their phone. But really, is there any that does their dog justice of what they are, your you know, so that you can look at it. I know even for me now. I just recently sadly lost My dog was 16. I have her pictures all over the place, and they just they make me feel good. It feels like here with me, because I have these pictures of her.

Well, Mindy, I think it is really cool. I think is really innovative what you’re doing and trying to, you know, bridge that gap with the human animal bond. So if people are interested in learning more about you and about the work you’re doing, maybe they’ll wanna hire you. Tell us how to find you.

You can find me at my website, which is dogsimeet.com. I am also on Instagram, which is @dogsimeet and you can find me on Facebook with dogsimeet and I’m happy to put my email out there of [email protected] So I welcome anybody. I always say, Let’s talk dog so everybody gets a free consultation, you know, to find out what it is. Brainstorm what works for them? I do have for businesses that are within about about 50 miles of my location. And they’ll see that because I call it Dogs I Meet at work. There’s a segment on my website. I have package prices for them on all other businesses. And I do travel. So, you know, we work out a custom package, depending on what they need.

Very cool. Well, Mindy, I’m so excited you came on today to share. Thank you, everybody. Come and go check out DOGSIMEET.COM. So I want to thank you for being a guest on our show today. I really appreciate it. And just as a reminder to all of those that are watching and listening that you’ve got an idea for somebody I should interview on the show. A product, a service, just a idea. Even. Just go to innovations.show and let us know about it so we can get some more guests on the show. So thanks again, Mindy, I really appreciate you coming on. Well, thank you so much. It was such a pleasure to be on, and I really appreciate that you invited me.

Thanks for joining us for the Animal Innovations Show. If you want to volunteer to help animals, check out DOOBERT.COM where you can join tens of thousands of Dooberteers supporting rescues and shelters around the world to help animals. And if you know, if something or someone innovative that’s helping animals, let us know by going to WWW.INNOVATIONS.SHOW

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