Since dogs experience the world through nose, eyes, ears, if a dog goes blind or deaf it doesn’t hold them back as much as a human, since we rely more on our eyes and ears. Dogs are pretty good at adapting so that they can navigate by scent or sound alone, and their whiskers also serve as a way to sense the environment around them.
However, human perception being what it is, we wind up feeling sorry for them, and that negative energy can make them anxious and fearful. In some cases, people simply abandon dogs that go blind. Once they wind up in a shelter, they are frequently overlooked and considered unadoptable. They tend to wind up at the top of the “To kill” list.
That’s why Sylvie Bordeaux of Burbank, California, started Second Chances for Blind Dogs, a non-profit organization that provides a device, Muffin’s Halo Guide for Blind Dogs®, to shelters in order to make these formerly unadoptable dogs adoptable again.
But before the organization started, Sylvie had to watch as her own dog Muffin, a toy poodle, went blind at around the age of eleven years. He kept bumping into walls and even fell down the stairs, and was clearly depressed and anxious. That’s when Sylvie came up with the halo, which provides a dog with a safety buffer as well as a way to sense the environment around them, while still enabling them to play, eat, and drink — allowing them to be a dog.
The device worked, but Muffin consequently developed a mass in his stomach and, after a botched operation by a veterinarian, it looked like the dog was going to die. Sylvie was devastated. As she describes it on the website, “I was on my knees sobbing all night… and pleaded to God to please save my precious dog and give us a ‘Second Chance.’ I promised in return, upon his recovery, Muffin and I would be of service and dedicate our lives to helping blind dogs.”
Muffin got his second chance and is still with us today, and Sylvie kept good on her promise, providing halos for countless dogs that otherwise might have died alone and abandoned in shelters. Since the halo is scalable, dogs of all sizes have gotten their second chance, from tiny Chihuahuas to a large cattle dog/pointer mix.
Muffin’s Halo was recently included on Discovery Channel’s “Top 10 Pet Inventions,” and a blind dog doesn’t have to be in a shelter in order to benefit. The halos are also available to purchase. You can see the device in action in the video below.
Do you own a blind dog? How well does she get around? Tell us in the comments.