Smiley. Saying this golden retriever’s name just makes you grin – it’s impossible not to.
Every dog I meet is special. Whether it’s their personality, history or relationship with their family, I am inspired by each four-legger I photograph. Smiley is all of that and so much more. I call him a “heart dog” — when you meet him, even if it’s just for a moment or two, he changes you. Maybe this sounds hokey to some, but Smiley’s presence is one of peace and unfettered joy. He is happy in a simple, straightforward way that we can all learn from. And his name is truly fitting — he smiles ALL the time. Which makes everyone around him smile. It’s totally contagious and it just makes you feel good.
Smiley was born without eyes and spent his first few years in a puppy mill. His condition also gave him a few other quirks: he is smaller than your average golden, but he has really big teeth. His back legs are a little bowed. And he looks like a puppy — from his size, to his soft, fuzzy coat, you would never guess this boy is nine years old.
Despite his difficult beginnings, Smiley now has an amazing family, and is also a certified therapy dog who gives comfort to mentally ill and disabled patients every week. He loves to be in contact with people.
Now, onto the photos. Smiley is the easiest dog I’ve ever photographed — he is so well behaved and low-key.
In fact, a few times he would settle right in like he was going to take a nap. Of course it’s hard to tell if he’s actually sleeping … I think he enjoyed playing this game with me!
Shortly after rescuing him, at the age of two, mom Joanne had Smiley’s eyes sewn shut. He looks like he’s smiling so much that he’s squinting. So. Darn. Cute.