In 1999 Karen Belfi adopted a blind dog, and after some research she landed on an online support group for blind dog owners. It became a resource for advice as well as a lasting network of pet parent friends. But after years of seeing emails about blind dogs that needed homes, she decided to turn those leads into rescues.
In 2009, Karen founded the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance (BDRA) with some of her fellow support group members. Within 3 to 4 months they had 30 dogs who needed homes. Some of the dogs sent through to BDRA are blind in one or both eyes, while others have eye conditions that need treating. With donations they are able to get the medical treatment these dogs need that can cost over $1,500 per case, and then prepare the dogs to find homes. To date they have rescued over 400 dogs and work with more than 100 volunteers that foster them in homes across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
We first learned about Karen and her efforts when she wrote on our Facebook wall and told us about Sam, the 410th dog they have rescued. He was having trouble walking on a leash, and walking down stairs was daunting for him. Karen, looking for a delicious reward to motivate him, found Freshpet. The quiet and nervous dog now gets excited when he hears a bag of Roasted Meals open, and walks confidently down stairs. We've since sent Sam his favorite meal as well as some other recipes to try.
Karen shares, that blind pets are not as difficult as one would imagine. There are some hurdles and different ways of communicating, but they thrive just like other pets. "We become more upset about their blindness than they do. They just carry on fantastically," Karen says. For example, one of her rescues, a Siberan Husky had her eye removed. By the next day she was running around and using her e-collar to play with the other dogs. "It's not the end of the world. They can have a healthy life like any other dog."
The Blind Dog Rescue Alliance is on a quest to show possible pet owners that blind dogs can be a wonderful addition to families and help them find homes. We'd like to help them by showcasing some of their foster dogs below.
Consider supporting the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance (BDRA) foster dogs when you shop on amazon. Just go to smile.amazon.com and type in Blind Dog Rescue where it says "Or pick your own..." Then select BDRA and shop as usual. 0.5% of your purchase will go to BDRA.
Or donate directly here.