Meet Our own deaf
I first saw Sapphire's photo on the ADOPT website when she was 16 months old, and promptly fell in love with her. I adopted her soon after that, and our partnership began. I don't know if she ever had any vision, but when I adopted her, one eye had been removed, (apparently after an injury), and the other had no vision. I quickly learned, though, that Sapphire does not let being blind slow her down, and that she loves taking part in activities.
It's not uncommon for initial reactions to Sapphire, a 3 year old blue Great Dane, to include feeling sorry for her. It doesn't take long, however, before people realize that Sapphire does not feel sorry for herself in any way, and that she can do most everything that other dogs do. She does not have functioning eyes, but has her own sense of vision, and is living a happy, active life. She obviously doesn't consider herself to be disabled, but to be differently abled. Sapphire is not able to use her eyes to view the world, but has therefore more fully developed her other abilities, such as listening, smelling, and feeling, to be able to fully participate in the world.
Sapphire recently earned her Level 1 Rally Obedience title, and is currently ranked among the top 10 APDT Rally dogs in the country. We are working towards earning the Level 2 title, and will stay involved in Rally as long as Sapphire enjoys it. For now, she is usually the happiest dog in class.
Sapphire has also passed both the Therapy Dogs International and Delta Society Pet Partners certifications, and is active as a therapy dog. While we do encounter individuals who are uncertain about interacting with a giant breed dog, that barrier is often removed when they discover that Sapphire is blind. Sapphire is often a source of inspiration to those that she meets, in addition to providing gentle interactions.
Upcoming activities include giving Canine Freestyle a try, as well as taking part in a presentation of the Nutcracker with our therapy dog group. (Dogs "dance" all of the roles.) And, in her spare time, Sapphire loves playing with her canine "brothers", Nicholas, (a Lab mix), and Hamlet, (a Dane/Mastiff mix), as well as being a lap dog. She's an amazing girl, and having her in my life is a wonderful gift.
I've included a photo of Sapphire modeling her "Doggles", (to help protect her eye from injury, if she runs into something). Thanks again for all of your work on behalf of the special needs Danes.
There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. - Ben Williams
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