Project Pearl: A (Camera) Angle On Pet Adoption

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Project Pearl is a non-profit pet adoption advocate organization in Winston-Salem, NC, that partners with Forsyth County Animal Control to support animal adoptions. The organization began in 2011 when Melissa Ball and Fowler Ruffin were inspired by a shelter dog named Pearl. Pearl had been waiting to be adopted for a long time. Melissa and Fowler primped Pearl, took some nice photographs of her, and emailed them out, which led to Pearl finding a home and Project Pearl was born.

This program is no longer active. It’s efforts have been consolidated with that of the Forsyth Humane Society. Please consider supporting and adopting from this organization.

Lend A Lens Program

Project Pearl’s mission is one of outreach and education available for Forsyth County shelter animals with a goal of increasing animal adoptions. They created “Lend a Lens” program, for which local professional photographers donate their photography skills to photograph animals that are at the Forysth Animal Shelter in desperate need of homes. The glamorous photos show the animals in their best light and are then distributed through various social media channels, magazines and their website. Project Pearl also raises money for animals that require surgery before being ready for adoption.

A Successful Program

Since October 2011, Project Pearl has helped increase Forsyth County Animal Control adoptions by nearly 30%. Project Pearl believes that community-wide education results in better population control, lower stray intakes and reduces owner surrenders.

Volunteers Needed

If you’ve already adopted your limit of pets, Project Pearl also trains volunteers to bathe and groom the animals before their photo sessions and to assist during photo sessions, among other tasks. For more information on volunteer opportunities and how you can help, visit their website at

View More Adoptable Animals

The majority of adoptable dogs and cats in our area may be viewed on Forsyth Humane Society’s website here. Contact them at (336) 721-1303 for more information about any of the animals listed, or visit them at their Country Club location at 4881 Country Club Road.

Follow the Forsyth Humane Society to see and share great photos of adoptable animals on their Facebook page.

About The Author:

Kristi was born and raised just up the road in Mount Airy (a.k.a. Mayberry) and frequented Winston-Salem often growing up for school field trips, shopping, and dining. After attending Appalachian State University, and a brief stint living in Southern Virginia, Kristi returned to Winston-Salem, NC in 1999 and began her work in non-profit, public relations and writing. She and her family enjoy the convenience of living near downtown Winston-Salem. She enjoys the arts, photography and cooking. "I'm a small town girl at heart, but Winston-Salem isn't an overwhelming city. It is rich with friendly people, history, culture and has a vibrant art community and that is why I am proud to call this "My Winston-Salem!"

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Sarah Hanley
September 19, 2019 12:33 pm

I wish there was a link in this article for people who want to volunteer their photo skills for Project Pearl.

Michelle Schenker
October 2, 2019 4:51 pm
Reply to  Sarah Hanley

Sadly, Project Pearl is no longer operating but we suggest you reach out to the Forsyth Humane Society to see if you can help.