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The funny thing about featuring a dog called Smiley, is that you can’t stop smiling when you look at that beautiful face smiling back at you.
From a rough start in life, Smiley is a beacon of hope. He shows that all you need in life is an open heart and someone to love.
His gorgeous smile and spirit couldn’t be captured more perfectly by Happy Tails Pet Photography. From a shot where you can almost feel the suns rays being soaked up by his golden fur, to the joy that leaps off the screen as he frolics in the flowers, may this post keep you all smiling for days to come!
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, each pet I photograph inspires me. 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 corny 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 now 10 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.
Smiley was a wonderful dog to photograph — 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, which is so cute!
Smiley is completely in tune with Joanne. From the sound of her footsteps to the tone in her voice — her cues let him know if he is safe or if there is an obstacle in his way. He relies on her and trusts her completely. It is an amazing bond that they share.
You might be wondering how Smiley gets around. Well, he bumps into things a lot. But otherwise he gets along just fine. In fact, as he’s going about his doggy business — sniffing, listening, frolicking, nuzzling — it’s easy to forget that he has a disability.
Joanne doesn’t want people to treat him differently or think “poor Smiley.” She says it’s important that he explores his surroundings on his own, using his own instincts, without people hovering over him or cringing every time he bumps into something. She is always close by, and she’s a dog trainer herself, so Smiley is always safe and very well loved.
Stacey Morrison of Happy Tails Pet Photography specializes in modern, lifestyle pet photography serving locations in southwestern Ontario, Canada. An on-location, natural-light photographer, Stacey’s goal is to capture beautiful, candid, personality-filled images of pets in their natural environment, whether it’s chasing their beloved ball, exploring a trail or park, or lounging on the couch.
Helping animals in need is part of the Happy Tails philosophy. Stacey volunteers her photography skills to several shelters and rescues, including the Burlington Humane Society, Canadian Dachshund Rescue, Ontario, and the Milton Animal Sanctuary. She is also a proud member of HeARTs Speak.