A few months ago, Robyn Arouty — an extremely talented photographer and one of the most inspirational people I have had the honor of calling a friend — shared the above image on Facebook. It’s beautiful. It’s shocking. It’s uncomfortable. It’s hopeful… And it’s only part of the story.

In the weeks that followed, I eagerly anticipated updates from Robyn on the state of Kellan, the dog in the photo that represented a million dogs — and their uncertain stories — all at once. Was she healing? Thriving? Would she be adoptable?

Today, I’m happy to be able to share Kellan’s background and the photos that catalog her transformation. The following is the story of her journey, written by Robyn and re-published on Dog Milk with permission.

We all have a story. This is Kellan’s.

Houston’s got a dirty little secret. 1.2 million homeless animals live in our city. You’re about to meet one who no longer calls the streets home.

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

On November 12th, Alicia and Yvette, volunteers for Forgotten Dogs of The Fifth Ward Project, were out feeding homeless dogs when she approached them. She was clearly abused, abandoned, and neglected — and needed help immediately. A plea went out with these heartbreaking photos in hopes they could find a foster home.  They named her Kellan, after Kelle, the organization’s fearless leader. “I honestly feel when we find a dog like that that it is the one we were meant to take home that day. I always feel that there is a perfect plan for them.” –Kelle

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

Shawna told me that she called them right away without even thinking. “I was horrified. My heart sank and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be the help she needed. The night I took her home I sat on the floor and just cried with her.” A few days later, the group decided to find another foster with no pets. They weren’t sure yet if Kellan had been involved in dog fighting or used as a bait dog so they decided to proceed with caution and not put Shawna’s small pets in danger.

My good friend Michael was recently separated from a 17 year relationship and living alone. The day the plea for a new foster went out he said to me, “She needs me. And I need her.”

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

I got the idea to do a BEFORE photoshoot with Michael and Kellan the day after he brought her home. I “saw” the befores and afters in my mind and it just had to be. Special thanks to Sally Wheat, interior designer extraordinaire, for loving the idea of putting them in a swanky setting, and who loaned us her amazing home literally on a moment’s notice. She was instantly smitten with Kellan and gave us full run of the house.

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

“Fostering literally saves lives. She is a perfect example of that. I hope it reaches someone who has thought about it but hasn’t committed to it yet.” –Alicia

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

Michael and Kellan. Soon a force to be reckoned with. I enjoyed visiting them often and reported her fab progress along the way.

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

She finally gained enough weight to be spayed and we made plans for the AFTER photos so we could list her for adoption. By now, Michael and John had reconciled and that meant they were going back to live in their home with two chihuahuas. I was a worried mess! Would she want to eat their little dogs? How did John feel about this? And Michael told me it would all be fine. And it was.

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

Shawna was with us on the photoshoot at their house. It was bittersweet. ”Kellan is truly a special dog. I have never seen a dog full of so much grace and kindness. I hope that her forever family understands the enormity of Kellan’s life, what her story means for all of us involved in her journey and how special they are for choosing the most amazing dog. It will have to be a family worthy of such greatness and who understands that more than them “saving” Kellan, I believe she will be saving them. She has so far with every life she has touched.” –Shawna

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

Of course she adores her current family. She adores everyone. Michael is a man of his word. He loves Kellan and committed to nursing her back to health to prepare her for her new life. She is now available for adoption.

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

She is an amazing angel. I just don’t know how to tell you…

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

“Well, my work is done here now and I’m tired. Bringing Michael and John back together was my first trick. I’m ready for more!”

Love,

Kellan

If you would like to volunteer, foster, or donate to Forgotten Dogs of The Fifth Ward Project, please visit their website:  www.forgottendogs.org

If you would like more information about Kellan or want to fill out an application for adoption, visit her adoption page here.

<i>We All Have a Story. This is Kellans.</i>: A Photo Essay by Robyn Arouty in other

For larger versions of the photos, please see the original post on Robyn’s blog or keep up with more of Robyn’s work on her Facebook page.