Love is not always seen through the eyes, but with the soul.
We understand why people may hesitate to adopt an animal with special needs. Adopting any animal should be a well informed, thoughtful decision. When we take homeless animals into our shelter with physical or emotional impairments, we know it may take longer to find the right adopter willing to meet their special needs. But, when the right adopter DOES come along, we are NEVER surprised or disappointed to find that the human to animal connection is AMAZING and especially beautiful to witness.
Our special girl, Nova, has given us a Cinderella story to share. Nova was rescued from a life of neglect and, likely abuse, in desperate condition by a very special family who cared for her until she was strong enough to come to our shelter for adoption. Nova quickly showed us her gratitude, resilience, and gentle, trusting soul. Although she appeared to be almost completely blind, Nova was able to navigate in familiar surroundings, welcomed meeting new people, and even got along well with other animals. She waited patiently for her turn to come and then one day it happened… a very special couple came to meet her and fell deeply in love!
We are SO HAPPY to celebrate Nova’s new beginning! She is enjoying all the best things life has to offer — a Mom and Dad who ADORE her and will do everything it takes to keep her safe, happy, healthy, and feeling loved. They have learned how to accommodate some of her special physical needs and Nova has responded with a confident, adventurous spirit. Initially, we thought Nova may be overwhelmed by new surroundings or changes in her home but, she quickly surpassed expectations getting around the house and even going on vacation to new places with her family!
Nova’s journey is a great example of the beauty that grows from “above and beyond” love shared along the way… from the family who rescued her, to our staff and volunteers who cared and believed in her, and to her very special, forever family who do not see her imperfections, but see with their hearts and souls. We are all blessed to be part of her journey!
Tips for living with pets who are blind or visually impaired
Living with a pet who is blind or visually impaired does not have to be difficult with a few basic considerations. Especially as pets age, watching for subtle changes in behavior and making simple adjustments in your home and routine may be all that is needed to continue enjoying the best quality of life possible for you and your pet. As always, consult with your veterinarian right away if you have any health concerns to determine what is best for your pet.
Here are a few tips:
Be patient, consistent, and helpful
- Your pet may need a little extra time to adjust to changes, so keep their food, water, bed, and litter box in the same place; add an extra litter box to make it easier to find quickly if your home is large or has more than one level.
- Minimize obstacles and clutter in your home, but keep familiar objects and furniture in place as your pet will likely rub their scent to help them find their way around the house.
- Try not to carry your pet from one area to another as this can confuse them. You might want to guide your pet through the house for a while using your voice to gently lead until she gets her bearings. When reorienting your pet, always take her back to the same spot, such as the feeding area or the bed.
- Cats use the whiskers on their face and forehead as little antennae. These long whiskers are very sensitive and are good for detecting objects and picking up air currents. Be sure to leave these whiskers long, so that the animals can use them to detect objects before they bump into them. Using a collar with a bell will help you know the location your pet.
Be safety conscious
- Remove or cover any sharp objects or edges, particularly those at eye level to the animal.
- Make sure your pet is well identified. A collar and microchip are critical if your pet becomes separated from you. If lost, your blind pet will probably not be able to find her way home.
- Identify your pet as being blind. Place a medical alert tag on your pet’s collar that says she is blind, and include your contact information.
- Use a baby gate or other barrier to block open stairways, balconies, tubs or pools, or other potential dangers; keep toilet lids closed.
- Supervise activities, especially with children or other pets, and never leave your blind pet alone outdoors.
Stimulate other senses – hearing, smell, taste, and touch
- Talk to your pet; hum or chat to always let her know where you are.
- Maintain a calm environment; minimize things that may startle your pet and be sure to let her know when you’re coming or going by talking and gentle petting before picking them up; establish a consistent routine and put them in a safe, familiar place when leaving them alone.
- Look for toys made specifically for blind pets and shift from sight-based to sound or smell-based ones, such as “follow-the-noise,” crinkly or squeaky toys, catnip kickers; Be sure the toys are safe without harmful objects that can be chewed or ingested.
- Guide your pet to favorite sunny spots or by open (screened) windows to enjoy the feeling of sun and fresh air.
Be kind and compassionate
- A pet who is losing their sight may become more confused, timid, dependent, clingy, or even aggressive. Try to imagine how you would feel if you were going through the same thing.
Take time to learn more: