Blind Dogs See With Their Hearts
Siberian Husky Hera was surrendered by her owner. Elmo the black Labrador Retriever suffered severe neglect. Rescuers took Wasabi, a Siberian Husky-German Shepherd Dog mix, from a hoarder’s home with 60 other dogs.
Kyra Kirkwood |
Posted: Jan 11, 2013, 8 a.m. EST
These orphaned canines faced difficult days ahead, even after rescue. All had vision impairments, from partial sight to blindness. But thanks to Blind Dog Rescue Alliance, the future was hopeful for these pups, and nearly 250 others helped by this nonprofit group since its launch in Philadelphia in 2009.
BDRA is an Internet-based rescue group with a network of 150 volunteers spanning the United States and Canada. The volunteers, who all have extensive experience with rescue and visually impaired dogs, regularly contact shelters across the country to see if any blind or visually impaired dogs need help. As BDRA grows, more and more owners unable to keep their sight-challenged dogs reach out for assistance, as do clinics and others involved with the dog-rescue world.
“Blind dogs are as special as any other dog,” says Steven Marsh of Whiting, N.J., BDRA’s volunteer coordinator and a member of its board of directors. “They show us how courageous they can be in difficult situations. Once we can overlook the fact that there is a vision problem, these dogs make great pets. They show us that blind dogs truly see with their hearts.”
All of the dogs BDRA rescues are housed in volunteers’ homes. They receive training, socialization, love, and proper medical care. The group posts information about and photos of the dogs available for adoption on its website. Through its network of volunteers, BDRA offers to transport a dog a reasonable distance to an approved adopter, at no extra cost, even if out of state.
BDRA adopters come from all over the world, and many of them have loved sight-challenged dogs before or feel a connection with these special-needs canines.
“We want to make sure that our dogs are being placed in homes that are the best fit for an individual dog -- not just first come, first serve,” Marsh says.
As with most rescue groups, BDRA relies on donations to help with the care and medical issues faced by the 30 to 40 dogs being aided at any one time.
“Every little bit helps,” Marsh says.
Marsh explains that although it is difficult to temporarily foster a dog and then say goodbye -- as he has many times -- it’s worth it to see the dog go to a forever home.
“We can save another dog if we foster and adopt, and repeat,” says Marsh, owner of five dogs, many with vision problems.
For more information about Blind Dog Rescue Alliance and to find out how you can help, click here.
The efforts of Blind Dog Rescue Alliance to aid and rescue dogs inspired FreeKibble.com, a website dedicated to providing nutritious food to shelter animals, to donate 5,000 meals to BDRA.
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