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The Specials: Adopting A Senior Deaf & Blind Dog

Would you rather have a few moments or days of over-the-moon, this is amazing or years of just OK? If given the choice, I will always choose the extraordinary over the ordinary. I’m all about quality over quantity (which occasionally gets me in trouble) but also explains my crazy love for adopting senior and hospice dogs and cats.

While sharing a long happy life with an animal is a wonderful thing (the best), providing a few years, months, days or even hours of care to a dog or cat who has never have experienced kindness, gentleness, or even love is just as amazing. Senior pets do not live as long, but they help us live in the moment. They may have health issues and emotional scars (who doesn’t), but they also have much to share about patience, forgiveness, compassion and the beauty of imperfection.

Adopting or fostering a senior shelter pet is a chance to rewrite the story with a happy ending – helping them leave the world knowing they are safe, cherished and finally home. You get back much more than you give and some pretty good karma to boot.

Fospice or adopting a senior deaf and blind dog

Adopting A Senior Deaf And Blind Dog

Dottie is a once-in-a-lifetime, feel-good, rewrite the story and make the ending happy, kind of dog. A dog who is so special, such a survivor and gentle soul, that she might just change your life.

Dottie was brought to Chicago Animal Care & Control as a stray. She was found on the city’s northwest side emaciated, deaf, and blind. Her nails were long and curled under making it difficult and painful for her to walk. She also had a hole in the roof of her mouth all the way through to her nasal cavity caused by rotting teeth and untreated infection. In spite of everything, Dottie holds no grudge against a world and humans that would abandon her helpless and alone on a busy city street. Dogs naturally and effortlessly forgive and this makes them extraordinary.

Adopting a senior deaf and blind dog is the ultimate happy ending

Dottie was rescued from animal care and control by MCP Rescue and Outreach and has been living in a foster home since April. She has had a dental and ten teeth pulled. Her heart and lungs are strong, but she definitely has some arthritis, doesn’t move super fast and occasionally walks in half circles.

Dottie is both deaf and blind. She acknowledges clapping, whistling and similar high-pitched sounds, but otherwise can’t hear. Similarly, she occasionally reacts to light and if she is in a dark room when a light goes on, lifts her sweet head. Like many dogs with hearing or sight issues, Dottie’s other senses are heightened. She can be sleeping at one end of her foster apartment, but when the food comes out, she’s up and making her way towards the kitchen. She’s a dachshund after all!

adopting a senior deaf and blind dog is amazing

We will probably never know how Dottie ended up wandering the streets or how she even survived. Maybe it doesn’t matter how she survived only that she did survive.

Shelters are filled with senior pets waiting for someone to see beyond their gray whiskers, cloudy eyes, tired limbs, and bruised hearts. Some of these animals have known loving homes but many others have not. They have much to share and when given a second chance, their gratitude and love is immense. To learn more about life with blind and deaf dogs, please check out my post on Vinny, Treasure, and Vegas.

please consider fostering or adopting a senior deaf blind dog

Dottie is part of The Specials, an award-winning blog series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pits and black cats. If not for the courage and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals might have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. You can read more special needs adoption posts here

Fostering or adopting a senior deaf and blind dog


  1. Mark Muller
    August 23, 2017 / 5:49 am

    I'm so glad that Dottie found a super home… and I wish that more seniors or special -needs pets would find a good home too… it's heartbreaking if people pass this dogs without one look ;o(((

    • Collsimp
      August 23, 2017 / 9:37 pm

      Mark Muller, Dottie does have a wonderful foster home, but she is still in need of a forever home!

  2. Yamini MacLean
    August 23, 2017 / 7:07 am

    Hari OMPutting up a prayer for a fine furever home for Dottie – she's a true cutie. YAM xx

  3. Baymonkey
    August 23, 2017 / 9:29 am

    We have fostered several senior dogs in the past. They are the best and I wish more people would adopt them!

  4. Molly the AireGirl
    August 23, 2017 / 9:51 am

    Dottie is just precious. We hope she finds that wonderful forever home soon!

