Disabled animals get screen time in new series ‘Imperfect Friends’

A new series of YouTube videos that tell the stories of disabled animals in the Algarve has been warming hearts over the internet.

The project is called ‘Amigos Imperfeitos’ (Imperfect Friends) and aims to show that animals with diseases, physical limitations, or any other kind of handicap are just as deserving of a loving family.

The videos are filmed every Sunday in Portimão by a team of three men who give up hours of their private life for the project – 23-year-old João Ferreira, a volunteer for Portimão-based animal association ADAP; 30-year-old David Venâncio from film company Screen Inside; and 38-year-old photographer Carlos Filipe.

Eight episodes have already been released and many more are due to follow.

Says João Ferreira, the main goal is to “allow owners to explain what it is like to live with these ‘different’ animals” which, despite their limitations and needs, “can and should be adopted”.

The videos also aim to be educational and raise awareness of the issues that some animals face, including blindness, deafness, diabetes, cancer and limb amputation.

“They are different but no less perfect. They simply have special needs,” says Carlos.

Another important goal is to find forever homes for some of the animals starring in the videos and which currently live in foster care.

“Having an animal that is different is not as difficult as it seems. And the reward is so much greater than one might think. Adopt an animal and, if it is different, embrace it because that’s what makes them unique,” said Carlos, who is also getting ready to launch a 20-photo exhibition which will feature these ‘imperfect friends’.

The idea for the project came to Carlos after a time in his life when he had lost his inspiration for photography, only regaining it when he adopted his new dog Boris. “I started photographing him for fun,” he told Barlavento newspaper, which was when he considered doing the same for animals looking for homes.

He later held a series of charity photography sessions with animals from local associations and ended up raising €2,000. Among the animals that he photographed were animals with disabilities and diseases, which he thought deserved more exposure to show that they are “fantastic animals” that make great pets.

However, he felt that the stories of these animals were lost through photography. Thus, he teamed up with João and David to create a series of videos, lasting between eight to 12 minutes on average, which tell the stories of these special animals.

The videos, which are in Portuguese, can be found on YouTube – search ‘Amigos Imperfeitos’ (producer Screen Inside).


David Venâncio, Carlos Filipe and João Ferreira with the one-eyed cat ‘Bruno Jorge’
Paula and ‘Quico’
Lólia and ‘Dory’
Wheelchair-bound Benny
Elsa and ‘Gaspar’
Carlos and ‘Boris’
Irene and ‘Messi’
Mary and ‘Fofinha’