6 Inspiring Dogs From the 'Pets With Disabilities' Project

A small dog with a walking assistant.

 Carli Davidson

Award-winning photographer Carli Davidson has always been an animal lover. An experienced animal trainer who volunteers at local shelters, Davidson has spent years working with abandoned cats and dogs, as well as doing regular photo shoots for the Oregon Zoo.

“I love photography, but it has never trumped my desire to work with animals. I started taking pictures of the animals I was working with 12 years ago and shortly thereafter refocused my photography career toward them," she says.

Davidson began her “Pets With Disabilities” series two years ago after seeing a wheelchair-bound German shepherd playing fetch with its owner on an Oregon beach.

“I thought a lot about this pair in the following weeks and decided I wanted to create a project showcasing these pets and telling their stories in order to show the world that they are happy, thriving companions. They are not sad, they are not in pain, and the owners and animals continue to be a great value to one another,” Davidson says.

Check out some of Davidson's photos and read the inspiring stories of her adorable canine subjects.

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Ramen Noodle

Carli Davidson.

Ramen Noodle, an adorable poodle, lost both of his front legs in separate accidents before he was 2 years old. Despite his misfortune, he was up and running around on his hind legs just three weeks after losing his second leg. Ramen Noodle has a wheelchair to get around outdoors, but he prefers to walk on his own.

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Carli Davidson.

Ike is a boxer who’s paralyzed due to a narrowing of his vertebrae. Walkin’ Wheels recently developed this prototype chair for him so that he could continue to exercise despite his progressive paralysis by using his front legs with the assistance of four wheels. Ike regularly swims and gets massages as forms of physical therapy.

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Diego and Buddy Nixon

Carli Davidson.

Diego the Chihuahua lost his eyesight when he was attacked by a coyote at the age of 5, but when his lifelong canine companion passed away, Diego was literally lost without him. Then Diego’s owners introduced him to Buddy Nixon, a pug they’d rescued from a shelter, and today Diego uses Buddy as a seeing-eye dog by following the tapping of his nails.

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Carli Davidson.

Duncan has a spinal disorder that’s common in corgis, and he’s unable to use his hind legs. Despite his disability, this pup is still extremely active — he throws toys for himself to fetch and loves being rewarded with whipped cream.

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Carli Davidson.

Inky the Chihuahua was rescued from a hoarder, but despite growing up in an abusive home, he’s a good-natured and loving canine companion that works as a therapy dog.

Davidson says Inky and the rest of her subjects have a lot to teach us.

"I really hope what people take away from these stories is information to make decisions for their own pets, an appreciation for the resilience of all animals, and ultimately a sense of normalcy from the photos and stories. Technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, and our relationship and compassion toward animals continues to evolve," she says.

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Carli Davidson.

A vet tech discovered Papillo after he’d been hit by a motorcycle in Costa Rica. She took a liking to the dog’s positive attitude and sweet nature and had him flown to Portland, Ore., for medical care. Unfortunately, the dog’s spinal cord was severed, meaning he’d never walk again, but veterinarian Rochelle Low set him up in a wheelchair, which Papilo took to immediately. The playful, 30-pound pup loves to run in the park and curl up next to a friend, and he’s currently looking for a new home. If you’re interested in adopting him, you can find Rochelle Low’s contact information here.

You can see more of Davidson's work and purchase prints on her website. She donates 10 percent of her proceeds to a monthly rotation of animal shelters that rescue special-needs pets.