  5. Emma
    August 23, 2017 / 10:27 am

    It takes a special person to be able to handle a deaf and blind dog. We know a woman who has a couple of the deaf and blind Merle dogs I think border collie mix of some sort. It is amazing to watch her work with them and they do so well with nose work despite their handicaps.

  6. Marg
    August 23, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    So glad that Dottie survived all that she did. That is amazing and we so hope she finds a fantastic home and soon. We all have our paws crossed for her.

  7. Michelle & The Paw Pack
    August 23, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Aw Dottie! I love her! I hope she finds an amazing home. Growing up my family had a deaf dog who also eventually went blind due to glaucoma. She was a puppy mill rescue and kind of a mess but was an amazing dog. I have so many fond childhood memories of her.

  8. Millie and Walter
    August 23, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    We hope Dottie can find her forever home soon. She sure is in a great foster home too.

  9. stellaroselong
    August 23, 2017 / 2:23 pm

    Dottie is a superhero, and strong, she needs to find that special home full of love just for her. Mags

  10. Bouncing Bertie
    August 23, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    Sending love and best wishes to Dottie and to her current foster parents, and paws crossed that she soon finds a loving and wonderful home to live out the rest of her days.

  11. Cathy Armato
    August 23, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    Dottie's story is so heartbreaking, how could someone leave her like that helpless in the streets?? That is really so cruel. I'm glad she's been rescued and I hope she finds a loving home to live out her remaining days. What a beautifully written post, Kristin. Sharing.Love & Biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  12. Edie ThePug
    August 23, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    I hope Dottie finds that someone special to take her in and give her that home she so deserves. She is certainly a very special soul.

  13. Hindy Pearson
    August 23, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    If only…Dottie looks exactly like my type of dog!! I am beyond thrilled reading this post highlighting fostering and adopting senior dogs, especially ones that are seen by some (not me though!!) as less than perfect. Nothing does my soul as good as bringing home a senior dog, for however long they have. Red has been with me 8 years which is the longest, but I did foster an old dog who I had only 2 days before he died, and one 18 year old 3 months. That was okay with me because the important thing is – they knew love and care at the end of their lives. Great post!

  14. 24 Paws of Love
    August 23, 2017 / 4:07 pm

    You have a way of presenting these stories that shares your heart and are beautifully written. Here's hope and paws crossed for Dottie who such an amazing dog. She is a beacon of hope for all those lost and alone wandering the streets. Thanks for sharing. I hope she finds her furever home soon.p.s. I have a bag of timothy hay that came by mistake with an order I purchased. Would you be interested in it? 24pawsoflove(at)gmail(dot)com.

  15. Brian
    August 23, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    We hope that dear gal hits the forever home jackpot soon, she sure deserves a great big happy.

  16. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    August 23, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    We will cross our paws that Dottie finds that wonderful home to give her some love and a nice life. We are so saddened by the poor care she received before, actually more like total neglect. Life with Dottie will surely present its challenges, but we know in our hearts that helping her would be such a kind thing to do. Good luck, Dottie.Hugs and Woos – Lightning and Misty

  17. Madi and Mom
    August 23, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    OMCs…Dottie the Dachshund…bless her sweet heart and that of those who rescued and treated her and HER Foster mom! Dachshunds for sure are people pups and we do hope she finds a wonderful home to share all her love with.Hugs madi and mom

  18. Beth
    August 23, 2017 / 7:45 pm

    I am glad that Dottie is in a loving environment now! I hope she is adopted soon. Senior pets are so special. The dog I grew up with, was blind and deaf in her last years, but I don't think she minded at all, even when she moved into a new home with me, she adjusted quickly.

  19. FiveSibesMom
    August 23, 2017 / 7:48 pm

    Dottie is so sweet! I hope she finds her loving forever home very soon! My heart always goes out to seniors and those with special needs… <3 Beautiful post.

