Snoopy’s story is one of perseverance and determination. Snoopy was born deaf and blind due to genetic factors passed down from his parents, who were white and flashy fawn. He came into the CBR family when he was 9 weeks old, weighing just 12 pounds, after his mother developed an infection and he had to be bottle fed, along with his 12 siblings. Thanks to amazing volunteers who learned of his story, we were able to get him into a foster home with other dogs that could be his eyes and ears. Training a deaf and blind dog has its challenges, as they have to be taught using touch rather than auditory or visual cues. However, he has been a quick study, and already knows “sit” and “come”. His mom is working with him on “down” and “stay”, and she is confident he will come to learn at least 10 touch commands in the next few months. She said training him has not been any more difficult than any other foster she’s trained.
Watching him at home, you would not know that he has any disabilities. He has “mapped” the main floor of the house, and rarely runs into things as he plays and romps with the other dogs. Out in the yard, he uses his senses to find his way back to the house every time. His sense of smell is well developed, so he is learning that people food on plates is not an extra snack for him. Being deaf, he doesn’t always realize how loud he is, but the other dogs in the house are patient with him. He also doesn’t like being crated, as he feels isolated. This poses some challenges with house training, but he is coming along with that as well. Car rides are still somewhat scary for him, as he doesn’t understand the motion and not being able to run around the car. His mom uses gates in the house to keep him away from stairs, as he hasn’t mastered those yet. She also makes sure not to move furniture around the house, so that his space is predictable and he can safely navigate. When she got him as a temporary foster, his mom had no intentions of adding a fourth dog to her family, but Snoopy’s happy demeanor and zest for life has won her over, and his foster family decided they couldn’t live without him.
Snoopy has not let his disabilities impact his life, and he lives every day to its fullest. We can all learn from dogs like Snoopy! If you would consider fostering or adopting a dog with special needs, let your area coordinator know.