Who doesn't love a good picture of a happy dog? The photographer behind the popular Instagram account Zilker Bark knows this to be true with 94,000 followers.
"It was just a fun thing I wanted to do and blossomed into something much bigger," explained Alex Hopes, 29. Hopes can be seen buzzing around Austin on his bike with his four-legged best friend Sid.
During the afternoon we spent with Hopes at Zilker he ran into some familiar faces like Moose, the one-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. He also met some new dogs like Annabelle, Lola and Violet.
He works quickly snapping away as most of the dogs stare at the treat in his hand.
What started as a hobby soon required full time attention two years ago.
"I've been able to leverage that Instagram following and if you have the power to influence you better do it for good," explained Hopes. He's a proud member of Austin's dog community.
"I think we have the most dog friendly city in the nation," said Hopes.
As a no-kill shelter city it's a point of pride for so many across Austin including Alex. It's an effort Hopes wants to see in more and more cities. That's why he'll hit the road in May on a cross country trip to raise awareness.
"It's a project to feature long stay dogs in no-kill shelters," said Hopes.
He's turning to crowd-funding to support the cross country effort. If you want to follow or pitch in you can do so online.
On May 13, Zilker Bark is teaming up with Fresa's on South 1st to host pet portrait sessions to benefit Austin Pets Alive!