Monday, November 30, 2009

Deaf, blind dog offers lesson in compassion - Happy pup shows that disabilities are OK

If this story doesn't inspire you then I don't have a clue what will do the trick. I believe I've mentioned before that I had the honor of being a seeing-eye-person for a blind dog, my Prince. I adopted him after he became blind and I never found reason to regret my decision. He left me for a better place several years ago and I miss him terribly to this day. Come on - take a chance - dogs (and cats) have no idea what it's like to be handicapped - all they do is live each day to the best of their ability. Mimi

Marcia Fishman introduces Rudolph to Emmanuel Toe, 8, during a visit earlier this month to McIntyre Elementary in Southfield. (SUSAN TUSA/Detroit Free Press) 

DETROIT FREE PRESS   "Shut your eyes and hold your ears as tight as possible," Marcia Fishman said to the third-graders at McIntrye Elementary School in Southfield. "Don't feel sorry for Rudolph, he is a happy dog. But I want you to understand what he experiences every day of his life."

Fishman adopted Rudolph, a 7-pound dachshund who was born both deaf and blind, after four other families didn't want him or know what to do with him.

She named him after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer because -- just like the reindeer's nose guides Santa's sleigh in the dark -- her dog's nose guides him every day. She also knew the name would appeal to children.

Rudolph is the star of Fishman's storybook, "Rudolph's Nose Knows," about a blind and deaf dog teased by other dogs because he bumps into things. In the story, a bird falls down a hole and Rudolph is the only one who can rescue it. He becomes a hero and, by the end, is revered by the other dogs.

As a team, Rudolph and Fishman visit schools around metro Detroit to help kids understand that Rudolph has a happy and very busy life, even though he has disabilities. Fishman also hopes that Rudolph and the book teach children to accept others who might appear different from themselves.

"Rudolph's visit helped the children realize that we all have feelings and self-worth regardless of how we may look or appear to others," said Elaine Kolos, a third-grade teacher at McIntyre.

Last week, Fishman and Rudolph dropped in on more than 60 third-graders at the school.

"The kids love Rudolph and he loves the children," Fishman said. "They swoon over him and can't understand why adults would think he is ugly!"

Many asked thoughtful questions, like "Why is Rudolph blind?" "How is it different for you to have Rudolph compared to other dogs?" "Can you leave Rudolph alone in the house?" and "How does Rudolph play if he is blind and deaf?"

Fishman patiently answered each one, stressing that while Rudolph has special challenges, he has as normal a life as possible, just with a few changes.

"Rudolph is spreading a great message," Fishman says. "I will never forget what one child said to me last year, after he hugged Rudolph-- 'I am going to tell my mommy that I want a deaf and blind dog, too.' "

Evva Hepner, a retired social worker from the school, said Rudolph and the book helped to generate positive discussions about the differences among people."Hopefully they have become more sensitive to people with challenges," she said.

National Canine Cancer Foundation


Mango said...

Our little basset hound was deaf and she got along just fine. Dogs don't know they are handicapped. They just exist. If only we could do the same.

Mango Momma

Cocorue said...

thankQ for sharing such an inspirational story. we can learn so much from animals if our hearts are willing.

coco's mumster, lilian

Ms. ~K said...

You should change the name of your blog to: INSPIRE!!!
I always leave here w/ a warm place in my heart. Thank you,

Life With Dogs said...

We had a deaf Border Collie, and this post is right on. We have met so many happy dogs with disabilities. Thanks for a great Monday read! :)

Samantha said...

Dearest Mimi,
I am coming back later, as rushing to work, but that blog was unfinished and I couldn't get it off the screen! It's Sam's first blogaversary!!! I look forward to reading all about what you've written here!
Hugs xo
And huge thanks again for adding some cute and also important things to sidebar! Huge hugs! I agree about Ann, but you are a grand piece of work yourself, my friend!!! Thanks xoxoxox

JackDaddy said...

There is a special reward for peoples who take care of animals with disabilities - and I think it comes from the animal itself!

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Mom's furt Sibe Taltia was blind fur the last few years of her life
AND right now there is khurrently a 3 month old profoundly deaf Sibe pup tweaking all the hearts on SiberNet -

We don't know our limitations - hoomans tend to be more khoncerned thann we are!

Tank woo fur sharing this one!

PeeEssWoo: Sorry I made your mom get all tingly with The Ten Speeds and their beaWOOOOtiful mom!

Ginger Jasper said...

That is so beatiful. What inspiration to us all..Mum had a spaniel that was blind in later life, she was fine for several years and then went deaf when she was very old. Twinkle was still ok for another two years, they just adapted and kept on the lead all the time they were out. HUgs GJ x

Alex93andme said...

What a wonderful story. I had a Cocker Spaniel that I recused years ago..he was 8 years old and went blind and then deaf but lived to be a happy 16. He never seemed to know he was handicapped at all. He just enjoyed life!

Benny and Lily said...

Cool story...
Benny & Lily

Teddy Bear said...

Such a cool story.:) Thank you for always sharing such inspiring stories with us.

Teddy Bear

caboval said...

What a heartwarming story!!! They need love too!!! Thank you so much for helping me with my blog!!!! Hugs Joey and Kealani

The OP Pack said...

We had a cockapoo once who had lost both eyes to glaucoma. He did very well in a house with three other dogs for years. It was only after we moved to a new home that he struggled. But Mom became his eyes for a long time before he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story about Rudolph.

Woos, the OP Pack

Samantha said...

A super, super story, Mimi - thanks for posting such great "teaching" tales. I've learned a bit about deaf OR blind dogs through some blog pals, but not about a dog who is both deaf and blind. Extraordinary - what a wonderful teacher and person. Heartwarming story.
Thanks so much for (again!)fixing up the blog some!!! Love the Santa clock and... HOW does one change links into one or two words??? I've tried and tried to figure it out, but fail each time!
Hugs xo (and thanks from Mom too)

Jake of Florida said...

Sad to say, we just discovered your blog when we were addressing Christmas cards and wanted to see who you were as we wrote out your names. Your posts are just so beautiful -- and true -- and compelling.

We are so happy for Mitzy -- and for any dog who is lucky enough to be in your family!! We're just sorry it took us so long to find you!

Wirey woofs to say hello!

Jake and Just Harry

Pipa said...

Dear friends, what a wonderful story.
Thank you so much for sharing!



Emma Rose said...

Wonderful story. Dogs are amazing creatures.


I love stories like this! Thanks so much for telling it.

hOpe you have a wonderful week!

Luv ya,
Riley and Star.

happy said...

What an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing it!

Tweedles -- that's me said...

This wonderful story reminds me to my friends Coco - who is blind and Penny- who just got diagnosed with SARD, sudden blindness.
I was so sad for them. But my friends said not to feel sorry for them- cause they have a happy loving home- and are just find.
Doggies with courage help me and my mom to be brave in this scary world.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful love story,

Canine Crusader said...

Chloe is the only one of our five that wasn't discarded. Darlin' was dumped or left behind to liveon the streets. Her Christmas story is up if you get a chance to read it. Sometimes lifes biggest joys comes from he things we least expect. Great story, so happy for Mitzy!