Adoptable Pet of the Week: Pretty Girl, the blind, deaf and super-sweet senior

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Pretty Girl has rather large ears for a dog that cannot hear. — photo by Zak Neumann

Every shelter animal has its challenges, some steeper than others. With very little in the way of hearing and no sight, life at the Iowa City Animal Center can be more confusing and stressful for Pretty Girl than a dog with full use of its senses. That hasn’t stopped the 11-year-old from being her playful, adventurous and cuddly self.

Pretty Girl is most comfortable in familiar places, including the arms of center staffer Jonte Thornton. — photo by Zak Neumann

Pretty Girl has likely had trouble seeing and hearing her whole life. Congenital deafness and/or blindness is common in white dogs — because science — but dogs’ naturally strong sense of smell — some hundreds of thousands times stronger than humans’ — makes up for it. Pretty Girl is never not sniffing, using smell to assess a room’s size, occupants and location. She also uses her nose to literally feel out her surroundings like a seeing-impaired human might use a cane. She may bump her head now and then, but she’s not afraid to crawl through unknown spaces and discover something new.

Pretty Girl plays with her favorite squeaky toy. — photos by Zak Neumann

Though Pretty Girl is a friendly and independent dog, her adopters will need to make a few accomodations. Her new home should not have stairs, or should have them properly blocked off, and the space should be clutter-free. She is not a good fit for a family constantly on the move; she’ll do best settling into one familiar space for the rest of her life. Pro tip: Scent each room of your house differently, and it will make it easier for Pretty Girl to navigate by nose. For example, you can spray citrus air freshener in the kitchen, lavender in the bedroom, fresh linen in the living room, etc.

Adopters should also be financially secure to keep up with the regular vet visits needed to address Pretty Girl’s chronic ear issues, seasonal allergies, flea allergy and general senior care. She will likely get along with other dogs, cats and children as long as they give her space when she’s eating or feeling possessive over a toy — she likes to guard her resources. Center staff recommend enrolling her in positive reinforcement training, and a voucher for classes is included with her adoption. You in fact can teach an old dog new tricks.

Visit the shelter’s website for more information on adoption. To meet Pretty Girl, stop by the Iowa City Animal Center at 3910 Napoleon Ln between 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, or 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays.

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3 thoughts on “Adoptable Pet of the Week: Pretty Girl, the blind, deaf and super-sweet senior

  1. Let’s be honest: how many homes are out there with the skills, finances and management/training protocols to deal with a severe chronic allergy case and resource-guarding issue in a dog with full visual and aural capacities, much less one without AND one who has been doing this for 11+ years? A voucher for a reward-based class is hardly comfort when the time, skills, effort and extreme life-changing protocols necessary to safely and comfortably live with this dog are to be considered–and that’s in an EXPERIENCED home.

    When I am seeing entire write-ups on adoptable animals who have such a list of stipulations that preclude its ability to be a SAFE companion animal living in someone’s home, the red flag goes up and warning bells go off. By no means is this an isolated case or a new thing.

    Please, do right by her. Stop setting her up to fail by warehousing her until “the right home” comes along. She is blind and deaf as a result of a breeding that never should have happened and she has lived in a silent, dark world of uncertainty (what’s out there to take what I claim as mine?) and discomfort (tell me that severe chronic allergies are not painful!) for 11 years. She is not “Sweet.” She is tolerable and patient to a point. Give her relief and let’s see a write-up for an adoptable dog that would be a pleasure to keep in one’s household, safe and not burn up the credit card at the vet.

  2. What a heartless comment to make for a loving animal! I have a blind dog and one that is deaf and let me tell you, they are a joy and have a wonderful life. I pray she finds a loving home and becomes the joy of their life! If you don’t have the right home, it doesn’t mean she is not worth finding a home for or sharing her life with someone. Don’t be so quick to judge, just because you feel it’s a waste of money in your eyes, doesn’t mean she is not worth it. It doesn’t always have to do with the breeding, just like in people, birth defects, accident and life happens. Sad you put a $ amount on what is worth saving! She’ll find that home and finally have everything she deserves!!

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