Happy Endings from Dachshund Rescue of North America
Reprinted with permission by Michelle Wray

Bumper is a black and tan double dapple. He was taken in a raid of a local kennel on humane violations. The pups were being kept outside in wire cages, with multiple dogs per cage. There wasn't any clean water or food. The dogs were standing in about 3 inches of feces. That was also the only thing they had to eat. Bumper was only 1 year old, but had teeth that looked 10. All the other dogs that were taken in the raid were able to be adopted out, but no one wanted Bumper because of his blindness. Luckily, a shelter worker put his info on the Internet. Jill heard about him, talked to the shelter, and then e-mailed me to bail him out. I had to dash off quick to get to the shelter before it closed, because it was Friday, and they had no weekend hours. I didn't even have time to worry about how I would handle a blind dog, it all happened so fast. That part came later.

I think from the moment he met me, Bumper knew I was his person. He clutched on to my neck and gave me kisses on my ear. The shelter director said he hadn't shown any affection at all to any of the people there! I got him home, and let him out in the yard. I didn't know what was going to happen. I thought, how will he get around? how will he know where I am? What will he be like with my dogs? Well, it didn't take long to see that Bumper's handicap wasn't slowing him down any. He raced around the yard like a nut. He was sooo happy to be free, I think. Inside was not so good. He ran into walls and chair legs...It was just heartbreaking. I had heard about the blind dogs e-mail list from a person on one of my dachshund lists, so I joined immediately. They were tremendous in giving me tips and encouragement. By the time the weekend was over, I was hooked. The hubby took a little longer to come around. Or, at least, he took a little longer to come right out and say it. Bumper is just the sweetest, most precious dog I've ever known. He is a great inspiration to me. He has completely learned our house and yard by now, but even when he first came here and didn't know his way around, he never let it get him down. He would just back up, and start over. At times, his rambunctious nature combined with his blindness was a real challenge (and still is). For instance, a couple weeks after we got him, he got stung by a bee. I didn't actually see it happen, but I'm sure he just stumbled into the thing, not seeing it or knowing what it was. Another example is our chain link fence. For the longest time, I had to watch him like a hawk to keep him from running into it. He can't see it at all (he sees only very large SOLID objects). He has finally learned exactly where it is, and will run straight at it but stop a few inches short of it. If you watched Bumper in his own house and yard, you'd never know he's blind. Unless, of course, he ran smack into one of the other dogs, which he sometimes does. :) I've learned I have to see the humor in him sometimes, or else it's just too sad. Through it all, Bumper is my most special boy, and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Michelle Wray
DRNA Ky Representative

For information on how to care for a blind dog, please see this web site