I recently wrote an article entitled “Abused Rescue Dogs Need Special Training” which was about a dog (Sandra Bullock) who had been tied to a tree and left to die. If you saw the news, she had a rope embedded in her neck which had to be surgically removed. After recovery she was adopted by a wonderful family.
On My Way to Visit
I am doing puppy lessons with the new family and “Sandy” and on the way out to see them I was excited to see her and how well she was doing. Questions were racing through my mind:
- “Would she remember me?”
- “Did she remember the commands I had taught her during my visits at the Animal Hospital?”
- “How was she adapting to her new home and environment?”
- “Would she get along with the other female dog in the family?”…. and many more.
I Finally Arrive
It was a long drive out but well worth the time behind the wheel. I rang the doorbell and waited to hear the familiar sound of dogs barking in the house. Yep, there they go – but not obnoxious – just enough to let you know that there are dogs there. Sandra, now nicknamed Sandy and her new sister Maddie, a very cute Sheltie sporting a summer cut, met me at the door and I was immediately showered with doggie kisses.
I reciprocated with clicks and treats and that’s when Sandy’s memory kicked in. She remembered the sound of my clicker and the lamb loaf treats I had always used in her training.
Well, this is cool I thought. What a happy ending. I couldn’t wait to meet the family and begin the first training session.
Training Time with the Family
The lessons went off without a hitch as we discussed structure in the home for Sandy – and, yes, Maddie could use a little as well – but not much. Sandy had remembered her sit, down and place command.
She performed them flawlessly except for one thing. Sandy had lost her eye sight!
She has been to their vet and routine tests have been done to confirm her loss of sight. For a dog that was dealt a bad hand to begin with, the last thing she needed was more adversity to overcome.
Despite the Odds, She’s a Trooper!
I was told about her loss of sight right away and it was very noticeable as she stumbled and bumped her way around the family room. While this was a total shock to me, I looked at the glass half full. The pluses far outweighed the minuses. Let’s take a look at what she has going for her:
- She’s in a great home with a family that truly loves her despite her blindness.
- She already knows how to find and go to her very own special dog bed in a corner of the family room where she feels safe.
- She is house trained! This was a major concern before but she is good to go.
- Biggest bonus: Maddie, her sister the herding dog, “rides herd” on her and keeps her on the right track out to potty and back in the house. The perfect dog for the perfect job! It’s like she was put here on this earth just for Sandy – and she’s been waiting for Sandy so she can go to work. Sandy has her own seeing eye dog!
Sandy may see a specialist to determine if there is some kind of pressure on a nerve that, if relieved, would allow her to regain her eye sight. Against all odds, Sandy has risen to the top bringing out the goodness in all the people who cared to lend a hand to make sure one more rescue dog is saved.
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Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dog and counting and having helped more than 7,000 clients. Jim’s easy to follow, common sense and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years. One of his clients says it best:
“There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rate people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective techniques for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.”
© Jim Burwell, Inc.
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