From Mary Brown Haak...
Charlie Joe Shadow, a blind Border Collie mix, is one truly amazing dog. He came to us from a shelter in southern Virginia dreadfully underweight, dirty, and stinky, with diarrhea, a runny nose and eyes, and a really bad haircut. He was supposed to be a foster, with me long enough to evaluate his personality and to teach him some life skills. We had been told by one vet that he was probably only about four years old. I thought since he was so young, we should have his eyes checked out to see if his sight could be restored. So off we went to the ophthalmologist. The news was not good. He has Progressive Retinal Atrophy--his retinas are degenerating and he will never see again. The big surprise was the ophthalmologist's estimate of his age--not a day under 12. She eventually backed off to "maybe 11." Regardless, given his possible age, I didn't have the heart to make him learn a new house and yard, routine, and owner after he'd worked so hard learning this one. We won't mention the fact that I'd fallen head-over-heels in love with him! So now, just in case his name wasn't already long enough, Charlie Joe Shadow is now Charlie Joe Shadow Haak. He's permanently moved in to my house and into my heart.
Charlie Joe Shadow is an absolutely fearless little boy and will go anywhere and try anything. He tackled learning how to negotiate steps the first week here. It had to have felt like stepping off the edge of the earth, but he never, ever gave up. Now he takes them two at a time going up and while slower and less graceful going down, he gets where he needs to go. He met pigs and cows and horses at the farm where my family reunion was held—just walked up and sniffed and touched noses without a bit of hesitation. He can tell how close our neighbors' horses are by smell, and if they are at the fence, he always wants to visit. We went to a festival, and he climbed the hay bale pyramid with just a little help from me, and went through the hay bale maze all by himself. He loves to run and play with other dogs. Charlie Joe Shadow loves chasing my other dog, Shen, around the yard. They are best of friends. Shen's very protective of Charlie Joe and doesn't like anybody messing with him--including vets and groomers! Charlie Joe Shadow likes the neighborhood cat, and loves rawhide bones more than anything. He's always ready to go for a ride, and loves new adventures. He likes to go hiking at the lake, and in the fields and woods behind my house--lots of great sniffing opportunities! He enjoys shopping at the pet store and hanging out on the patio at Panera Bread. He has the staff trained to bring him a bowl of water when we show up! Most of all he loves people--and he's convinced they all love him. I suspect he's right!
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