Because he had an eye infection, the owners of a 3-year-old Lab/Shepherd mix named Louis decided to have both of his eyes removed. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, last year Louis was hit by a car and suffered a broken leg that was never treated.
But Louis’ sad story doesn’t end there. His owners could no longer care for him, so in December they surrendered their sweet and shy dog to an animal shelter. A rescue group saved Louis and brought him to the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) near San Diego. HWAC is a nonprofit founded in 1972 that provides humane care and adoption for homeless animals, and also offers educational and therapeutic programs for people.
Louis’ case was unlike any other seen at HWAC in nearly 50 years, the center stated on Jan. 11.
“It is incredibly important that people who consider getting a pet know the obligations they take on with these animals,” HWAC Adoptions Director Hella Tyler said. “When people get their pets for free off of Craiglist, they don’t seem to realize that pets come with responsibilities and a monthly expense for their caretaking, including medical care. In turn, these pets will provide their owners an unparalleled love. They pay it back tenfold. It’s just devastating to see an animal treated the way Louis was treated.”
Louis is extraordinary, Tyler said. “He really suffered at the hands of his former owners but he shows no malice towards humankind. He is ready to love the perfect family and he certainly deserves one.”
Before you reach for another tissue, let’s fast forward to this week — and this dog with the tragic past can now be called Lucky Louis.
After receiving dozens of applications and over $25,000 in donations from around the world to help pay for Louis’ care, HWAC has selected the perfect forever home for this special dog.
Louis’ new dog dad is Steve Walker, a veteran Marine who competes in Iron Man competitions as well as triathlons and marathons. Walker has something in common with Louie: He began losing his vision when he was only 18, due to the rare eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa.
“We were laughing as we were reading on the internet on how to help out a blind dog, and it was pretty much the same thing as for a blind person,” Walker told KGTV.
His Los Angeles home, where he lives with his wife, Kacey, and daughter, Jordan, is already set up for someone without sight. It is one-story and has pocket doors instead of swinging doors, among other special features. Louie shouldn’t have much difficulty at all settling in with his new forever family.
“I think he’s going to pick up on that and I think he’s going to benefit from a lot of the changes we’ve already made to the house,” Walker told KGTV. “So we’re really excited about seeing him adapt to our home and our family, and seeing him flourish, really.”
The Walker family has another rescue dog, a Bulldog named Dragon. Walker said they’re looking forward to the two dogs becoming friends.
Louie’s adoption expenses and a year of veterinarian costs have been covered by generous donations.
“We’re really excited about the future,” Walker told KGTV. You can bet Louis is, too.
To make a donation to help the HWAC save more dogs’ lives, visit their website.
Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center