Two German shepherds who grew up together, became impaired about the same time and ended up being surrendered by their owner, are looking for a new home — but it must be one they can share, their foster mom says.
Smokey lost his sight two years ago; River lost his hearing about the same time.
Now they depend on each other to get around.
“Smokey will follow the sound of River’s breathing, and River will come back and check on Smokey to make sure he gets out,” Tara Boals, a foster with Ruff Start Rescue, told KARE11. “He doesn’t even like to go out to the bathroom without his brother.”
Boals, who lives in Bloomington, Minn., said their previous owner was forced to sell his house and give up “his boys.” Taking over their temporary care, she promised the owner she’d make sure they stayed together.
“They will not leave here without each other,” she said. “If they have to stay here forever, until they are no longer with us, then that’s what’s going to happen.”
Because of Smokey’s blindness, the dogs need a quieter home with no stairs. Smokey is about 11; River’s slightly older.
You can learn more about Smokey and River, and donate to their care, at the Ruff Start Rescue website.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 16th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, animals, blind, bloomington, deaf, dependence, dog, dogs, elderly, foster, friends, german shepherds, minnesota, old age, pets, river, smokey
A lot of us are so dependent on our dogs we’d list them right up there with oxygen.
For Alida Knobloch, her dog is oxygen.
The three-year-old Georgia girl, who has a rare lung disease called neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia of infancy, or NEHI, breathes through a tube most of the time, attached to an oxygen tank, which is attached to her dog.
Her goldendoodle, Mr. Gibbs has been specially trained to tote the 6-pound tank, and to stay at Alida’s side.
Alida started having breathing problems by the time she was 6 months old, according to an MSNBC report. One day she turned blue and her parents, Aaron and Debbie Knobloch, rushed her to the hospital. Doctors stabilized her, but were baffled as to what her problem was.
Eventually, a specialist diagnosed NEHI, a condition that was only discovered in 2005, There have been only 500 confirmed cases.
With the help of a small portable oxygen tank, Alida’s health improved, but cumbersome and limiting as that was for a toddler, her parents started looking for ways to make her life more normal.
According to the Daily Mail, the couple learned about service dogs from a TV program and started searching for a guide dog who could learn the necessary skills. When they heard about a trainer in Georgia, with a dog that was available, they moved from Utah to Georgia to work with her.
Mr. Gibbs was living with trainer Ashleigh Kinsleigh, and had finished his initial obedience training when the Knoblochs first visited.
“He had to learn to get under the table at restaurants,” Kinsleigh said. “He had to learn that if there were other animals he couldn’t just go and play with them. He had to stay right next to his girl and ignore all the fun things around him. He also had to build up to be able to carry around the full weight of the 6-pound tank.”
“His job is to go wherever she goes and do whatever she does,” Kinsleigh added. “If she wants to get on the bike and go down the driveway he has to learn to run alongside. If she’s going to ride on a slide, he has to learn to climb up and slide down behind her.”
Experts say that children with NEHI often outgrow the disease, or the condition becomes so mild they no longer require additional oxygen.
(Photo: Caters News Agency / Daily Mail)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alida knobloch, animals, Ashleigh Kinsleigh, assistance, breathing, condition, dependence, disease, dog, dogs, georgia, gibbs, girl, goldendoodle, guide, help, lung, mr gibbs, nehi, neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia of infancy, oxygen, oxygen tank, pets, portable, rare, service, trainer
Among the dogs we met in Charlotte during our visit to The Dog Bar, were Skyler and Pierce, two white Great Danes who — one being half blind, one being deaf, neither having the distinct black markings harlequin Great Danes are supposed to have — were headed to the kind of future “defective” dogs often face.
Namely, no future at all.
They were part of a larger litter that turned out to be unprofitable. All the pups were affected by a strain of distemper — but because of their additional handicaps, Skyler and Pierce, the breeder decided, couldn’t even be given away, and therefore should be put down.
That’s when Laura Moss and Fred Metzler stepped in. Laura was working at an animal emergency clinic at the time. The litter of Great Danes ended up there. She already had three dogs at home, so she asked Fred, her friend of several years, to adopt the two future-less siblings.
Fred, a sales manager for a company that makes automatic doors, agreed. But, because he traveled a lot, he often called upon Laura to pet sit the duo — Skyler, the deaf one, and Pierce, the blind one — when he was out of town.
At Fred’s house, Laura noticed, the two pups — as they did at the hospital — continued to stay at each others’ sides. When they went to sleep, Skyler would lay her head on top of Pierce.
“That way, if he hears something, he’ll react. Then she’ll be the police dog and go check it out. They’ve been that way since they were babies,” Laura said. “There’s no way we could separate them.”
Skyler, named for her sky blue eyes, is 106 pounds; Pierce, named, for his handsomeness, after actor Pierce Brosnan, is 175 pounds. Despite their handicaps, they manage, with help from each other, to do all that dogs do.
