Dogs are saving veterans’ lives, so a Mechanicsville couple is dressing them as superheroes and taking their pictures — all for a good cause.
Nancy and Gregg Walcutt, operators of Walcutt Sharp Shots, want to raise money for Pets for Vets, a nonprofit that rescues shelter dogs and trains them to service and comfort American veterans. The photographers are charging $25 for a photo of customers’ dogs in a superhero costumes, which will go to the nonprofit, and dog owners can receive a 5-by-7 in return.
“We got real concerned when we heard of all the veterans committing suicide,” Gregg Walcutt said. So they wanted to do something about it.
The pair set up their backdrop, lights and other equipment inside the Golden Beach firehouse in Mechanicsville last Friday. Off to the right was a mini Spider-Man car and to the left were Spider-Man and Wonder Woman costumes. They offer six different background choices to match the superhero themes.
“I just wanted to help,” Nancy Walcutt said. “I love animals. I love taking pictures of animals.”
The owner of two shih tzus said she’s hoping to get more people to make appointments before the end of December.
“There are lots of dates and lots of appointments left, and the money goes to veterans,” Nancy Walcutt said, later mentioning it costs thousands of dollars to train a dog.
The photographer participates in other community outreach with veterans like craft and garden therapies.
“It’s nothing compared to what they do,” she said.
The husband said he and his wife have been doing photography for a year and a half, and came up with the name Walcutt Sharp Shots in August. With a studio in Leonardtown’s Shepherd’s Old Field Market, they take pictures of families “and of course, of pets, because pets are part of the family,” Gregg Walcutt said.
But this fundraising photo shoot is exclusively for pets. An earlier appointment featured an 85-pound Labrador retriever who broke the windshield of one of the toy cars. But the photographer wasn’t concerned.
“I only bought the car for them,” Nancy Walcutt said.
Sandra and Glen Burroughs took advantage of the fundraiser on Nov. 22 at the firehouse. They brought their Australian shepherds, Darci Lynne, named after a 15-year-old ventriloquist who won Season 12 of “America’s Got Talent,” and Josie, named after “Josie and the Pussycats.”
The two pups are amateur disc dog competitors who have competed in world competitions with the Burroughs’ 7-year-old granddaughter. Darci already qualified for a world competition for next year.
“We don’t claim to be the worst and we don’t claim to be the best,” Glenn Burroughs, a Mechanicsville resident, said.
It wouldn’t be the first time they participated in fundraisers, like Relay For Life, and it also wasn’t the first time their dogs dressed in costumes. Their granddaughter, Maddie, and Darci Lynne both wore matching Wonder Woman costumes during a recent competition. Glenn and Sandra Burroughs dressed Darci up in a Wonder Woman outfit again for photos before dressing Josie in a Spider-Man outfit. The couple spent over an hour getting their dogs to sit and pose in front of the camera, using a lot of treats to do so.
“You have to give them time,” Nancy Walcutt said. “There’s no sense in doing it unless they get the picture they want.”
Appointments are available Nov. 29 and 30 at the the Shepherd’s Old Field Market, Dec. 5 and 6 at the Golden Beach firehouse and several other additional December dates will be available at the market starting with Dec. 8, 10 and 11. For more information, call 301-751-9950.