Samantha Loses an Eye But Gains a Loving Family

Samantha was in pain before photographer Sarah O’Neill and Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue changed her life for the better.

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“It is some kind of amazing to meet a dog on a dark day at the shelter, knowing they are running out the clock, but then being in a position to help save a life,” said photographer Sarah O’Neill of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Sarah is owner of Sarah O’Neill Photography and also belongs to a group called HeARTs Speak, an international network of photographers who volunteer their time taking photos of shelter pets to help them get adopted.

‪When Sarah first saw Samantha at the shelter, she could tell she was in a lot of pain. When anyone tried to handle her, she mouthed them hard, particularly if someone attempted to get close to her left eye, which was bulging. As it turned out, the eye was very diseased and would ultimately be surgically removed. “Once her eye was removed and she was healed up, we worked on handling, and surprise! She was so in love with us, she just gave kisses,” Sarah said.

Samantha was pulled from the shelter by Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue, based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In addition to helping dogs in Ontario, it sometimes rescues pets in the province of Quebec.

Samantha's left eye didn't look so bad, but it was (Photos courtesy Sarah O’Neill Photography)
Samantha’s left eye didn’t look so bad, but it was. (Photos courtesy Sarah O’Neill Photography)

Once she was in the safe hands of Sit With Me, Samantha had her eye surgery and went to live with a foster mom, who worked hard to help her blossom into the gem of a dog she was inside. Sarah, who frequently volunteers with the rescue, took some beautiful portraits of the sweet, golden-haired dog that truly captured her loving personality.

Sarah treasures being able to help animals by volunteering her time photographing them, and said she learns so much from each pet. “‪Dogs teach us so very much,” she said. “Samantha was a dog who taught us that second chances are so worth grabbing onto. She is resilient and beautiful and sometimes bratty, too. But she is here in this world and loving life.”

Samantha after she began to heal. (Photos courtesy Sarah O’Neill Photography)
Samantha after she began to heal. (Photos courtesy Sarah O’Neill Photography)

The breathtaking photos of Samantha soon caught the eye of her future adopters, Meaghan and Robin.

“From the second she walked into our house, Sam was home,” Meaghan said. “She is equal parts ‘excited ball of energy’ and ‘snuggly sucky girl,’ and we are completely enamored — even the cats are coming around! She has been nothing short of amazing with everyone she’s met, from other dogs to adults to kids. Sam is also the perfect running buddy, with only the occasional squirrel distraction.” ‬

For Meaghan and Robin, finding one-eyed Samantha seemed like kismet. In the past, they each have owned dogs who were missing their left eyes! “We couldn’t have guessed that what started as a coincidence would become the best fit for our home we could imagine,” Meaghan said. “She’s our Sammy girl.” ‬

Jackie Brown

Jackie is a freelance writer specializing in the pet industry. She lives in Southern California with her husband, son, and adorable Miniature Poodle, Jäger, who is obsessed with fetch and killing all the toys. She is the former editor of Rescue Proud, Dog World, and Puppies 101. Follow her on Twitter or visit her website.


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