Taking a Blind (and Deaf) Leap of Faith…
May 25, 2012 at 9:36:44 am | Posted by A Pet Lover in Dog Adoption, Pet Adoption, Pet CareTweet
This is a blog post written and submitted by one of our readers. Thank you for saving a life & sharing your story with us! If you’d like to be a guest blogger on The Water Bowl, share your animal adoption story with us!
In August 2009, on old friend had posted that due to economic reasons she needed to re-home two of her Australian Shepherds (both are homozygous, double-merle, lethal whites): Lindsey and Honey. A few weeks later, as we were heading out to Las Vegas, NV, from Cerritos, CA (where I’m at), via Bullhead City, AZ (where she was living at the time), for our mutual birthday weekend (September 30 and October 1 respectively), the subject of the two Aussies dominated our conversation.
Lindsey would be the most likely, should she end up with Amazing Aussies of Arizona Lethal White Rescue, of being adopted. She was friendly, outgoing, intelligent, and “deaf-only.” As for Honey, being both “deaf and blind,” plus at that time, skittish around children and not very friendly around strangers – especially men (as my friend discovered on a number of occasions when a boyfriend was around that Honey would either growl, snap, and/or just walk away from them with what could be called “disdain” towards the men), her chances of adoption from a rescue was doubtful.
This might be a good time for some needed background: Honey was a rescue from the Lancaster Animal Shelter by South Cal Aussie Rescue. Her, and her 3 sisters (they were deaf-only), had been dropped off at approximately 6 months old. Due to their fur color they had no value (monetarily and within the breed). Most breeders, after discovering the color of the fur (mainly white), will pull them from the litters at 5-6 days old (so these 4 were kept to be sold as “rare”). When selling them didn’t work out, the breeder left them at the shelter. Because of their “special needs” status, they were going to be put to sleep the next day. Fortunately, the rescue group happened to be there to save another Australian Shepherd, and so in typical fashion they didn’t leave anyone behind.
Lindsey was neglected by her owners in Visalia, CA. They grew weary of her because she wasn’t responding to them. They thought that she was dumb and untrainable, when her only issue was that of being deaf. They left her tied up outside to be exposed to the weather… throwing food in her direction when they felt like feeding her. When North Cal Aussie Rescue was eventually called in to save her, she was skin and bones…but still wanting to love and be loved in return.
As with both of them, they ended up with my friend: Honey as a “foster fail” (a companion for her own dog), and then eventually Lindsey as an addition to her family of Aussies. Anyhow…back to the story.
By the time we returned to Bullhead City from the Las Vegas weekend, even with the odds working against me, I had decided to take my chances and see if Honey would deal with me. I’ve always had a way with dogs, having grown up around a good number of them over the years. Yet I had my concerns because 1) I’ve never dealt with Aussie Shepherds, or 2) worked with special needs animals. In the end, I figured that I needed someone to cuddle and take up most of my bed since the wife had left me and taken her dog with her. Yes, I missed having a dog in my life.
After arriving at her place, she found and carried Honey into the living room. After introducing her to me (she held Honey up and had me scratch her chin – as this was how she kept her under control while doing people introductions), followed with Lindsey and Blaze (her first Aussie – a very normal tuxedo bi), I plopped down onto a lazy-boy. Moments later, Honey literally walked over, jumped on my lap, stretched out for my hand, and started to groom me for the next hour or so. With her tail wagging at a million miles an hour, while happily licking away, she pretty much adopted me. After several hours, I departed with a promise that I would think it over and give her a response before her anticipated trip back to Southern California in a week. After a lot of soul-searching, and even more research, I decided on going forward with the adoption. I wasn’t sure if I could handle a deaf and blind dog, yet I knew that I’d have my friend in the area for a week.
When the morning came, she arrived at my door with Honey. After a joyous reunion (as Honey clearly remembered who I was), and without even a flinch, when my friend handed her over to me she just followed in place. Even as my friend left a few minutes later (as she had errands to run), Honey wasn’t even phased as her foster mom departed. After an exhausting week, filled with tons of questions, visits with my friend, and dealing with the expected growing pains of having a new family member, Honey and I were thriving. Adding to our chemistry, about a month later, Honey and I took a week-long trip up the coast to Washington and back, visiting friends and relatives along the way. That trip (and the stories around it) strengthened the love and trust between us.
On a side note: two weeks after Honey’s adoption, both of us were back in Bullhead City. While leaving Honey with my friend (as she just couldn’t make the trip), I transported Lindsey to Phoenix, AZ, and a meeting with a representative of Amazing Aussies as she was going up for an adoption event on the very next day. Before the event even started, Lindsey was taken in by the couple running the event. Within a week, and after interacting with their pack, Lindsey was adopted by them.
Epilogue…as of 2012:
Lindsey is happily living with her family, which includes a pack of 5 (or was it 6) other dogs…running the house, plus the expansive backyard, and everywhere in-between.
Honey has gotten over most of her insecurities (although she is sometimes unsure around kids…but that’s because they can be erratic at times) and is still living the good life with me. Love, patience, trust, and security have gone a long way to making a real and lasting bond. I’ll be perfectly honest: more than not, I really do forget that she’s a deaf and blind dog. There are times I wish she could be “normal”, but then she wouldn’t be who she is…MY GIRL.
Have great adoption story? Share your Story with us and we may feature it on The Water Bowl and send you some presents for your pet!