Her three boys were teenagers, and the dog they grew up with was almost a teen herself. Facing her nearly 12-year-old boxer, Major, Stephanie Barber knew that her Pennsylvania home would soon be quieter than it had been in a long time. Concerned about what Major inevitably meant for her family, Stephanie turned to Petfinder and found Gracie, the blind puppy she never knew he needed.
"When my children get older, they don’t need me so much and comradeship meant a lot ", tells Stephanie PetAnimalsBlog.
It is a story that she tells in detail on her blog Furever Gracie. She says she writes the blog in hopes of helping others who are where they were – hesitating about adopting a dog with special needs.
"I went to Petfinder just to look around and see what was out there. and I just fell in love with her picture ", Stephanie recalls. "I thought I was crazy to see this special needs dog because I was three Children and had an older dog."
Stephanie had logged on to the page because Major was showing his age and was slowing down. Her friend Todd agreed it was a good time to get a new dog in the family to welcome, and when Stephanie Todd sent a photo of Gracie, he also fell in love.
"We had just talked about getting another dog." the new dog] could spend some time with Major and maybe give him some excitement in his life again ", says Stephanie, who did not imagine a blind 5-pound fluff ball like Gracie when she thought of a dog that could make friends with Major and her cubs.
However, the Poodle-Pomeranian mix attracted her, and Stephanie soon contacted the rescue that Gracie listed on Petfinder, The Last Dog Rescue in York, Pennsylvania. The organization had pulled Gracie from a local animal shelter where it had surrendered, the product of a backyard breeder that often includes dogs with birth defects.
The breeder didn’t want Gracie, but Stephanie and her family did. When the rescue brought Gracie to a home visit, it quickly became clear that she would never go.
"I went to the car and she was sitting in the passenger seat. I just went to the window and said: "Oh Gracie!" and she hurried over and practically jumped out of the seat into my arms ", Stephanie recalls.
The rest of the family felt the same way.
" Major fell in love with her. It was so small that it would climb under his legs ", Stephanie recalls.
The home visit became a home for life. Gracie came across a few things, but the blind puppy used her other senses to find out who she was. With Major and her three human brothers who loved her, Gracie quickly became the little princess of all.
"She will definitely be spoiled by everyone. The boys carry her around and cuddle with her ", explains Stephanie.
A year after Gracie’s adoption, the Major family lost to cancer. Everyone was devastated, including Gracie, who slept in the place that Major’s bed had occupied until Stephanie put her back.
"I knew she was confused and that this would help her transition. As soon as I put it back there, she just started sleeping on it. "
After Gracie kept her busy, Stephanie helped cope with Major’s loss. She was involved in selling bespoke dog accessories on Etsy and at craft shows, using Gracie as a model.
The visually impaired dog is always with his husband and is as much a part of the family as Major.
"You can still do everything a sighted dog can do. We even took Gracie kayaking ", says Stephanie.
Two months after Major’s loss, a family friend had to bring back a beloved Miniature Pinscher, and Stephanie knew that Gracie would make room on Major’s bed.
Despite her blindness, Gracie can find her new brother, Cody, wherever he listens to his ringing collar on hikes and in the back yard. Stephanie hopes others will follow her as Gracie follows Cody and adopts a special needs puppy.
"They could surprise you and be the perfect dog."
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