Life Lessons, resources, and random bits for rescue dogs, cats, bunnies, and their peeps

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Specials: Adopting a Blind Dog

Welcome to week fourteen of The Specials, a series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pit Bulls and black cats. If not for the kindness, courage, and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals would have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. Please check out past special needs adoption posts here. 

special needs dog adoption

Faith experiences the world through her heart and inspires all those around her to do the same. She is an energetic and loving, adopted four year-old Golden Retriever, Yellow Lab, Australian Shepherd mix. She is also a certified therapy dog and has been blind in both eyes since birth.

special needs dog adoption, adopting a blind dog

Both Kim and Dean had previous experience with blind dogs. Kim had a dog that was blind in one eye and Dean had a dog that went blind later in life. Although they fell in love with Faith immediately, they knew that adopting a young, active blind dog would be more challenging and so they took time to make a thoughtful decision. 

Before bringing Faith home they relocated breakable items and moved the coffee table out of the living room to create more space. They continue to keep their house clutter free, and if they move furniture, they make sure to show Faith around so she can adjust. On Faith's first day home, Kim and Dean led her around the house naming things as they went along - living room, kitchen, back door, etc. Just a few hours later, Faith made her way down a long hallway and found her water dish on her own. Like most blind dogs, Kim says Faith has an amazing innate ability to map out her environment, adapt, and problem solve. Kim believes in creating a supportive environment, but also letting Faith be a regular dog. Yes, sometimes she bumps into things, but that's part of life and the learning process. 

special needs dog adoption, adopting a blind dog

When Kim and Dean adopted Faith, they had two other dogs, Sara and Angie.  Both dogs quickly figured out that Faith was blind.  Sara avoided Faith as she didn’t appreciate being plowed into by a fast moving, young dog.  While Angie, who was originally rescued from a hoarding situation and has multiple health and emotional scars, took on the role of mother and playmate.

Although Faith is very good at taking care of herself, both dogs have stepped in to help on a few occasions. Early on, before Faith had good recall, she charged out the door and into the front yard. Angie followed, grabbed her by the collar and led her back inside. Another time, she snuck out the door and started off down the road.  Sara ran ahead of her and body blocked her until Dean caught up and brought both dogs home.

special needs dog adoption, adopting a blind dog

Most recently they adopted Lucy, a puppy mill survivor, as a playmate for Faith.  The first few weeks were challenging: Faith didn’t understand why her new sister kept sniffing her while Lucy was confused as to why Faith didn’t respond to normal dog body language.  The adjustment period was challenging and lasted about a month, but now the two are best friends. They play, hike, wrestle, and engage in all kinds of regular dog activities.  Angie is also perfectly content to take on the secondary playmate role to both younger dogs.

special needs dog adoption, adopting a blind dog

Faith has participated in several obedience classes and has earned her Canine Good Citizen title from AKC. Kim stresses the importance of using commands like right, left, step up, step down, careful, stop,  and come consistently. When going for walks or hikes, Kim and Dean are Faith's eyes and so maintaining trust and communication is vital.

Most recently in early April, Faith passed and was certified as a therapy dog by Therapy Dogs International. Kim believes Faith is a natural healer and actively seeks out people in need of care and comfort. She nuzzles their hand, and if she gets a positive response, leans on them and gently places her head in their lap or raises it for kisses.

As they are just starting their therapy journey, they will begin by participating in a program that brings therapy dogs to visit college students during final exams.  Faith loves children and Kim hopes to eventually work with kids battling disease or disability. They also continue to volunteer as a team with Faith's rescue organization Retrieve a Golden Of Minnesota.

special needs dog adoption adopting a blind dog

Kim says Faith is one of the happiest, sweetest spirits she has ever met. Faith never lets anything get her down, and when she hits a bump in the road she learns from it, shakes it off, and moves on.  She inspires everyone she meets to find and live their joy.  Thanks to Faith, Kim left behind a corporate job she no longer enjoyed, and followed her dream of opening her own business. Blind Faith Canine Massage & Wellness offers a variety of treatments to promote health and healing in dogs of any breed, age, or athleticism. 

Faith clearly has much to give and teach the world and we wish her well as she continues to share her light and love with all those she meets. 

Please consider adopting or fostering a special needs dog or cat because second chances are amazing whether you are on the giving or receiving side. If you enjoyed this post, please check out my posts on adopting a paralyzed cat and adopting a deaf dog.

special needs dog adoption, adopting a blind dog

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30 comments

  1. What a truly inspiring story!! Kim and Dean are wonderful people to adopt Faith and to make her life so full fun and happy! xx

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  2. what a wonderful story... and I bet Faith got her name for a reason... paws up for our blind friends who need our support and a home.

