Local photographer captures essence of service dogs in county library exhibit

Local photographer captures essence of service dogs in county library exhibit

PHOTO: Jen Vogus, photographer, points to a picture of Sunny, a service dog she photographed.


Jen Vogus looks across the wall of the Williamson County Public Library and in each picture there is a memory.

The photographer spent a year photographing different service dogs each month. The pictures from that project now hang in the library.

“This started out as a calendar,” she said.

The calendar was meant to be a fundraiser for The Arc, a non-profit organization that provides support and resources for those with disabilities. Vogus is a board member and she wanted to find a way that she could help.

So, she came up with the idea of photographing service dogs to show that there are a wide range of dogs that help with all variety of disabilities.

A close up of Sunny, the service dog that led to the exhibit at the Williamson County Public Library /Photo courtesy of Jen Vogus

Each month in 2015, she chose a different dog to photograph. She wanted to show each dog during the time of the year it would be in the calendar, she said.

“This idea just came to me,” Vogus said.

It could be said the process for making the calendar and ultimately the art exhibit came even earlier.

Her own son is living with a disability and is unable to speak.

In order to help her son talk, Vogus began taking pictures. She would photograph things that her son loved and give them to the teacher’s aides at schools to help them understand him better.

Her son spoke through her photography.

Vogus said she started putting photo books together for teachers. In turn, they put photo books together for her. They created a dialogue through photos.

The idea for making an exhibit for her work came while she was taking a photo of Sunny, a diabetic alert dog. She took the photo of Sunny at the Williamson County Public Library and began talking with the library staff.

Flashing forward, her exhibit has now been hanging in the library for the past several weeks. Each picture states the dog’s name and provides service information. There are a total of 12 dog pictures.

Bear, a service dog photographed in February 2015 /Photo courtesy of Jen Vogus

Across from the wall exhibit are the photos of five of the pet owners with their service dogs.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the exhibit,” she said.

The exhibit will soon be hanging up in Franklin City Hall in September and October. The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center will show it January through March.

“This was a real privilege and a joy for me to do,” she said.

To view more of Jen Vogus’s work go to jenvogus.com or follow along on Instagram @jenvogus.

To learn more about The Arc of Williamson County, visit thearcwc.org or contact Executive Director, Sharon Bottorff, at (615) 790-5815.

Cliff Hightower can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @FranklinHomePage.

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