Dogs with disabilities have a really tough row to hoe in this world. If they aren’t born to a very good breeder who ensures that they go to a home that will understand their frailities, they may not live to see their first birthday.
Deaf dogs on the street don’t fare well either, as they can’t hear cars coming and oftentimes end up as a roadside fatality.
And then there are of course, owners of disabled dogs that place those dogs in terrible living conditions.
Recently, a San Antonio dog owner agreed to let their groups of dogs owned go to a rescue group. These several dogs were being kept outdoors on chains. Holly Dean was the rescue volunteer living closest to the dogs, so she headed out to help.
“I was really surprised when I first arrived. The dogs were out all day and night. There was a circle of dirt — you could tell that’s where they walked,” Dean told The Dodo. “They could only go so far because they were chained and walking in circles. Their collars were belts.”
That’s a common situation when dogs are chained outside for long periods of time without any access to a running area or good shelter. They learn to pace for exercise and they quickly wear ruts into the ground in a circle at the very end of their tether.
As Dean was assessing the situation, a white dog caught her eye. “He was missing a lot of fur, and his skin was red and inflamed. Then I learned he was deaf,” Dean said. “I walked over to pet him and he was still such a happy guy, despite the conditions.”
Dean decided to call him Blanco. She and her fellow volunteers loaded Blanco and the other dogs into their cars and left.
Because Blanco was suspected of having mange, some types of which are extremely contagious to humans and other animals, the first stop was to a vet.
Indeed, he did have mange. Not only that, but the addition of fleas had caused poor Blanco to chew at his skin so much that it was infected as well.
This had made him pretty weak. “He was so sick he had to wait more than a month to be neutered. Surgery would have been too risky.”
Over the next couple of months, Dean continued to be impressed with Blanco’s resiliency. From the moment she met him, the 1-year-old, 50-pound dog kept wagging his tail.
Eventually, Blanco’s skin healed, he was vaccinated and neutered. He blossomed under the good food and care, and began to reach his full potential. A beautiful, happy, healthy dog.
The vet and rescue workers think Blanco is likely a mixture of Dalmatian and Labrador Retriever. Whatever the mix, it was a good one in Blanco’s case. His temperament is happy and affable. He loves anyone and anything (even cats)!
He retained his love for kissing, something he does at every chance he gets. And, with all the love floating about from all the rescue volunteers, there are a lot of chances!
Dean has enjoyed getting to know the handsome fellow. “He has the funniest expressions and head tilt,” Dean said. “Since he’s deaf, I think he is trying to hear me. It’s how he communicates. It’s like he’s trying to listen to me, but he’s thinking, ‘I can’t hear you!’”
Dean is no stranger to rescuing dogs from challenging situations volunteering for Lucky Lab Rescue. She also fostered and nursed back to health a dog named Millie. The yellow lab mix was discovered inside a garbage dumpster in San Antonio clinging to life. Dean fell in love with Millie and adopted her.
Millie (along with Dean’s other eight rescues) has been teaching Blanco the ropes in adapting to being in a loving, safe environment instead of facing the elements tied on a chain. He is an eager student.
“I’m trying to teach him the sign for ‘come here.’ If you call him, of course, he doesn’t hear me, and he doesn’t come when you call him,” Dean said. “Usually he’s playing with my other dogs, so if I call them, he will come along too.”
Some people think the hardest part of doing rescue work would be seeing the dogs in such horrible situations and condition. It’s not. Your “Florence Nightengale” robe goes on in those situations and the only thing you think about is getting them to safety and getting them healthy again.
The hardest part is saying goodbye once it’s time for them to find their forever home. In Blanco’s case, that home came quickly once his information was posted as being available for adoption.
Sarah St. John of Austin said it was love at first sight. “I found him on the rescue’s website. He was so cute,” St. John told The Dodo. “Then I read about him and thought I could give him a good home.”
Once the rescue approved her application, St. John went and picked up Blanco. “When I met him he instantly locked eyes, gave me kisses and was super friendly,” St. John said.
Blanco has been amazing so far, according to St. John. “He loves playing with the neighbor’s dogs,” she said. “Blanco is good with my cat. He is great.”
Blanco already knows the sign language commands for “sit” and “down.” Now St. John is going to teach him more skills. “When I first read that he was deaf and communicated using sign language I thought that won’t be a problem, I usually talk using my hands all the time,” St. John said. “He’s a wonderful fit. I love him already.”
It’s hard to imagine this is the same sad, flea-bitten, mange encrusted dog that was walking hopelessly around in a small circle in a dirt yard. May the rest of his years be as blessed as his last few months have been.
Blessings to the wonderful people who fought to get Blanco and his companions released, and then hustled them to better lives.
To apply for a dog, foster or donate to Lucky Lab Rescue, visit the organization’s website.
Source: The Dodo