Fred and Laura have come up with a system of sign language to communicate with Skyler, including more than 20 commands. The two dogs have become a striking and familiar sight in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. They even march in the local St. Patrick’s Day parade.
And they get along fine with Laura’s other dogs — a miniature pinscher named Jade, a Boston terrier named Halley and a dalmatian named Dax, who she also brought home from the animal hospital. His former owner dropped him off and, once learning he had heartworm, never picked him up.
Since she talked him into adopting the dogs, Laura and Fred have become a couple, and now share a residence with all five of their dogs.
Laura doesn’t give the Great Danes full credit for bringing two humans together — but maybe, on some level, the relationship between the two big white dogs represents a lesson to be learned: Having someone in your life you can turn to, and depend on, and whose strengths can compliment your weaknesses, has its advantages.
Or maybe that’s reading too much into it.
“The friendship is what brought us together,” Laura says, “but the Great Danes didn’t hurt.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, blind, breeders, charlotte, deaf, dependence, disabilities, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, fred metzler, great danes, handicaps, harlequin, laura moss, noda, pets, pierce, relationships, rescue, rescued, road trip, sign language, skyler, the dog bar, travel, traveling with dogs, white
It’s 2010 and I’m down to one dog.
The last of my holiday guests has been returned to her owners, leaving Ace and me on our own again. However tested we might have felt at times, I think we both agree it’s way too quiet now.
I’d like to think that Ace and my guests gained something from the experience — that Darcy will remember to relieve herself outdoors; that Cheyenne will remember how Ace helped guide her to the park; that Lucas will never forget that I can bark louder — though not for as long — as him.
Maybe I taught them a thing or two, but they — as often happens when humans and dogs connect – have taught me much more.
Hence, my New Year’s resolutions:
Be more like Ace: Share. Allow new beings, after a good sniffing out, into my life. When others get on my nerves, just walk away. Don’t whine. Don’t get cranky. Take things in stride. Adjust.
Be more like Lucas: Speak up when circumstances so dictate, or maybe sometimes even when they don’t. Keep plodding along, despite any aches, pains or inconveniences. And, if there’s a particularly attractive mud puddle, do not hesitate, even if wearing white, to jump on in and splash around. Get dirty once in a while.
Be more like Cheyenne: When I bump my head, keep going — with quiet grace. Persevere. Don’t whine about the obstacles; find a way around them. Step lightly, but keep moving forward.
Be more like Darcy: Seize the day. Live in the moment (even though, at the moment, I’m quite sick of that phrase). Grab the bone. Fart loud and often. Explore. Stay excited — maybe not to the extent she does — but stay excited by life.
Be more like Ace and Cheyenne: Be willing to help and be helped, to guide and be guided.
When you can cushion the blows somebody is taking, cushion them.
Don’t hesitate to hold somebody’s hand. Let others lean on me. Allow myself to lean on others.
Be willing to adjust my gait, my habits and my routines for good purposes.
Share the couch.
Share the bowl.
(To read all of the “Company for Christmas” series, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, adapt, adjust, animals, assistance, behavior, blind, boarding, cheyenne, christmas, company for christmas, darcy, dependence, dogs, guests, help, holidays, learn from dogs, lessons, lucas, new year, new years, pets, resolutions, visitors
One cool thing about running your own website — in addition to the fame, fortune, respect, freebies, groupies and the tingly feeling my elbows get from typing so much — is that through the use of a program called Google Analytics, I get to see not just how many people are stopping by, but where you are from, how long you stay, and what’s on your minds.
I can ascertain with but a few clicks, for instance, that 1,498 of you visited Monday, perusing 1,978 pages; that more than 2,000 of you graced us with your presence yesterday. I also know what towns and states you came from, and what led you here. Don’t worry, though, I can’t see into your bedrooms.
Many of you are led here by search engines. Yesterday, for example, 14 ended up here after Googling “dog and elephant,” two after Googling “dog walking in Baltimore,” two by Googling “Biden dog.”
But there was one that landed here after typing in these words: “1 dog died get another 1?”
Abbreviated as the query was, it made me think. Here was a person, I assumed, undergoing some pain and confusion – someone who, on the one hand, was willing to research the dilemma life had thrown at them, and who wanted to do the right thing. On the other hand, I worried, here was a person who might accept the first answer that came up on Google.
We’re becoming a society that thinks our home computers hold all the answers. Maybe, by now, they do. But knowing as I do that what shows up first in search engine results isn’t always the best — that the cream doesn’t always rise to the top — I worry that some of us put a little too much faith in Google, Yahoo and the like.
Like I imagined this woman was doing, when it came to the decision on whether to get a new dog. Maybe she asked a friend or two for advice, maybe it was conflicting. So she turned to what we all turn to nowadays: Tell me, in my hour of need, almighty Internet Search Engine, what should I do? Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek January 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, another, computers, death, dependence, depression, died, dog, dog died, economy, google, internet, mourning, new dog, ohmidog!, pets, questions, recession, search engines, shelters, yahoo