  20. Clare
    August 23, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    Dottie is adorable and I sent her link to a friend who LOVES the doxies. The blind or deaf pups are easier to live with than you might think at first. hi from yaydog Clare

  21. Bella Roxy & Macdui
    August 23, 2017 / 8:48 pm

    What a sweet dog…

  22. Jana Rade
    August 23, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    What a sweetie. I haven't had yet the courage to adopt a special needs dog, the main reason being that we still cannot really afford any dog with pre-existing conditions the insurance wouldn't cover. We're still paying off the debt from Jasmine's treatments.

  23. Luna Lupus
    August 23, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    I am absolutely crying over this powerful story. Dottie is such a beautiful and brave pup. <3 She deserves a forever home and I hope she finds it soon!

  24. Stephanie Seger
    August 23, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    I am so happy Dottie has found a home where she can be loved and spoiled until just the right forever home comes along. She should hate people after all she has been through. This is a testament to truly how wonderful dogs are, that despite all she has been through, she still wants a human companion. Many prayers coming for Dottie.

  25. Sweet Purrfections
    August 23, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    I admire people who are able to bring senior pets into their homes and give them love for whatever amount of time they have left. I get so emotionally attached to my fur children that I'm not sure I could handle losing fur children on a more frequent basis. I hope Dottie has found a great forever home with someone who loves her.

  26. Fashion Beyond Forty
    August 23, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    I wish I could adopt Dottie! She is BEAUTIFUL! She needs a person who will hold her and make her feel comforted and at peace. A person with gentle vibrations she can feel! What a special sweetie.

  27. Sandy Kubillus
    August 23, 2017 / 11:44 pm

    I'll forward this to a friend who has several dachshunds and lives in the Chicagoland area. Maybe she'll get attached to Dottie based on your beautiful story. It takes a special person to care for a blind AND deaf dog. You can really see her cataracts.

  28. Idaho PugRanch
    August 23, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    So many pug prayers that Dottie will find her forever home. We are thankful that she was found and loving foster carehugsHazel & Mabel

  29. Dash Kitten
    August 24, 2017 / 3:51 am

    Oooh man she is a superstar isn't she.I hope she finds her forever home soon.

  30. The Swiss Cats
    August 24, 2017 / 4:37 am

    Poor Dottie ! We're glad she was rescued by such a wonderful foster mom, and we hope she finds a forever home that fits her very soon. Purrs

  31. Kamira G
    August 24, 2017 / 1:22 pm

    Oh poor Dottie. Sounds like when she was brought to ACC she was badly neglected. I'm happy to hear she is finally off the streets. Hope she finds her forever home soon and gets her happy ending.

  32. Dolly theDoxie
    August 24, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    This is so heartbreaking I've been intentionally avoiding reading this because it just breaks my heart. Knowing that she is getting proper care helps and I agree that knowing you've give an animal love in its final days or longer is very rewarding. I would take her in a second if I could but don't have the right environment for her.

  33. ShaylaS11
    August 25, 2017 / 3:03 am

    I have such a hard time reading articles on senior dogs because I just can't stand the thought of them sitting alone at the end of their lives! I hope she finds her family!

  34. Jeanne Pursell
    August 25, 2017 / 8:47 am

    I was also struggling with reading this one…I just knew it would tug at my heartstrings. I am very glad to hear that she is in an awesome foster home…if only she could find her very own FOREVER home…sending prayers that this happens soon for her.

  35. Denise Gruzensky
    August 25, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    Kristen, you hit another home run with this beautiful special rescue story! Thank you for ALL you do! I wish we were closer to help Dottie. We certainly miss our senior rescue Shasta!

  36. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat
    August 25, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    You can't help but admire her, can you? I've long said that it takes courage to follow your heart when an opportunity is presented to you. Like when I found Bear homeless – fell in love with him – even though I had a 15 year old cat who'd always been an only. Taking him in made no sense – and was not a good idea in any form of logic. I'm so very glad I did. Similar thing with Ellie … she's already 6, I don't have extra money to spare really, and Bear has a history of being obnoxious to other cats. And yet … my heart couldn't let her go from the first time I saw her. I don't know how that happens. How we find exactly what we need when we need it … but it'd be a shame if we let logic and practicalities get in the way of something that can never be explained logically 🙂

  37. Carleenp
    August 25, 2017 / 7:49 pm

    Bless this little baby! I have a friend who had a senior deaf and blind dog. She was a great pet.

