An 11-year-old girl diagnosed with an incurable brain stem cancer had a wish — to professionally photograph the dogs she loves for a day.
Zoey Henry’s wish became reality after the Make-A-Wish Foundation connected her to Elias Weiss Friedman, the founder and creative director of The Dogist — a blog with more than four million Instagram followers that tells the story of dogs.
The two met at New York City’s Washington Square Park and asked local dog walkers if Zoey could practice her photography skills. New Yorkers jumped at the opportunity, and Zoey quickly demonstrated her passion for animals. She learned how to get dogs’ attention, have them sit and stare into the camera, and reward the canine models with treats and toys.
Once their practice session at the park was finished, Zoey joined Friedman at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, and captured photos of dogs waiting for adoption.
The Dogist then posted Zoey’s photos to their social media, along with a request for people to donate. After a few days, her heartening work raised almost $14,000!
“That money didn’t exist before Zoey’s video went up, so that’s all Zoey’s inspiration,” Friedman explained to Today.
Zoey clearly loves dogs, and part of the reason why is her family’s dog, Diesel, who comforted her throughout chemotherapy sessions to shrink the tumor. She wants all dogs to live in forever homes, and through her photography she has raised awareness for the many dogs in shelters.
“They’re so cute and people might not recognize that there’s so (many) dogs that don’t have homes yet,” Zoey told Today.
After one year of chemotherapy, Zoey is recovering and can still play with her sister and friends. The tumor has created a few lasting health problems, including some difficulty lifting the front part of her foot, regulating emotions, and retaining memory. With therapy, Zoey will be able to manage these issues while she continues to passionately pursue photography and live a long, dog-filled life.
Lady Freethinker thanks Zoey for her compassion, and reminds everyone that we can all show kindness to dogs by adopting them from shelters, never chaining them, and treating them with the respect they deserve.