Blind Dog Rescue Alliance was founded in 2009 by Karen Belfi and her husband. They became acquainted with the world of blind dogs when in 1999 they were seeking a companion for their Siberian Husky. They found Ray Charles, a Shepherd/Collie mix that was born without eyes (a condition known as microphthalmia). Ray Charles changed their lives forever.
Today, Karen and her husband share their home with three blind dogs and a hospice foster. One of their dogs, Pete who is a Foxhound/Husky mix, might make you think again about the ability of blind dogs. He runs and play, knows his way around their home, can navigate up and down the stairs and go in and out of the dog door. He takes them on walks, knowing exactly where to turn at each corner.
Karen shared with us that blind dogs have an amazing ability to adapt. They make wonderful pets and can do almost anything sighted dogs can do. There are lots of causes of blindness in dogs include disease and old age. The most common causes of blindness include glaucoma, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS), microphthalmia and trauma to the head or eyes. Some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to blindness as well. Some dogs are simply born blind.
There is no reason not to share your home with a blind dog. There are things you can do to make your home safe for your dog. Here are some helpful hints: Consider tags or bells on their collar and the collars of their companions so everyone, including you, know where the dogs are. You can teach your dog some commands to make them more aware of their surroundings, like the word ”watch.” Use scents or textured fabrics to indicate where the door is located or the bottom of the stairs. Create a routine for your dog and keep obstacles at a minimum. Keep your dog active with lots of exercise and good nutrition.
If you would like to adopt, you can visit blinddogrescue.org and complete your application today. Blind Dog Rescue Alliance also needs volunteers for fundraising, donations and fostering. You can check out their website and all the ways you can help. Like them on FaceBook (@blinddogresce) and on Instagram (blinddogrescuealliance).