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Finding a home for a shelter animal is hard work, but if said pet has a disability it can be near impossible to find a willing adopter to take them in. There’s a huge myth surrounding shelter pets (especially special needs ones) that they’re all “damaged goods” with aggressive tendencies even though nothing could be further from the truth. The only way to fix a myth is by spreading the truth, and this photographer has found an eye-catching way to do just that.

Alex Cearns began her “Perfect Imperfections” project after noticing that many of the special needs animals she came into contact with were thriving despite their obvious and usually debilitating physical injury or disability. They were just as happy as a typical member of their species. As Alex puts it: “They push on, always, wanting to be included and involved in everything as much as they can, and as much as an able-bodied pet does. They are so inspirational!

Alex dedicated the series to two dogs in particular. Sweet Savannah (the dog below) is one of them. Her front leg was amputated to prevent the spread of cancer. Sadly it spread to other parts of her body and she passed away. She was four years old at the time.

Sweet Savannah.

This is Alex. Mange has made his fur splotchy, but he’s as cuddly as ever!

Spike, who has mange.

Alex says that she loves each and every animal she photographed. Especially, those that others would consider “different.” The goal of her project was to capture the things “that make all creatures precious and unique.”


This rescue kitten was born with no eyes. Even though he can’t see, that pointed tail lets you know that he’s friendly and ready to play!

Rescue kitten born without eyes.

This three legged greyhound really looks like an angel, don’t you think?

Mia is blind, so her sense of hearing is extra sensitive!

Rupert, the three-legged kitten is so photogenic!




The Perfect Imperfections photo project has been a smash success! If you like her project and want to send in words of encouragement or the story of your special needs pet, contact her studio here. There are also plenty more photos of special needs animals on her facebook page, so be sure to tab over there for more cute pictures!

All image source: Alex Cearns


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