17 fave animal photos snapped during 2yrs as RSPCA volunteer photographer

After two years of incredible service at RSPCA South Australia, one of our most dedicated volunteer photographers, James Bodnick, is moving to China.

To celebrate the incredible work James has put into helping vulnerable animals find forever homes, we’re sharing his favourite photographs from his time with us. Brace yourselves – there’s some real cuties!

1. Flare the kitten

Flare the kitten

This little guy was photographed at the start of the kitten season in Spring 2017. One of James’ favourites to date – he particularly remembers Flare’s mischievous personality.

“Most kittens are more reserved to meet new people, but Flare loved everyone.”

2. A herd of alpacas


Twenty-three alpacas were taken into our care in December 2017 as part of an ongoing animal welfare investigation. Ranging from the ages of under a year old to mature adults – James was able to capture their cheeky personalities perfectly.

Thanks to the beautifully shot photographs, these guys were ‘alpaca-n’ their bags within an hour after their post went viral on our social media channels.

James says this was one of his favourite days at the shelter to date.

3. Bambi the orphan lamb

Bambi the lamb

Bambi was found stranded alongside a highway at only one week of age and was rushed to our Lonsdale shelter for one-on-one care. What a handsome guy!

4. Henry the pig

Henry the Pig

One of our much loved long-term shelter resident, Henry the pig often mistakes himself as one of his canine friends.

“One of the most unusual animals I got to photograph. As long as I had a dog treat with me – he was more than happy to get some photos taken,” James says.

5. Cosmos, the cat with attitude

Cosmos the cat

One hundred and forty days and counting – Cosmos is one of our long term residents at the shelter.

“A party-animal at heart – Cosmos is the craziest cat I have ever met,” James says.

6. Elvie the car-engine cat

Little Miss the cat

Poor Elvie was found trapped in a car engine early last year. Although she went through such a traumatic experience, all Elvie wanted was affection and attention.

7. Lewis and Morse

Lewis and Morse

Lewis and Morse were two of many Birmans who came into the shelter from unfortunate circumstances.

This photograph displays perfectly the bonds our shelter animals gain with one another. They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and it definitely shows with this powerful image.

8. Marla the wounded pup

Marla the dog

With wounds across her back and infected eyes, Marla was at our Lonsdale shelter for many months. This didn’t dampen her spirit however! Marla is now known to take her ball wherever she goes. See a video of her before-and-after.

9. Ta Ne the blind dog

Ta Ne the dog

James distinctly remembers photographing Ta Ne. “The first animal that had me in tears. Being blind and in the shelter – things were rough for her,” he says.

“She looked so scared when I was trying to take her photo. In the end, I put my camera away and comforted her to make her feel safe. She gave me the warmest smile.”

10. Puppet the affectionate cat

Puppet the cat

“The most affectionate cat I have ever met,” James says of Puppet. “The hardest thing about taking photos of Puppet is getting him to stay away long enough for a photo.”

11. Mouse the golden oldie

Mouse the cat

This golden oldie came into our shelter with a broken hip, which required him to stay for an extended period of time – but it didn’t stop Mouse from filling every volunteer’s day with joy.

“One of my most rewarding experiences of my time volunteering was contributing to helping Mouse find a safe and loving home,” James says.

12. Puddles the duck

Puddles the goose

“Puddles kept looking at me for a pat throughout our photo-shoot – I was too nervous to try without supervision,” James recalls.

13. Simba the grumpy cat

Simba the cat

James learnt the power of social media when Simba was adopted in less than thirty minutes – after his photograph was posted to our Facebook page.

14. Rolly, Simba’s best friend

Rolly the cat

Rolly befriended Simba in a matter of days at our Lonsdale shelter. They both ended up being adopted together to a loving home.

“These two were at the shelter for months. Being older, they bonded almost immediately with one another,” James says.

15. Leah the camera-lover

Leah the dog

“Luckily most dogs like to sit for the camera, and Leah was no exception,” James says.

It’s true Leah is nothing short of a model – she loved posing for the camera.

16. Buttons the cockatiel

Buttons the bird

Birds aren’t the easiest subjects to take photos of – especially when you can’t let them out of the aviary in case they make an escape.

Luckily for James, he has a few ways around this and was able to get some really cute shots of Buttons!

17. One thousand photos

As his final favourite, James shared with us this incredible collage of 1000 photos taken during his two years as a volunteer photographer. And that’s only a small section of the thousands he took!

James tells us that, after sustaining injuries in an accident more than two years ago, volunteering at RSPCA South Australia became the highlight of his week.

“After my accident, I lost most function of my hands and I hadn’t really left the house for a year and a half,” he says. “Using my camera is the most I can do with my hands. Being around animals helped with my depression. I didn’t want to miss my chance to be around the animals.”

18. Bonus: a photo of James himself!

We of course couldn’t wrap up without showing you the man behind all this magic.

From all of us here at RSPCA South Australia, we want to say a huge thanks to James for his efforts over the past two years. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of animals have found loving forever homes thanks to his efforts, which have also allowed us to emotively tell the stories of animals in our care. Thank you, James!

Can you spare time to help us save animals? It’s only with the support of kind-hearted volunteers that RSPCA South Australia can reach so many abandoned, neglected, sick and surrendered animals each year. Help us help them – apply to volunteer now.

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