Stevie came to GRREAT in November 2008 as a very small, 9 wk old puppy. She and her littermates, along with their Mother, were dumped at a shelter when the puppies were only a few weeks old. One by one, all were adopted except for Stevie. She was obviously the runt of the litter but that wasn’t the problem. No one wanted Stevie because she had been born blind.
When the shelter realized that they weren’t going to be able to find her a Forever Home, they called GRREAT and, almost that same day, a volunteer picked her up and transported her to her first foster home. Through a wonderful vet atPalisades Veterinary Clinic, Stevie got an appointment with a world-renowned doggie ophthalmologist, Dr Seth Koch. After her examination, we received the news that Stevie’s blindness was due to a congenital birth defect, and there was nothing that could be done to correct it; her eyes just never developed properly.
From there, Stevie arrived in her current foster home as a 12 wk old, 13 lb youngster, and promptly tinkled on the living room rug. Ahhhh puppies. In fact, the most challenging parts of living with Stevie have nothing to do with her blindness. Most are simply the everyday challenges of raising a young dog. Her foster home prepared for her arrival by reading Living with Blind Dogs, by Caroline D. Levin, which is a wonderful guide to the rewards and realities of sharing a life with a blind companion.
Once Stevie was settled in, she was taken to visit the Coventry School for Dogs and Their People to meet the owners, Ruth Chase and her dog Robbie. After an initial assessment, it was determined that Stevie could join Puppy Day Camp and enroll in Puppy Kindergarten class. Since then, Stevie has graduated from both Puppy I and Puppy II, and she continues to attend day camp to play with all her young friends. Stevie also attends the Canine Fitness Center where she spends time swimming laps and playing in the pool.
So many people and businesses have opened their doors to Stevie, regardless of her differences and, because of this, she has grown into an outgoing, sweet, and confident young dog. Often, new people she meets have to be told that she is blind, it’s just not obvious. She uses her heightened senses of hearing and smell to help her negotiate the world around her, and she bravely forges ahead though she cannot see a thing.
Unfortunately, her story does not end here. In April of 2009, it became apparent that Stevie’s housebreaking progress was falling behind other puppies her age. After several tests and procedures, we were given the terrible news that the congenital birth defects that affected her eyes and small stature, also affected her kidneys; they never developed properly either. The vets sadly informed us that this condition is life-limiting, and they gave her 3-6 months to live.
It was an incongruous diagnosis. How could this young dog, so full of life, so precious and precocious, have only months to live? It was absolutely unfair.
After the shock wore off, we began to do some research on our own and one of the best websites we came across wasKidney Disease in Dogs, by Mary Straus. From the site, we learned how to read blood work results, read nutrition labels, choose supplements and medicines, and put together a plan of action which we discussed with Stevie’s vets. We also added acupuncture and Healing Touch therapies to bolster her immune system and overall health. The vets were still guarded in their optimism, but agreed to the plan and it was implemented. One month later, and Stevie’s blood values started heading in the right direction!
The values are nowhere close to normal, and the possibility of complete kidney failure is ever present, but we are hopeful that we can buy some quality time and keep Stevie feeling happy and healthy for as long as possible.
This indomitable little spirit has proven time and again that she will meet every challenge in her life with courage and determination. She won’t give up and neither will we!
Stevie is in a permanent foster home and will be cared for by GRREAT for the rest of her life. Click the button below to Sponsor Stevie, she would be most appreciative of your support