‘Perfect Imperfection: Dog portraits of resilience and love’ by Alex Cearns

perfect imperfection

“Perfect Imperfection: Dog portraits of resilience and love” by Alex Cearns is a book about dogs who are missing something — an eye or a leg. Some have had rough beginnings, but make no mistake, these dogs are all beautiful.

The book is a small, coffee-table kind of book. The photographs are beautiful, all taken with either white or black backgrounds. The dogs are adorable, of course. But only very slightly imperfect. Each dog has a story about its missing eye or eyes, missing leg, or the reason it uses a wheelchair. A few dogs have other slight imperfections that might not be visible to the eye.

It’s a wonderful book to show that just like people, animals come with different numbers of limbs and eyes and even ears. It doesn’t make them any less adorable or lovable. Not a bit.

Ironically, I was expecting a book filled with dogs who had much greater imperfections. I have rescued for decades, and many of my fosters only had three legs. You quickly realize that they run just as fast as the four-legged ones, especially when the missing leg is a rear one. And while I haven’t had a blind dog, I have a pit bull who at one point had an embedded harness causing her chest to be misshapen and another dog whose leg was broken as a puppy in China and not fixed, so after many surgeries, it’s immobile. I have had dogs come with missing hair from severe allergies, debilitating itching and horrible skin smell, as well as a puppy mill survivor whose wounds were all psychological from the abuse he endured at the mill.

The photographer, Alex Cearns, is a world-famous animal photographer. She has worked with the RSPCA and has done pro-bono work for other charities, including Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Animal Aid Abroad, Animals Australia, Free the Bears Inc, Dogs Refuge Home, Stop Live Exports, Saving Animals From Euthanasia (SAFE), World Animal Protection, Wildlife Alliance (Cambodia), Evolve! (UK), Sea Shepherd and the WA Dingo Association.

This little book carries a big and important message. Rescue dogs, like many featured in this lovely piece of work, may be imperfect in some ways but perfectly willing to love us with all their might. No matter how imperfect dogs or cats might be physically, they are perfect where it counts — in their hearts.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Harper Collins, for review purposes.

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