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2010 Rescue Kerries Placed: Suzie


© 2016 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

Blind Suzie Has Issues

Rescue Coordinator: Priscilla Harvey

In early March, Foundation rescue coordinators learned of a 5-year-old Kerry in Ohio in need of rescue. Anonymous KBTF rescue volunteers who scan the internet for Kerries had found her listed on Craig's List as "KBT in need of a new home." Information about her spread quickly through the rescue coordinator network and the situation became more urgent as "Suzie" was listed as "not spayed." Imagine how quickly a puppy miller in the mid-West could have gotten her for breeding and that would have been Suzie's last day of freedom as the cage door slammed shut. But there was one more complication: Suzie was completely blind (think how much patience a miller would have had with a blind Kerry bitch).

At the young age of two, Suzie's granddad let her out of the house by mistake, Suzie went for a jaunt and a car hit her a block from home. One eye was immediately lost and one eye remained but became covered by scar tissue.

Suzie before grooming
Now five, Suzie's life was becoming increasingly minimized. She was left alone for 10 hours a day, her companion Lab moved out six months ago as Suzie's family split apart, and we believe her family, while loving Suzie, didn't work to make her life interesting. We don't believe she ever went for walks, car rides or family outings. Suzie's life was on the couch, all day, every day. Finally Suzie's Dad realized that someone out there might adopt Suzie and give her a happier life, as well as pay for typical Kerry health and grooming expenses that he could no longer afford. Agatha Hughes in Philadelphia agreed to foster Suzie and offered to make the 900 mile drive to mid-Ohio and back to get her. Suzie was a trooper for the entire trip and really enjoyed the motel-overnight experience, a first for her! Suzie has been in foster care now for nearly two weeks and Agatha reports that she is doing beautifully. Two weeks ago she was matted to the skin, with eye, ear and all-body staph skin infections. Medication is clearing up those problems. Grooming has revealed a nice looking Kerry underneath the massive mop of a coat.

When Agatha drove to Ohio, she was buoyed by the vet report from three years ago saying that laser surgery might remove the scar tissue from the remaining eye and restore some sight. However, on the day she picked Suzie up, Agatha had trouble finding Suzie's eye underneath all the hair. Back in Philadelphia, Agatha's vet revealed the sad news. Due to the long term physical neglect by Suzie's family, there was no remaining eye. It had atrophied due to infection and the family had not even noticed. So, she is a blind girl for life. But that does not mean a sad girl for life!

Agatha says Suzie is the sweetest Kerry she has ever met, that she listens, is madly affectionate and thrilled whenever invited to go outside. She has become well known in the neighborhood and is 100% non-dog aggressive. She does just fine with Agatha's female, Lily.

Information and tips abound online about living with a blind dog as well as e-lists for blind dog owners, and even a comprehensive book, a total guide from training to games-for-blind dogs. Agatha finds it is not nearly as difficult as it sounds and Suzie is learning her way around the house and yard. She moves easily along major routes throughout the house that she has memorized and explores new parts gingerly and patiently until she knows them. She can be easily re-directed with sound if she is headed for a collision with a wall or furniture and there have been very few of those.

Suzie is not yet available for adoption until she is spayed and has eye surgery to permanently close the second eye to preclude further eye infections. The only reason that Agatha may not be able to adopt her is that her current home has a massive yard but is not traditionally fenced. There is an invisible fence for the other Kerry but training for an invisible fence requires the ability to see warning flags during training.

What an amazing job Agatha, a Foundation volunteer, accomplished in obtaining Suzie, working through a lack of communication with the owner for days at a time and the logistics of the whole trip which included her taking her own Kerry along.

Suzie after grooming

On June 4, Suzie was adopted by her foster mom, Agatha Hughes.

Subject: Blind Suzie is Adopted
Date: June 4, 2010 7:59:18 AM PDT

Issues aside, Suzie is a fabulously brave and extremely loving Kerry, and she and I are very grateful to the Foundation for rehabilitating her medically AND giving her a whole new lease on life. Thank you so very much. Watching her transformation over the last two months has been terrifically rewarding. And, given time, I think a trainer and I will figure Suzie out. Meanwhile she is an EXTREMELY happy girl -- which is why she needs a trainer -- Suz is living life to a Kerry version of the "fullest!" .... And there is nothing wrong with that.

The Kerry fall is a fab thing to have if you are blind ---- like a mass of antennae telling you what you are about to bump into! All blind dogs should have them.

Agatha Hughes

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