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Telling Alaska’s Story: Photographer David Jensen has helped thousands of rescued animals find forever homes

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 5:47 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - One could say David Jensen has a way with animals. It’s undeniable if people have seen the portraits of pets the professional photographer has taken over the years.

Jensen’s photos also get results. For more than 30 years, he’s volunteered his time and his talents with the organization called Friends of Pets to help rescued animals find forever homes.

“The portraits that David has done for rescued animals have made all the difference,” said Friends of Pets board member Michele Girault. ”... His ability to connect with animals is just so priceless. Just in a moment you can get that picture taken and it just grabs people’s hearts.”

Jensen doesn’t just take pictures of animals, but it’s certainly one of his favorite things to do. The born and bred Alaskan said he decided on his path shortly before graduating from University of Alaska Anchorage in 1989.

“I knew that I loved photography, but I also knew that I loved animals even more than photography, and I was trying to figure out, what’s a good way to put this all together?” Jensen said.

Jensen said he was approached by Friends of Pets shortly after he started his business. They asked him if he would consider photographing shelter animals for a weekly feature that would be called Pet Patrol in the local newspaper.

“At the time I thought doing pictures for the paper, dogs getting rescued, (was a) great marketing idea, great way to promote the business,” Jensen said. “It was probably six months after that I realized it wasn’t even about that anymore. It wasn’t about the business because I started seeing the results.”

Over three decades of working with Friends of Pets, Jensen figures he’s created portraits of at least 2,000 animals that have gone on to be adopted. The pictures no longer appear in the newspaper but on the Friends of Pets website and Facebook page.

Jenson said one of his greatest joys is hearing from families who’ve adopted pets and seen them turn around from being nervous and frightened to comfortable and happy. Many times, families ask him to continue photographing their pets as they age.

Jensen has a special place in his heart for senior animals, but said every animal deserves to have a loving home. For more than 30 years he’s been happy to help make that happen.

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