Ten years ago, Australian couple Nikki and Simon were devastated when their 6-month-old Border Collie, Sammy, went missing from their yard. After seven years, their dog was returned to them, and it was clear he had suffered from neglect. After he was nursed back to health, the couple invited photographer Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne to do a photo shoot with Sammy and their other Border Collie, Billie.
Sammie as a puppy before he went missing
Nikki and Simon had welcomed Billie into their home after searching for Sammy turned up nothing. Seven years later, the couple had received a phone call from WISH Animal Rescue. A neglected and abused Border Collie was being treated at Foothills Animal Hospital, and a microchip identified him as their beloved Sammy.
Sammie reunited with Simon during treatment
He was suffering from infections, abscesses, flea infestation, and hair loss, among other issues. But what was most upsetting, explained Pilgrim-Byrne, was that his spirit seemed to be broken. “His eyes were dead and joyless,” she said. “[The vets] were worried that even if they fixed his physical wounds, he may never recover from the emotional trauma.”
But over time, Sam’s family proved their love for him, and the resilient Sam began to trust again.
Now 10 and 9 years old, respectively, Sammy and Billie had their photos taken at the CY O’Connor Dog Beach in Perth, Australia. “[Sammy] is deaf and a bit wobbly on his feet and he looks older than his 10 years with what he's been through, but he is utterly charming in every way,” says Pilgrim-Byrne. “Even with the neglect he suffered at the hands of humans, he didn't hesitate trotting over to us the second we got out of the car, bum and tail wagging, asking for a pat.”
See the moving "after" photos:
To learn more about microchipping your pet, visit AKC Reunite.