Talented photographer. Gallery owner. Runway organizer. Beautiful fashionista. Lights up the room and gets shit done. Have you figured out who this story is about yet? Heidi Gress, co-owner of (a)perture marketing and gallery.
But there is more to Heidi’s story than being an accomplished artist and business owner. Heidi saved a life, and in turn, the life saved her. Nitro, sweet yellow lab, was on the list for euthanasia. No one wanted him after 3 months in the shelter. Mom Gress, an animal rescue volunteer, called Heidi for help, saying “please foster this dog so he doesn’t die.” Heidi wasn’t totally sold on the idea, but what could she do when it really was life and death? The dog peed on himself while walking to the car, and Heidi wondered what she had gotten herself into.
“Once we got to the house, he immediately calmed down. He was the perfect dog. He didn’t bark, he was really affectionate and social, and well behaved… Within days I was hooked and in many ways he became the reason that I have planted roots in Utah.“
The boy didn’t seem to like being called Nitro. So, Heidi and a neighbor sat down one night and called out a buffet of options. He chose Bailey. So how did Bailey save Heidi?
“Bailey has made me slow down and enjoy the relationships I have in my life. An animal passes no judgment, has no hidden agenda, and only wants to be loved. I now try to approach all relationships and business like that, pure and without motive. A pet can bring out the best in you and make you realize what is truly important,” says Heidi.
Heidi loves to shoot 35 mm film with her Nikon F. Her artwork is photojournalistic. She and Bailey hit the road as often as they can and shoot what they see. In January, she hopes to unveil a series of photos called “Faces of Salt Lake.”.
Heidi and Bailey would like to raise awareness about the non-profit, Friends of the Animal, better known as the parent agency behind Furbia. I got tears in my eyes as I looked over the website and saw the faces of homeless dogs. And again, reading about Dodger, whose untreated glaucoma caused both eyes to need to be removed. The good news is Dodger is now in a good home and her brother wears a bell around his neck so she can chase him despite her disability. Friends of the Animals also has a much needed program to save the pets of women in domestic violence situations. Check it out at foautah.org. You can donate a pet bed or become a foster home.