Blind springer rescue becomes a therapy dog!

Abbey (on left), Sam, and Tracy

Congratulations to Abbey, who recently became registered as a therapy dog with Paws with a Purpose! Abbey and her brother Sam were adopted from English Springer Rescue. Here is their inspiring story from proud mom Tracy:

My last day with Maxwell was May 10, 2007. He was my first Springer rescue. A family with three children didn’t have time for him and placed an ad in the paper FREE to good home. We had 13 wonderful years together, and letting Maxwell go was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever faced in my life. It took me quit awhile to even think of getting another animal. I still had Gizmo and Ditch, two rescue cats so I didn’t feel completely alone. But I knew I couldn’t go long without another dog.

I’m a very outdoors person and loved to hike with Maxwell. I started searching rescue sites for Springer Spaniels and found ESRA, and after several months, on Dec 13th 2008 I was the lucky recipient of two beautiful 10 month old siblings.

I was so excited to have them in my life, but at a visit to my vet the first week I got them, I found out they both had juvenile onset cataracts. We made several visits to the specialist in Cary NC, to discover that Abbey had PRA (progressive retinal atrophy). I was so devastated. I’d never had a blind animal before. Just the thought of it brought me to tears. I couldn’t stop hugging her.

ESRA was so helpful. They felt responsible since they adopted Abbey and Sam out without prior knowledge of their eye problems, and they took care of all the vet bills.

The next year would prove to be the biggest challenge of my life. Training siblings by myself was hard, but now I’m the proud parent of two of the most beautiful, well-mannered, eye-turning Springer Spaniels you’ll ever see.

Abbey’s eye issue is what prompted me to get her tested to be a therapy dog. What better way to encourage others than to share her joy with them. Sam isn’t able at this time to participate in the program, as he’s afraid of a lot of things. He also struggles with his eye sight. His cataracts are worse than Abbey’s and if he shows no sign of PRA we will go ahead with his surgery soon. If this makes a difference in his demeanor than we may get him certified as well. But for now, his sister Abbey will  be the one to share the joy with others.

I know Abbey will be a shining light to all those with whom she visits. A special needs dog who is indeed very special!

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