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Woman loses eye, adopts pup also missing eye

Posted at 5:02 PM, Sep 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-19 20:02:45-04

One woman who's terrifying episode caused her to lose an eye from a gunshot wound is finding strength from an adorable puppy who coincidentally also has one eye.

"Bear lost his eye by being attacked by a bigger dog, so we've pretty much got the same story," Maria Williamson of Mobile, Alabama told ABC News today. "Bear makes me realize that bad things can happen to anyone.

"We get along great," she added." He lives to play."

Williamson, 26, said that on June 28 she was shot in the face during an attempted robbery while sitting at a red light.

The horrifying incident robbed her of her right eye.

"They have arrested and charged seven juvenile gang members with attempted murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and attempted carjacking," Williamson said. "They told the police they were trying to rob me.

"I was devastated," she added. "The fear of the unknown really got me--'Will I be able to see far away?' I can never watch 3-D movies again' were the things running through my head."

Two months after the ordeal, a local animal shelter received a note from Williamson's boyfriend, after he came across a photo of a puppy that had lost an eye as a result of being attacked by another dog.

"My girlfriend was the victim of senseless gang violence," he wrote to the Animal Rescue Foundation in Mobile, Alabama. "She was approached in her car by adolescents on foot who shot her without warning or provocation. I personally think that caring for Bear will help both Bear and herself recover from their tragic attacks"

Allison Rellinger, vice president at the shelter, said she and staffers were extremely touched by the letter and immediately set up a meeting between Williamson and Bear, an eight-week-old, mixed-bred puppy.

"Maria's boyfriend actually saw our post," she said. "He showed her [Williamson] and she said 'Oh my God, there's a dog without an eye' and she fell in love.

"He [Bear] was picked up and shaken and stuff by a bigger dog, so his eye had completely popped out of his socket," Rellinger added. "Obviously she's going to understand what the puppy's going through. We couldn’t imagine anything better for a wounded puppy."

Williamson said that her experience adopting Bear and being a victim of a crime has helped her appreciate the value of life.

"I was so thankful to be alive," she said. "Look how close I was to losing my life. I did not, and still have not gone through depression. If anything I've gone through a celebratory period. I have a whole new outlook on life. Nothing can bring me down.

"To other victims, don't let this break you," Williamson added. "If you let this negatively effect how you live your life, then you are ultimately letting your attacker win. If you come out positive and thankful to have a second chance at life, then you are winning."