Friday, August 17, 2007

The Blind Dog and his Seeing Eye Man

Meet Wildwood's Cactus Thorn, or 'Cactus.' Cactus is an 8 month-old blind double dapple dachshund. Cactus was in danger of being put down, but was adopted by amputee Bob Gabbard, who saw something special in Cactus, and they've turned their disabilities into a wonderful friendship. Excerpt from Tulsa's KOTV: "He had such a personality,” said Gabbard.
He empathized with the dog some. Gabbard has had circulatory problems in his right leg for years. It was amputated a couple of years ago. He just couldn't bear to see the little dog put down. Except for the blindness, he was otherwise healthy.
Cactus learned his way around the house in no time. Gabbard has trained him to respond to a whistle. When he blows it, Cactus responds.
"The thing is he recognized what the problem is,” Gabbard said.
Cactus can't see so he uses his nose and his ears. He hesitates when he hears or smells something he's not sure of.
Gabbard spends his days in a wheelchair or on a scooter. It was play time so they hopped aboard the scooter and off they went, out in the yard. Cactus gets to be a real dog. He can run and play. He sniffs out bugs in the grass. Gabbard uses the whistle to keep him out of trouble.
"The main this is to keep him aware of that whistle, so you can keep him out of dangerous places and places he shouldn't be,” he said.
The blind dog and his Seeing Eye man.
"When he enjoys life as much as he does, it helps all of us enjoy our lives a little more,” Gabbard said. Read the rest, see more pics and a video.

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