My life and moral values changed irrevocably beginning in October 2004. I was looking for a second dog to help my older dog remain active. I would never have guessed how this search for another dog would have changed my life in such a profound and permanent way.
My first dog is a boxer I was lucky enough to meet at a rescue organization in Los Angeles in 1997, so I contacted the local rescue organization when seeking a second dog in 2004.
My older dog is jealous and finding a dog for her was not an easy task. Just before Halloween in 2004 I was contacted about fostering a puppy for one night. The one catch was that he was blind. I agreed thinking one night was no big deal. Within 24 hours I knew this little blind puppy needed an extra special home and I sought to adopt him. I figured I would just find a way to make it work.
I named him Bodhi and began teaching myself how to deal with a blind dog. He was often frightened and would strike out at my older dog or me. He would also stand completely still and shake with fear. I felt helpless as he suffered. Witnessing this little puppy shake with fright is what changed my life. I have never been able to adequately express in words what it is like to watch an animal suffer for no obvious reason. The helplessness I felt was overshadowed by an enormous sense of compassion and the desire to make him feel safe and secure.
I sold my Mercedes, became vegan, and returned to school to change my career at the age of 35. I had woken up to what was really important. I abandoned the pursuit of the “American Dream.” I realized that the only thing that mattered was happiness, regardless of what it paid.
After consulting with a dog trainer and his veterinarian, Bodhi was suspected of having thyroid cancer. In December of 2005, I took him to a neurologist in Boulder, Colorado, not sure if I was going to be able to return home with this sweet little dog. It turned out he had congenital hydrocephalus. Essentially half of his brain never developed. He began experiencing seizures shortly after his diagnosis, but medication has been able to control them for the most part and reduce his anxiety.
Bodhi still has challenges. He does not learn well and is not house trained. By getting a proper diagnosis and giving him medication, he has become a happy loving animal. I am still paying off loans I got to help Bodhi and would do it all over again – no hesitation. I am still a long way from finishing school, but I am loving every minute of the adventure that started with adopting a dog.
Just recently I adopted a second blind dog (my third dog) through Albuquerque Boxer Rescue.
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