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Bubba sees with his heart

It’s funny how stories come to our attention. One day, Renee was driving past the Dumb Friends League Leslie A. Malone Center, and she noticed her dog on the LED sign in front of the building. “It got me thinking that I would LOVE to share the amazing story since we brought him home,” said Renee, and we’re so happy she did!

Let’s take a step back. Arnold was found in Denver as a stray along with another dog and brought to the League. Veterinarians diagnosed the friendly pup with pneumonia, mild dental disease and an abnormal right eye, which required removal to give him the best quality of life. Arnold was on the shy side, but that behavior was consistent with a partially blind dog; plus, his life was a big unknown. What we did know, though, was that Arnold was smart, loved romping outside and was an active boy chock full of personality.

Renee and her husband were looking to adopt an adult dog. The couple felt that many adult dogs stay longer in shelters because most people want a puppy—and they weren’t necessarily wrong in that thinking. “Adult dogs, in my opinion, are better,” said Renee. “We knew puppies would get adopted, and you don’t have to potty train adult dogs ;). I looked at a lot of dogs online, but by the time I would call for information, the dog I was looking at had a home, which of course was great news regardless.”

Enter Arnold. “He looked so tough but also soooooo sweet in his photo, and reading the description on his adoption page online made me just know that he would be a teddy bear with muscles—like my husband and me. LOL,” said Renee. “I realized he was in the shelter for about a month, and it made me sad that people were likely passing him up because of the one eye.”

After meeting Arnold and seeing how happy he was, jumping all over the place, Renee knew he needed a good home with lots of love and exercise, and she and her husband were just the two to give him what he deserved.

Since the silly pup never responded to the name Arnold, but he did respond to Bubba (for whatever reason), not only did he get a new home and family, but he also got a new name.

Renee, her husband and Bubba began working with a trainer to help the pup have better leash manners, walk in a less distracted way and learn how to behave in social situations with other dogs. “Our goal was to train my husband and me to handle a dog properly, and the training gave us lifelong information that we will use if we adopt another dog in the future,” said Renee. “The training was SO worth it!!”

Shortly after graduating from his training sessions, the couple noticed Bubba started running into things here and there, and it began to worsen. After a visit to an eye specialist this past January, the couple learned Bubba was now totally blind. “We started him on medication and eye drops, which has slowly reduced the inflammation,” said Renee. “The doctors have diagnosed him with an autoimmune disorder that is causing his body to attack his eye. His meds and eye drops have made him much more comfortable, and honestly, you can’t tell that he is blind unless he runs into an object.”

Bubba relies on his sense of smell and hearing to do most things now. “It’s so cute to watch him tilt his head and try to figure out where exactly we are before coming to get a treat from us,” said Renee. “We don’t really treat him differently now; the only change since he lost his sight is that we talk to him a lot more or snap. Walks consist of us talking to him, mostly when we cross the street, so he knows where we are going; otherwise, he uses the sidewalk/grass border to walk. Our veterinarian and his eye specialist told us to treat him no different because there is no difference between Bubba and a seeing-dog—everyone should talk to their pet whether they can see or not.”

In addition to enjoying his walks and fishy treats, Bubba and his feline sibling’s favorite thing to do is sunbathing (and who can blame them?). Bubba trots when he’s happy, or “tappy toes” as Renee and her husband call it, and he’s curious about everything. “He’s still the same happy goofball we brought home,” said Renee.

Bubba’s bio said, “I will make you so happy,” and that’s certainly the case, according to his mom. “Bubba has brought us so much joy and so many more laughs than we could ever have thought,” said Renee. “I think the same amount of time and energy (and money) that goes into adopting a pet with some challenges goes into adopting a puppy. Every dog has different needs—a puppy requires potty training and new collars as it grows and different foods as it grows, bed sizes, etc., and an adult dog may require a few extra doctor appointments or daily medication, but either way you are going to get the love that you wanted. Everyone adopts so that they can share their love with a furry family member. Does it really matter if it’s a ‘new’ dog? Either way, the dog will be new to your family and bring you so much joy and love. Puppies will always be adopted, but adult dogs need good homes too! Please look at the dogs that have been at the shelter the longest!!! Everyone deserves a good home!”

We couldn’t agree more, Renee. To find your new companion, visit ddfl.org today!

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