Thanks to her rescuer, a dog named Journey has found her forever home. The blind and deaf Catahoula hound puppy is currently adjusting to life in her new home, a horse farm in Illinois. The sweet black and white canine is in good company, as the farm’s owner takes in special-needs horses and has another Catahoula. Journey’s trip from her original location of Ocala to Flagler County to Illinois wasn’t an overnight trek – it took about six months in the making, and required assistance along the way by some very dedicated people.
Coming from a dog breeder in Ocala, the canine went under the care Ruth Rupprecht, the owner and director of SAFFARI (Save Our Furry Friends Animal Rescue Inc.), which is based along Flagler’s coast. The rescuer, who found her on Craigslist, knew Rupprecht has a blind cat and hoped she could help a blind dog also. But once the tiny and malnourished 6-week-old Journey was at SAFFARI and examined, the pup was discovered to be deaf as well as blind – that’s when volunteer Joann Perez stepped in.
Perez, who fosters dogs and cats for SAFFARI, said that taking in a blind and deaf puppy “was quite a learning experience.”
Perez talked to veterinarians and researched training of blind and deaf dogs on the Internet, but, she said, it came down to “basically trial and error.” Journey’s training by necessity consisted of touch and smell. Originally frightened when Perez put on her collar, Journey now walks confidently on a leash. “We touch her chin when we want to put on the leash,” Perez said, “and that’s how she learned to follow.”
Perez admitted, “Letting go of her was tough. It was tough. But it helped knowing she was going to an amazing home in Illinois.”
“She was worth the 24/7 care she received since the day she arrived here with me,” she said. “And yes, I would do it all over again.”
Photo Source: Journey’s YouCaring Page