International Blind Dog Day
This week, on Wednesday 23 August, we’re celebrating the first ever International Blind Dog Day.
We’re joining dog owners with blind pets across the world, to embrace the day and celebrate their special and unique pooches.
The event has been launched by Cambridgeshire dog-lover Sarah Horne, owner of ten-year-old blind Jack Russell terrier Shammy, who lost his sight due to untreated cataracts.
I wanted to raise awareness of blind dogs and dispel misconceptions around their abilities, for example when I first adopted Shammy many people asked why I'd get a dog I couldn't walk! Shammy, and lots of other blind dogs, run, jump, play and swim like their fully-sighted counterparts. I wanted to launch International Blind Dog Day to show the world what blind dogs can do, not what they can't!
Some of the dogs in our care do have serious, lifetime health complications such as the loss of their sight. Below are the stories of just some of the blind pooches we’ve helped.
Delphine is a blind springer spaniel who was abandoned in Kent in 2015, left tied to a pallet of bricks in a remote lane. She was rescued by one of our inspectors, and was discovered to have cataracts that had left her virtually blind.
Despite being safe and well-cared for at one of our centres, Delphine did not like life in kennels and rarely wagged her tail. But the glum little dog’s life has been transformed after her story was spotted on Facebook by her new owners, John and Anne Hopkins.
At the Hopkins’ home in Wokingham, Berkshire, Delphine’s new owners use voice commands to help her up and down steps, and have put mats around the house to signal when she is going into a different room.
She has grown in confidence and finds her way around without a problem. She’s an absolute treasure, she lifts her paw up to let us know she wants a tummy rub. She really is part of the family. We are so lucky to have her.
Pooch’s neglectful owner had left him suffering with a congenital condition that had gone untreated for five years. This lead to him having to have both of his eyes removed when he arrived into our care in January 2016.
Luckily, the Staffordshire bull terrier soon learned to get by without his sight, and staff at RSPCA Block Fen, in Cambridgeshire, found him the paw-fect home.
Pooch – renamed Hooch – is now loving life with retired couple Tina and David Osler. They told us that they hadn’t imagined they would adopt a blind dog, until they met the lovable staffy.
The couple, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said:
He’s brilliant and has settled in really well. He’s coping very well without his sight too. He still bumps into things occasionally but on the whole he is brilliant, he’s adapted brilliantly. We try and make life easier for him. We live in a bungalow so he doesn’t have to tackle stairs. We were also told not to move the furniture around so his surroundings are familiar.
Pip was just six-weeks-old when she was dumped, with her mother Peggy, beside a busy road in Basildon, Essex in August 2016.
One of our inspectors rushed to help the pair, and they were taken in by the charity’s Essex South, Southend & District branch. Staff at the centre quickly realised that there was something very wrong with the little chihuahua.
Vets eventually discovered that the tiny pup was missing part of her brain, leaving her blind and with no functioning eyelids. They believe this could have been caused by bad breeding.
Despite her complications, Peggy and Pip were adopted by one of our volunteers, animal-lover Penny Andrews, and the pair joined her menagerie in Hunstanton, Norfolk. Penny explained:
Pip has mapped out the bungalow, she runs in and out, and around the top of the garden - she is a dream. She is so clever, the way she runs around and never bumps into anything! You could quite easily forget that she can’t see, I think it affects me more than her.
Be part of it
We have so many animals waiting to be rehomed, each of them unique in their own special way. If you’re interested in giving a rescued animal a second chance, check out the animals in our care who are still looking for homes.
And if you want to take part in International Blind Dog Day, or you want to see how others are taking part, check out #InternationalBlindDogDay on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.