A wise woman once said, “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
Anyone who has ever come in contact with dogs knows that the bond between them and humans can be just as important as the one between two humans.
John Hwang—a professional photographer and avid animal lover—can attest to this.
While visiting a kill shelter in the Los Angeles area, Hwang came across Annabelle, a wonderfully unique 10-year-old canine who appeared to be very withdrawn and lonely. He approached the dog’s cage to further inspect her and automatically assumed she wouldn’t approach him by the way she was sitting still, crotched in the corner and looking at the ground.
The small, elderly brown and white dog with the floppy ears took an immediate liking to Hwang in spite of his presumed doubts about her desire to socialize with him.
“My initial thought was this dog was timid or depressed and probably wouldn’t interact with me,” Hwang said while speaking to The Dodo. “I was surprised when she came right up to me when she saw me.”
The pup just so happened to have one of those personalities (plus certain character traits) that a normal person would be hard pressed to ignore.
It’s clear from Hwang’s description and perfect photos that this dog was special.
“She seemed uncoordinated, but the way she moved was also endearing,” Hwang explained. “She was so raggedy, but her heart was perfect.”
After a few short sniffs from across the room, Annabelle got as close to the fence as possible, an invitation for attention. Hwang accepted and spent quite a long time petting the wet-nosed cutie and capturing plenty of stills of the precious moment on his camera.
“We probably could have sat there all day,” Hwang said. “She loved the company.”
Both of their lives were forever changed by the encounter. Hwang’s photographs were viewed thousands of times on social media, and helped Annabelle become adopted almost immediately after their meet-up.
Thanks to the combined efforts of Hwang and a steady stream of Facebook users, a volunteer for the organization Leashes of Love Rescue noticed Annabelle and saved her from an untimely fate.
“She was so excited to be out of her kennel. Just to be out and walking around,” Annabelle’s new foster mom, Cathi Perez, told Mother Nature Network. “She was just so happy the second she got out. She was immediately not the same dog.”
Annabelle was taken to her forever home shortly after a trip to the vet, where she was treated for an eye infection and several other minor problems.
No more hunching over in the corner all day and night with no little to no hope. No more sad glances at strangers. No more sleeping in a confined cement space. This is one happy dog!
Unfortunately, Disney-endings like Annabelle’s are rare.
“The vast majority of dogs don’t make it out alive,” Zach Skow, Cali-based founder of Marley’s Mutts told The Dodo.
The ASPCA estimates that 4.9 of the 7.6 shelter pets that enter shelters per year are euthanized. There are many things we can do to lessen these numbers, from always making sure to spay and neuter to never adopting a pet you aren’t sure you can keep for their entire life. Puppy mills are also a huge problem. Click HERE to learn more.
And don’t forget to share this story to encourage the adoption of shelter/rescue animals like Annabelle! Every animal deserves a safe, loving home.