Blind dog saved from death uses hula hoop halo to find his way around
"Becoming a dog mom to a special needs dog changed my life."
By Ben Barry via SWNS
A blind dog saved from a puppy farm and euthanasia is blossoming in its new home - thanks to a hula hoop halo it uses to find its way around.
Beau, the Pomeranian poodle mix was rescued from a puppy mill - also known as a puppy farm - in Iowa.
Beau and his siblings were going to be euthanized because there were too many to rehome and not enough demand.
But after he was fostered by Jennifer Tripucka, 35, he was then adopted by Samantha Hillstrom, 37, who fell in love with him via video calls.
Samantha had already had blind dog, Finn, and thought Beau would be the perfect companion.
Both dogs use a halo - a tool that helps visually impaired dogs get around safely, check their surroundings for obstacles and determine if it is safe to go in that direction.
Sadly Finn died at age 13 just 36 hours after Beau arrived, and Samantha thinks the pooch was sent to her by her now late dog.
She said: "Jen and I live in neighboring towns.
"She posted on a Facebook group that she was looking for a halo for her blind foster dog.
"I had a blind dog as well, I said I would be happy to share tips with her on how to take care of a blind dog.
"I rescued my dog Finn as a senior knowing he was fully blind, so I had already previously rescued a fully blind dog.
"Jen and I sat on the phone Facetiming for hours, talking, getting to know each other.
"She was holding Nelson, now known as Beau and I was holding Finn and by the end of our conversation I said 'I have to apply for this dog.'
"Four days later I got approved."
The pup was just three months old when he moved in with Jennifer in late October 2022. He soon learned to use his halo for navigation.
Jennifer, a business owner from Hoboken, New Jersey, said: "We fostered two out of the eight puppies that came.
"He was pretty dirty and scruffy, they hadn't been washed.
"They get transported and the puppy mill just drops them at this transport that the rescue pays for and then they get the dogs.
"The dogs go to a boarding facility, and the foster parents go there and take the dogs to the home.
"Then we were able to watch them and make sure they were in a better place."
After six weeks, he moved in with Samantha and Finn.
Samantha said: "I truly believe that Finn brought Beau to me.
"If I was never Finn's mom and I never learned how to take care of a blind dog and take care of Finn, I never would have been able to take care of Beau."
Samantha said Beau is "wonderful" and "very smart" and has started his training.
Beau is learning how to recognize Samantha's commands, map the apartment and get around effectively.
Samantha said: "Becoming a dog mom to a special needs dog changed my life in ways I never knew was possible.
"I learned so much about how to care for a blind dog.
"So when I met Jen and we were just talking about Beau, I thought to myself. I have exactly what it takes to take care of this dog.
"I never set out to adopt one blind dog and I certainly never set out to adopt two blind dogs but what anyone with a dog will tell you is they find who they want in a family."
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