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Photographer Carmen Gonzalez shines spotlight on stray dogs in Puerto Rico with charity calendar



NEW YORK — The bond we share with our dogs is unlike any relationship, but one New York City photographer works to capture their true personality through her lens.

In life, a job is how we sustain a living, but it’s another thing if you love what you do. Take Carmen Gonzalez as an example.

“I think that I have the best job in the world because I actually take photos of dogs all day long. So is there anything better than that? I don’t think so,” Gonzalez told CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook.

Gonzalez is a photographer and was born and raised in Puerto Rico before moving to New York City in 1984.

She’s always had a soft spot for dogs and made it her purpose in life to help strays in Puerto Rico. Her goal is to raise awareness about them and ultimately get the animals in the right home. Her work is vital in making that happen.

“I don’t want them to be intimidated by me or feel, ‘Who is this strange person with this big camera?’” she said.


At Central Park, Westbrook watched as Gonzalez worked her magic. She spent quite a while interacting with her subject, or in this case, a dog named Jane who was adopted by a New York City family nearly two years ago. Before she takes the photos, she makes sure the dog is comfortable, then the photoshoot happens.

“I decided that I needed to do something to help the satos population in Puerto Rico. At that moment, I said I would love to do a calendar featuring satos. My brother, who is a commercial artist, said I’ll help you with it, and that’s how the calendar, or ‘pawlendar’ was born,” Gonzalez said.

The calendar is comprised of photos of satos, a term used to describe homeless dogs in Puerto Rico.

The pawlendar is in its first year.

Pawlendar 2022 raised nearly $20,000, and the goal is to double that amount. She says 100% of that money goes to organizations responsible for saving her satos models. She’s now working on 2023’s version, which is also for charity.

“I did it to see what would happen, and I am so blown out of my mind that we have been able to do so much in so little, so now I just want to do more,” Gonzalez said.

It’s that passion bringing new joy to people like Audra Martyn Spall, who lives in the city.


“Carmen is wonderful. We’re so lucky to have Carmen in our life and having her photograph Jane. We really respect and appreciate everything she does,” she said.

It’s safe to say Carmen’s furry models appreciate her as well.

Source: CBS

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