Everyday thousands of dogs help the blind and visually impaired navigate their surroundings, so that they could lead rich and productive lives. Dogs can be trained to do this and so much more for humans. So, why not provide the same kind of support for their fellow canines?
It turns out they can.
Just like Hilda. This long-haired, black-dappled doxie shares a special bond with another doxie named Herbie. The light-brown, smooth-coated pooch unfortunately suffers from vision problems.
But Hilda is always there to nudge him in the right direction.
And thanks to a loving family, Hilda will always be there for Herbie. John and Dorothy Sinnar of Yakima, Washington, adopted the two dogs as a pair from an animal shelter in Salem, Oregon.
Sonya Pulvers of the Marion County Dog Services shelter says that about a month ago, a man tossed three doxies over the fence of a local man who was known to care for rescue dogs. The man couldn’t look after the pups, but he brought them to the shelter instead.
Pulvers then got in touch with Diane Young of local dog rescue Salem Dogs. Young says one of the doxies got picked up quickly after passing temperament tests. The other two needed a bit more care. But Young immediately saw the connection they shared.
“It’s not uncommon for dappled-colored dogs of any breed to have vision and hearing problems, and when I and the shelter staff saw Herbie walk into walls, it was obvious he couldn’t see much. We believe he sees some shadow and movement, but Hilda shepherds him around and protects him, and we knew immediately they needed to be adopted as a pair,” Young said.
So, Young started searching.
Finding a Forever Home
Young had the Willamette Valley Animal Hospital spay and neuter the two dachshunds, as doxies are often called, before they underwent dental cleanings and vaccinations. The two were also implanted with identifying microchips.
Afterward, Young posted their pictures online and spread the word about a blind dog and its unofficial service dog looking for a home.
John and Dorothy Sinnar answered the call. They drove five hours from Washington to pick up their new pets.
It wasn’t hard for them to see the bond either.
When Dorothy was holding Herbie in her arms, Hilda lightly jumped on Dorothy’s legs to check on Herbie. She barked quietly until Dorothy lowered Herbie letting Hilda sniff him.
The couple has rescued doxies before. They unfortunately lost their 16-year-old dachshund Annabelle in April.
“I’d been Googling dachshunds and knew we wanted a rescue because we’d rescued Annabelle from a puppy mill in La Pine years ago, and I somehow got onto a Salem site and saw Hilda and Herbie,” John Sinnar said. “I told Dorothy that ‘I think these are our dogs’ and I knew immediately that we had to go see them.”
The retired couple plans to get the pups used to their motor home before taking them out on the road and exposing them to the great outdoors. First, they want to get them settled at their new home in Yakima.