It would be bewildering for any 18-year-old dog to lose her home and her human. But when that dog is blind, it’s almost unimaginably hard. Fortunately for Muneca, however, she quickly found herself in loving arms at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center in Los Angeles.
When longtime volunteer Elaine Seamans paid Muneca a visit on Tuesday, the blind, flea-infested dog leapt into her arms — and never wanted to let go.
Seamans wasn’t the only new friend Muneca made. Photographer John Hwang had stopped at the shelter with his camera, on his way to shoot pictures for a photography project among L.A.’s homeless.
Seamans asked him if he’d consider taking pictures of another kind of homelessness—the kind that finds abandoned pets ending up in shelters.
“When I got to the shelter, Elaine was already holding the dog,” Hwang tells The Dodo. “The dog was clinging on to her.”
“Elaine is so amazing with the dogs,” he adds. “She’ll roll on the ground with the shelter dogs. She’ll kiss them. She really has a special chemistry with them. I love capturing that.”
Lavishing an animal with the love they deserve—but may only just now be feeling for the first time—is one of the most rewarding things about volunteering with animals. Scenes like this between Seamans and Muneca happen in shelters every day, all over the world.
We’re all lucky that this particular moment was caught on camera, immortalized forever.
“Ultimately, the person who sees the photo — I want them to feel something. I want them to feel a connection,” Hwang says. “If I can capture the right sort of connect, then the person who sees the image will feel it too.”
Hwang’s photos helped change Muneca’s life. Shared on Facebook, they came to the attention of a rescue group called the Frosted Faces Foundation. After spending just two days at the shelter, Muneca was on her way to see a veterinarian in San Diego on Wednesday.
From there, she will be fostered until she finds the forever family she probably thought she’d never have again—one who will love her for the rest of her life.
Think that could be you? Apply here. It would mean the world to her.
Even if you can’t adopt Muneca, you can still help her on her journey to health and love—consider sponsoring her here.
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