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  3. Hari OM
    A story of trust and Faith!!! Beautifurs... hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

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  4. Wow, that is one great story and yay for Kim and Dean. It is so great that they took Faith and were so good to her. Sure looks like Faith has one super home.

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  5. this is an amazing story and touched me to the bottom of my heart.. she is so beautiful and i love to read happy ever after stories... thanks for sharing

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  6. Oh, Faith is a beautiful dog inside and out....you can SEE it! I am so glad she has a loving and understanding home. What a wonderful story. It goes to show that a dog with a disability can surely adapt and live a normal life! love it.

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  7. What an exceptional story and post. Thanks for introducing us to this great dog. My husband and I had dogs prior to our cat family. One became blind and deaf as she aged and the other deaf. It was challenging for both of them and us, so I have great compassion and admiration for those who take on the tasks of training these dogs. I always love to hear how their dog companions help to watch out for them. Faith is going to make a great therapy dog.

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  8. Loved reading this post, very inspirational. Thanks for the post!
    Jessica

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  9. Wow, thank you Kristin for your entire series of specials. Your writing is so beautiful and the story of Faith is inspirational! Kim and Dean are "special" Dog parents. I love that they 1. Rescued Faith 2. Helped her become a Therapy Dog. There is no better way to show someone who is ill or with a special need that they are not alone and can overcome than introducing them to Faith. 3. Kim has taken her love and lessons from Faith and turned it into a full time business she loves.
    I'm looking forward to continuing to follow the Specials and Faith and Kim's story!

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  10. Ruby...first off the title trash talk in the park cracked me up....I can just hear you and your girl now....sweet precious little girls.

    Oh on My Cat From He** this past weekend Jackson was visiting with a family who foster blind cats. The lady said after reading Homer Odysseys she was inspired to help foster them. Jackson surprised her by inviting Gwen Gooper, author of Homer's book, to visit her. It was such an inspiration just like your post today.
    Thank you Hugs madi and mom

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  11. What a beautiful story! There are some amazing people in this world (one being this blog author) ;-) God bless!!

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  12. I love this story. Fantastic message there also. Thanks so much for sharing....

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  13. A wonderful wonderful story. We saw a story not too long ago about a blind pug mix that is a therapy dog!
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  14. Another great post in your fabulous Specials series, Kristin! Faith is such an inspiration, she'll be a great therapy dog helping so many people in need! Kim and Dean are very special people, they've given Faith a great family and a truly purposeful life!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  15. What an inspiring story and wonderful post. Close to my heart as my Samoyed, Samson, went blind when he was two years old. He suffers from a disease that affect skin and eyes. Only the quick thinking of our vet who put him on steroids saved Samson's eyesight. Now he gets eyedrops every day and I make sure to have prednisone on hand in case something happens again. I love the dogs in this post.

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  16. What a wonderful story! Differently-abled pets have so much to offer,and it sounds like Faith is going prove that to everyone!

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  17. What a lovely story! I love that she became a therapy dog too!

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  18. Amazing the ability of a blind animal. There's no stopping them. Thanks for sharing Faith's story with us.

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  19. Wow, this is an amazing story! Kudos to Kim and Dean for adopting a blind dog. I love how the other dogs have taken her under their wing and shown her the way when needed. It's just unbelievable how smart and sensitive dogs (and animals in general) are!

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  20. It is amazing how well blind dogs do! We have seen reports on them before!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  21. What a wonderful post! Thank you for this. Faith, and Kim and Dean, are such an inspiration.

    Our friend's blind dog, Harvey, is the awesomest, most loving boy ever, so this post really hit close to home. :)

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  22. I love, love, love this. My friend took in a 16 year old blind dog. He lived two more years...happily!

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  23. Absolutely fascinating and inspiring. The reaction of the other dogs to Faith shows clearly that attributes like empathy and altruism are not the unique preserve of humans.
    Thanks for this wonderful post.
    Cheers,
    Gail.

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  24. I definitely wouldn't mind adopting a blind pet. Beautiful story.

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  25. I just love this story. Faith is such an inspiration, as are Kim and Dean. I used to care for a blind dog when her humans were away on trips, and I always admired her spirit and love of life. Faith sounds so much like this as well, and it's obvious she could teach us all a few things. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!

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  26. Hooray for Kim and Dean! Not only does Faith have a wonderful forever home, she has a purpose in life :)Well done! :)

    the critters in the cottage xo

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  27. You are truly an amazing girl, Faith♥

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  28. yea for Faith. And special need companion animals give back so much more than humans can imagine

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  29. Yeah for Faith! You are an inspiration!

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