I've been trying all day to get Belle off my mind, with very little success.  I'd like to know more about her and how to fit her into our pack.  Mostly, I want to make sure we can make her happy.  I'm trying to figure out how she would do with the fact that I have two homes and travel between them often.  Also, I have a 3 year old male Golden and I know they would love running together but how do I manage that?  My other two dogs are older and really would just accept her.  I'd love to be able to make this work but only if it's the right thing for her.  Can anyone give me some guidance?

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Sorry, I typed a reply about a different Belle. Let's try this again. 

The "IL" in front of Belle's name means that she is fostered in Illinois. I'm afraid that traveling to Lousiana by car (the only way we permit our dogs to be transported) would not be in her best interests. :) 

Certainly I understand.  My other location is South Carolina but I don't suppose that's any better.  Spirit, my male Golden is quite used to sharing his space.  I own a pet supply store and he often comes to work with me.  Also, I sometimes baby sit my employees dogs when they go on vacation.  I wish her well and hope she finds a forever home.  When it's meant to be it will happen.  Thank you.

I like your attitude. 

You should submit an adoption application even if there is not currently an available dog who might be a good match for your household. That way, you will be ready to act when there is. :) 

I will.  I'll do that now.  Thanks for the advice.

I too am struck with Il-Bella.  We just had our 13 year old lab put down.  Near the end of his life he had lost most of his sight and his hearing.  But that didn't keep him from showing up at the movie and popcorn event on his last night.  I spent some time this morning on the blind dogs.com web site.  This turned the water works back on.

I cannot see you Mommy, when you cuddle me so near.
And yet I know you love me, it's in the words I hear.
I cannot see you Daddy, when you hold me by your side
But still I know you love me when you tell me so with pride.
I cannot see to run and play out in the sun so bright
For here inside my tiny head it's always dark as night.
I cannot see the treats you give when I am extra good
But I can wag my tail in Thanks just like a good dog should.
"She cannot see. The dogs no good" is what some folks might say
"She can't be trained, she'll never learn She must be put away."
But not you, Mom and Daddy You know that it's alright
Because I love you just as much as any dog with sight.
You took me in, you gave me love and we will never part
Because I'm blind with just my eyes, I see you in my heart.


Wow, Tom, that's really beautiful.  I know how you feel.  Losing a dog is never easy.  Are you thinking of putting in an application for Belle?  She's a beauty.  



Yes, we are.  I want to help make another rescue happy.  So does my wife.  Neither of us is at all concerned with adopting a blind rescue.  Been there, done that.  One of the things I observed in Coco near the end was a lot of pacing around our family room and downstairs.  In addition to his other issues, he was suffering from dimensia.  What I didn't realize until I read some of the material at blinddogs.com this morning was that he was probably remapping his surroundings so he didn't run into things.


What's holding me back from applying is that I agreed with my wife that we need a couple of days to properly morn the loss of Coco.  She said this morning, "If you apply and you are approved I know you will consider it to be a done deal."  She's right.  I'm ready to make another rescue happy. 


We have a pretty ideal setup.  A 6' fenced 27' x 40' dog yard.  Four acres of property includina a large all grass 'play area' that is at least 200' x 100'.  We're in suburban Madison, WI, within 250 miles of Decatur primarily down I-39.  And we have plenty of experience with both blind and disabled rescues.  We've both owned dogs all of our lives.




Sounds to me you're both perfect.  You know, I've had more than one dog for many years now.  I've watched them grieve, along with us, when one has passed, and I've watched them judge the new addition before accepting them into the pack.  I will tell you this, though, they helped me through my grief by just being there.  A new dog cannot replace the one lost but it somehow can make the pain easier and watching the joy you bring this particular dog can work wonders.

I hope you do fill out the application and I hope they pick you.  Keep me posted.


I thought I'd give you an update.  We filed an adoption application today.  One thing I failed to mention before is that my wife Chari is a vocational rehabilitation counselor working with disabled adults and teens in finding productive work.  Prior to that she was a vocational rehab teacher for the blind.  

Dogs adapt better to their disabilities than humans.  And there is a lot less drama.  Our experience watching Coco lose most of his sight and hearing and Chari's professional background are the primary reasons why we are not at all concerned with adopting a sightless dog.  If our application doesn't go through, I hope anyone reading this post will open their mind toward adopting a dog like Belle.  We aren't enamored with designer dogs.  Rather we see the doodle as a cool mix of two breeds that have very favorable pet characteristics.  One breed, the lab, is one with which we have substantial experience (3 labs).  But it's about the dog, not the breed.  If we fail in this application we won't be going for the 'perfect' doodle.  Rather, we'll focus on a rescue with manageable disabilities with the disposition we are looking for.  It just happens that Belle appears to have those characteristics.



You and your wife are the best!  I wish you lots of luck in the adoption process.  Keep me posted.


What a beautiful attitude, Tom.

Well its official.  We adopted Il-Belle and picked her up yesterday.  It was a long drive (900 miles round trip).  She handled it well.  She's a wonderful dog.  As for her disability, she has the typical Lab attitude.  She just doesn't care.  Yes, she runs into a few things.  Yes she has to learn a new house, new smells, new sounds, and new people.  I can tell she's already somewhat attached to our place because when she hears people she doesn't recognize, she sounds the alarm.  Living with four dogs in her Foster Home, she didn't have that responsibility.  But she's definitely 'top dog' here.

I'd read about how adaptive dogs are to losing their sight.  But she's exceeding my expectations.  She's already mind mapped our main floor.  She's having no problems with stairs, at least not the three step variety between our garage and our main floor.  Her hearing awareness is impressive.  When I'm talking to her, her attention is pointed right at my mouth.

And she's a lover.  We have a trip to the vet planned for the end of this week.  I'm not going to tell them about her disability before we arrive.  I'm curious as to how long her "I'm going to pretend I can see" routine fools them.  In today's plans are a trip to the Mounds Pet Warehouse where I'm going to let her pick out a few toys.

I want to thank all the folks at the Collective (especially Kim and Melissa) for putting us together.



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