Australian photographer Alex Cearns finds the beauty in what some might consider the least beautiful of dogs. That includes dogs such as Bali Pip, a sweet pup who lost all her hair from mange, leaving her looking more like a plucked duck than a lovable pet. Or Dot, a perky terrier who lost an eye but not her dynamic personality. Or Bandit, the innocent victim of a vicious acid attack.
Cearns has assembled 60 portraits in canine courage in her newest book, "Perfect Imperfections: Dog Portraits of Resilience and Love."
"One of my most passionate aims as an animal photographer is to capture the adorable subtleties that make all creatures precious and unique. I love every animal I have the privilege of photographing, but those perceived as ‘different’ hold a special place in my heart," Cearns told Marc Bekoff, an author for Psychology Today.
"Most animals with ‘afflictions’ don’t dwell on them. They adapt to their bodies without complaint and they survive with determination. 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," she added.
Cearns captures the love that every one of these fighters has to give. They don't let their challenges get them down; they just want to get on with life and get the same hugs and treats as their able-bodied counterparts. Their very zest for life says "What difference does it make if I only have one eye, or need to use wheels to get around? I'm still lovable me!"
Although many people want the perfect pet, the latest designer dog that they can show off at the dog park, Cearns shows that every dog deserves a chance to be rescued, to love and be loved.
And hairless Pip? He now has a luxurious mane of black fur and humans who also saw his beauty shining through.