Dogs are amazing creatures.
They help us when we’re sad. Alert us when there is an intruder (even when the intruder is the package delivery person). Dogs can do a lot of great things. They are even there for each other when they need it.
Dogs have been helping lead the blind for quite some time. Following World War One, many service men came back blinded. To cope with the growing blind population, programs began to train dogs to be able to lead the blind safely around. If dogs can be trained to care for blind humans, what is stopping dogs from leading other blind dogs?
Nothing – as it turns out.
The story of Hilda and her blind best friend Herbie begins sad and ends beautifully. Hilda and Herbie were dropped off with a third dog when they were just young dogs. They were dropped off at the house of an elderly man who used to adopt rescue dachshunds. He no longer rescues them, but he contacted Sonya Pulvers who works with the Marion County Dog Services in Oregon.
After placing the dogs in a shelter, they realized that the special situation needed to call in the “big dogs”. Diane Young of Salem Dogs works with dogs with all sorts of needs. Together, they knew that Hilda and Herbie had to remain a set after it became apparent of their bond. The third dog was deemed to be healthy and was adopted quickly.
Evidently, Hilda guides Herbie around everywhere. She even protects him from any apparent harm. After getting the animals set up for adoption, the women were nervous. They were honest about the fact that Herbie was blind and needed to be kept with Hilda. They weren’t sure if anyone would be interested in adopting the pair. To their amazement, they were contacted for adoption.
John and Dorothy Sinnar have rescued dachshunds before. In fact, their dog Annabelle, who lived to be an astonishing 16-years-old, died back in April. John just happen to come across the listing for Hilda and Herbie after searching rescue dachshunds. He and his wife immediately knew that it was worth it to drive five hours to meet the pups.
They too became aware of Hilda’s protective nature. When Herbie was being held, Hilda jumped up and barked to see him. She only calmed down when the Sinnars brought Herbie down for Hilda to sniff.
The Sinnars, who are retired, picked up their new pooches in their new mobile home. It was love at first sight and non-sight for Herbie. The dogs were instantly calm when they were held within a close distance of each other.
The bond between Hilda and Herbie is strong. Herbie seems to be happy to have Hilda look after him, and Hilda seems very happy to have the Sinnars look out for both of them.