  38. AmyShojai
    August 25, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    What a sweetheart! It's amazing to me someone could dump an animal, but even more amazing that dogs can be so forgiving.

  39. Lori Hilliard
    August 25, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Dottie's story brought tears to my eyes. I can't imagine how scary it must have been for her, wandering the streets alone while not being able to see or hear what was going on around her. If I lived in the Chicago area I would scoop her up tomorrow! (I currently have a blind cat and a deaf dog). i think as their senses diminish, their already huge hearts grow even larger.

  40. Elizabeth Keene
    August 25, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    This hurts my heart, but I'm also thankful that Dottie found her way to a place where people were kind and took care of her. And bless her foster care provider! My little Lele is actually on the verge of being deaf and blind. She is sighted in one eye, but the vet says it could be any day when her other lens becomes detatched. We have a narrow window to got her in for emergency eye surgery when that happens to save her vision. I guess I feel a little better, based on this wonderfully written post, that she could still have quality of life if her vision were completely gone. Cannot imagine her being left abandoned in Dottie's condition.

  41. Three Chatty Cats
    August 25, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    Oh gosh, poor Dottie. Her foster moms sound wonderful! The cat lead with the group I foster for fosters hospice cats herself. Such a hard thing to do, but someone has to do it. Thankfully there are people like her and Dottie's foster moms in the world.

  42. TheGirlWhoFacedTheWorld
    August 25, 2017 / 11:53 pm

    What a beauty! Good for you. 🙂 I wish more people would adopt seniors. They are such special dogs. – Shelby G.

  43. Tenacious Little Terrier
    August 26, 2017 / 6:03 am

    She looks very sweet. I hope she finds the right home that can accommodate her needs.

  44. Bettina - We Break Away
    August 26, 2017 / 9:33 am

    Dottie just gave tears to my eyes… What a story and what a foster mom!

  45. Heather Wallace
    August 26, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    Beautiful, sweet girl. I hope Dottie finds the best possible home for her soon.

  46. Golden Daily Scoop
    August 26, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    What a story! Dottie looks like such a precious girl. We are so glad she found her forever home, amazing! 🙂

  47. Jan K
    August 26, 2017 / 10:46 pm

    Gosh, isn't she so sweet and so special. We hope and pray she finds her forever home. ♥

  48. Momo and Pinot
    August 27, 2017 / 6:26 pm

    What a sweet doggie! Hugs!!Momo & Pinot xo

  49. Lola The Rescued Cat
    August 27, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    This really touched my heart. If I had a different work schedule and could give Dottie more of what she deserves, I'd seriously consider how I could adopt her. Paws crossed she touches someone else's heart the same way. Sharing her info!

  50. 4 Dogs and a Little Lady
    August 28, 2017 / 11:13 am

    Karma is an amazing thing. I wish nothing more than for you to get back just a tiny bit of the good you put out into the world!

  51. Karen H.
    August 28, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    I LOVE senior pets, actually prefer them! Dottie's home is out there, I'm sure of it. She hasn't come all this way not to find it! Love the Specials series! 🙂

  52. Bryn Nowell
    August 28, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    I agree. Quality over quantity, is always the right choice. Thank you for bringing Dottie's story to light. She seems to be a loving soul who deserves to find a home to help her be cared for and loved. Kudos to her foster mom who I'm sure is showing her the beauty of love and support. I hope Dottie finds a forever home soon.

  53. Kelsie - It's Dog or Nothing
    August 28, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    What a sweet, precious girl. I'm sure the next dog I adopt will be special needs – I'm a sucker for it. I hope Dottie finds her furever home soon!

  54. Talent Hounds
    August 29, 2017 / 1:07 am

    What a heartwarming story. I love this series of stories about the Specials. You write so well and the photos are beautiful.

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