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Meet Youwho!

The wonder dog Helping others day after day

In April 2005, I saw Youwho sleeping in his kennel at the local animal shelter. I loved his big pointy ears, cute little speckled nose and white/tan markings, so I just had to take him out of his kennel. Little did I know that I would end up adopting this boy... I took him into the play yard and he cuddled with me for a little bit and then he went and explored his new surroundings. He ran into the fence, the chair, the tree. When I would call him over, he just kept walking and sniffing, not even a glance. So, by the hundredth, "Here dog, come here", I began to wave my arms and yell, "Youwhoo over here!" Nothing. Alright, he's deaf and we stuck with the name. He doesn't know he has a silly name. So we have fun saying it and he doesn't mind one bit. We both win. When I went over to pet him since he would not come, he appeared to be startled and as I looked closer at his eyes, they seemed very unusal and realized that those strange little sky blue eyes didn't work.

Here we have this blind and deaf dog... I knew that since he was blind and deaf he did not have a good chance at finding a home. So, I asked my parents if we could foster him having every intention to find him a home. Now, you may think that isn't true, but I really thought that. While I was begging my parents if we could take him home, the shelter neutered him, gave him a heartworm test and a vet check-up. And then my parents said yes and he was ready to go! Nothing else could be wrong with this boy right? Wrong! He had hair loss on his belly, chest and sides. It was Demodex, a type of mange. Most people might have given up on this boy by now. But Youwho was special and definitely worth saving. So, I read about Demodex online and found it was easy to treat, it just takes some time to clear up. I already had my mind set on taking him home and if I left him there not only being blind and deaf, but with Demodex, he would not make it. After, the Demodex was gone, which took about 4 months of Ivomex and special baths, we would find him a home! Well, as you know, I'm now a failed foster mom.

When I took him home, I was a little lost on how I was going to train him. It took Youwho awhile (a few months) to settle in. He may be very outgoing and sweet, but it still took him some time to fully trust us as he has to depend on us to keep him safe. After, I gained Youwho's trust with lots of treats and love, I began a routine for Youwho and housebroke him. I also began trying to work out how I exactly was going to train him. I figured if he can't hear signals or see signals, what was left? Touch. So, I began teaching him touch commands, after that tricks, games and fun. It also became apparent that placing different textures around the house helped him navigate.

With each passing day when we had Youwho in our lives, we learned so much more than we could ever have imagined. Youwho was a treasure. He was a wonderful blind and deaf dog who taught us a lot about special needs dogs as well as life. Together, we came up with this guide to help others as sometimes you can be a bit lost in the beginning. I sure know that! Because of Youwho we are fortunate enough to get to help other blind and deaf dogs live happy and safe lives. We also get to see the joy and happiness these special creatures bring to their families.

Youwho inspired me to become a Veterinarian and thus I am now attending Oregon State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. So, please bear with us if our email responses seem a bit delayed especially during the school year. We're studying away over here!

Please share this guide with others who might find it helpful so Youwho, in spirit, can keep doing what he was meant to do - help and inspire others. :)