Born Blind & Deaf, This ‘Helen Keller’ Puppy Has a Zest for Life Like No Other

Meet Gretchen, an adorable doxie-aussie mix puppy who is defying expectations despite being born blind and deaf. This resilient pup has captured the hearts of animal lovers everywhere with her zest for life and ability to overcome challenges.

Gretchen - Dog's up for adoption

A Rough Start

Born on October 8, 2023, in Alabama, Gretchen’s early days were filled with uncertainty. “Her owner surrendered her because they could not deal with her sight and hearing issues,” explains Meg Loomis of All American Dachshund Rescue (AADR). “She was just a tiny puppy facing tremendous obstacles through no fault of her own.”

A Second Chance at Life

Fortunately, AADR stepped in to provide Gretchen with the loving care she deserved. The non-profit rescue organization took the special needs pup under their wing and placed her in a foster home in Georgetown, South Carolina.

“Gretchen has been in foster care for a little over a month now, and she is simply a joy,” her foster mom shared. “If you love a puppy, this is the girl for you!”

Gretchen - Dog's up for adoption

Defying the Odds

Despite her disabilities, Gretchen has proven to be an incredibly quick learner and adaptable companion. “She has mastered my home and yard, and I am very comfortable taking her out,” her foster mom beamed. “We are learning desired behaviors by using a spray bottle to get her attention. She is so smart and learns easily.”

A True Puppy at Heart

“Gretchen doesn’t need sympathy, all she needs is a family to love her and provide her with structure so she knows what to expect,” Loomis emphasized. “She does not know she is special needs, all she knows is she is loving life. She is all puppy!”

Indeed, Gretchen embodies the boundless energy and playfulness of any typical pup. Her foster family describes her as loving to play, enjoying time with her foster brother, and doting on her stuffed toys.

Gretchen - Dog's up for adoption

A Perfect Furry Friend

At 12 pounds currently and an expected 16-19 pounds fully grown, Gretchen is the ideal size for many households. She is housetrained to puppy pads and a schedule, gets along wonderfully with other dogs, and could make an excellent companion for families with children aged 7 and up.

While she will require an owner prepared for the responsibilities of training a puppy, Gretchen’s contagious spirit and ability to adapt make her a truly remarkable pet. As Loomis advised, “We are going to recommend the book ‘Through A Dark Silence’ for anyone interested in adopting Gretchen to help guide them.”

For those willing to open their hearts and homes, this plucky pup could be the perfect addition to the family. Approved adopters can relocate Gretchen with the help of AADR’s volunteer transport network. Individuals interested in learning more about giving this inspiring girl her forever home can email Gretchen’s foster mom for details.

Gretchen - Dog's up for adoption

Reasons Why a Dog is Born Blind and Deaf:

  1. Genetics: Some breeds are more prone to congenital blindness and deafness due to genetic factors.
  2. Double Merle: Breeding two merle-patterned dogs can result in double merle puppies, which have a higher risk of being born born blind and deaf. This Dog Is Blind & Deaf Due to Irresponsible Breeding
  3. Infections During Pregnancy: If the mother dog experiences certain infections during pregnancy, it can affect the development of the puppies’ eyes and ears.
  4. Developmental Issues: Issues during the development of the fetus can lead to congenital blindness and deafness.

How to Live with a Dog that is Blind and Deaf:

  1. Establish a Routine: Consistency helps these dogs feel secure and confident in their environment.
  2. Use Scent and Touch Cues: Utilize different scents for different rooms or areas and use gentle touch to communicate.
  3. Create a Safe Space: Ensure your home is safe by removing hazards and creating a secure area where the dog can relax.
  4. Positive Reinforcement Training: Use touch and smell rewards to train desired behaviors.
  5. Interactive Toys: Provide toys that engage their other senses, like toys that make noise or have distinct textures. 4 Interactive Dog Toys You Can Make Yourself
  6. Patience and Understanding: Be patient and give them time to learn and adapt to new situations.
  7. Secure Outdoor Areas: Ensure any outdoor space is secure to prevent them from wandering off or getting hurt.
  8. Guide and Support: Be their guide in new environments, helping them navigate and explore safely.
  9. Vet Care: Regular veterinary check-ups to monitor their health and well-being.
  10. Social Interaction: Encourage safe and positive interactions with other pets and people to keep them socialized and happy.
Gretchen - Dog's up for adoption

10 FAQs About Blind and Deaf Dogs:

Can blind and deaf dogs live a happy life?

Absolutely! With the right care and environment, they can lead fulfilling and joyful lives.

How do I train a blind and deaf dog?

Use positive reinforcement with touch and scent cues to teach commands and behaviors.

Are blind and deaf dogs more aggressive?

Not necessarily. They may startle more easily, but with proper socialization, they can be as friendly as any other dog.

How do they find their way around?

They rely on their other senses, such as smell and touch, and adapt very well to their surroundings.

Can they play like other dogs?

Yes, they enjoy playtime and can interact with toys and other pets using their remaining senses.

Is it cruel to keep a blind and deaf dog?

No, it’s not cruel. These dogs can live rich and enjoyable lives with the right care.

What kind of toys are best for them?

Toys with distinct textures, sounds, and smells are ideal for engaging their senses. 10 Best Toys for Blind Dogs on Amazon

Do they need special diets?

They usually don’t need special diets unless they have other health issues.

How can I keep them safe outdoors?

Always supervise them, use a secure leash, and ensure the outdoor area is fenced and safe.

Can they recognize their owners?

Yes, they recognize their owners through scent, touch, and even vibrations from footsteps.

Which breeds are most likely to be double merles?

These breeds commonly carry the merle gene, and breeding two merle-patterned dogs can result in double merle puppies, which are at a higher risk of being born blind and deaf.

Australian Shepherd
Border Collie
Shetland Sheepdog
Catahoula Leopard Dog
Great Dane
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Old English Sheepdog

Living with a blind and deaf dog like Gretchen can be incredibly rewarding. These resilient pets often develop unique ways to interact with their world and form deep bonds with their caregivers. With love, patience, and understanding, blind and deaf dogs can thrive and bring immense joy to their families.

Coffee that Support Shelter Dogs

Medium Roast Organic 12 oz

Dark Roast Organic 12 oz

Flip Coffee Enamel Mug