Foster Pet of the Day

Carter, a foster dog available for adoption in CA.
Carter, a foster dog available for adoption in CA.

Submitted by Marji who writes:

Carter is currently living with me in Grass Valley. He is a foster dog of Center for Animal Protection & Education (CAPE) :
PO Box 67176
Scotts Valley, CA 95067-7176

carter aCarter is a 7-yr-old mastiff mix with a big head and bigger heart! He is blind, but that doesn’t deter him from exploring his world with enthusiasm and joy. He was adopted from Palo Alto Animal Services 7 years ago at the age of 4-months. When he was 6, his guardians returned him to the shelter without realizing he was blind. Once they found out, they took him back, keeping him for another year before realizing that caring for two toddlers and a galumphy 75-lb dog was too difficult.

Lucky for Carter, I was excited to foster him! He is a gentle-natured dog who is far easier to care for and more low-maintenance than my 14.5-yr-old 35-lb dog! He knows sit, come, stay, down. He LOVES tennis balls. Sometimes you have to pat the ground next to the tennis ball and he’ll pounce like a puppy! He runs zoomies around the yard and figures out new spaces pretty quickly.

Carter just wants a permanent retirement home, preferably with someone who is home part of the day (he loves his people).

The rescue I am fostering for would probably be willing to transport him out of state, but I’d really love someone who can meet him first…and maybe wouldn’t mind sending me updates about how awesome he is!

He would do best as an only dog, but he might do well with a large, older, VERY tolerant dog. Not many dogs can tolerate it when his nearly 80-lb frame runs into them.

Shirley, I’m really surprised to still have Carter. I guess I knew he’d be more difficult to place but living with him? He’s so easy! I’ve had him for two months and would really just love it if he could find a home where he gets all the attention he deserves.

18 thoughts on “Foster Pet of the Day

  1. Carter! I’ve been following his story since Marji took him on. As the owner of a blind cat, I would snap him up in a heartbeat if I possibly could. He seems like an awesome, awesome dog who deserves an equally awesome forever home.

    If anyone is hesitant over adopting or fostering a blind animal…please don’t be. While it isn’t true that ALL animals adapt IMMEDIATELY to blindness, almost all will adapt amazingly quickly with just a little help. My blind guy can do almost everything a sighted cat can, and if he does run into trouble he’ll find his own way around it. I won’t lie and say he never hits his head, but when he does he just bounces off and runs the other direction!

    Best wishes to both Carter and Marji…I sincerely hope he gets snapped up soon. Marji, if you’re reading it might be worthwhile to post about him to places dedicated for special need pets…I got a number of responses that way before I flunked fostering with my guy.

    1. Thanks so much! If you have any suggestions, please let me know…I think he got posted to a blind dog website (I’m presuming there is more?) but would love to get him out there more.

      And Shirley, thanks for posting! He’s such a normal, happy dog, I just want someone to see that in him.

      1. Unfortunately a lot of the sites I used aren’t around anymore (it would have been almost eight years ago now…I think some of them were on Geocities!)

        I would suggest posting to the Best Friends forums if they still exist…you could both post his information and ask if anyone has good sites for special need animals. On Facebook, you can type in Special Needs Pets and find several groups. There’s also some yahoo mailing lists.

        There’s this page:

        They have links to other sites that are specific for various issues, including blind dog rescues and resources like the Blind Dog Alliance.

        My best advice is to plaster him EVERYWHERE. Just go nuts. The wider you cast your net, the bigger the pool of applicants to shift through…I find that with special need fosters I often get more ‘hits’ then for an ‘normal’ tabby or lab, but less of them are actually qualified. So I end up needing a bigger group of people to choose from.

  2. Really, the ONLY difficulty with blind dogs is that they don’t usually fit comfortably in homes with toddlers. Other than that, it’s all the good karma of having a “special needs” pet, with none of the challenges. I hope Carter finds his retirement home soon.

  3. carter is so beautiful.. and lovable.. is it really possible to return him after keeping him for 6+1 years?? the pet becomes such a part of one’s life.. hard for me to understand..
    he looks such a dear..

    1. I struggled with my feelings on that issue for at least the first month of fostering him! As I watched him navigate his world, I realized how difficult it must have been to be living with a mobile toddler and an infant. Everything would be in constant motion, leaving Carter – who loves stability and stillness – stressed out.

      I can say that I wish they had kept him and provided for him what he deserved for the remainder of his life. But I also understand how difficult it would have been to manage an 80-lb galumph of a dog around a toddler and an infant. Not impossible, but probably not easy-breezy either.

      And while I do have mixed emotions (I can’t wrap my mind around giving up a dog after 7 years), the shelter who took him back did their job right by finding him a rescue after it became obvious visitors to the shelter were not interested in him. He is safe and that is all that matters, at the end of the day. :)

      1. It’s not just the owners it’s hard on, to have a blind dog with a toddler and a mobile infant. It is stressful for THE DOG. I have a blind foster dog right now, and he’s with me in part because another foster home, with a toddler who is, I swear to you, the Dog Whisperer among toddlers, was still a toddler and just couldn’t help doing things that were stressful and confusing for a blind dog. It’s a bad combination, and no amount of “dogs are for life” moralizing will make it a good experience for the dog.

      2. I am intrigued to hear more about the Dog Whisperer among toddlers.

        On Sat, May 25, 2013 at 11:45 AM, YesBiscuit!

      3. So true carter is safe because a loving soul Marji fosters him.. else he may be killed as he may not get adopted easily at the shelter..
        Lis, while what you say may be true to a certain extent, i believe that if given some thought, the situation could be handled without giving up the poor boy.. come on, people shake up the earth’s foundations to find solutions for problems they or their family face.. in my opinion, they could at-least have found him a home with friends for some time instead of turning him over to the shelter where the chances are not bright for his adoption..
        by the way, i do totally maintain ” that dogs are for life” … that’s nor moralizing but a way of life and honoring the commitments we have for the beings who we love and who are dependent on us.. i cannot believe otherwise..

      4. Dogs are for life. Life sometimes gets complicated and messy and throws curve balls and makes it impossible or unkind to keep a dog for life. Not everyone has the ability to responsibly rehome a pet in whatever amount of time has been allocated to them for that task. That’s one of the reasons we have shelters. If we demonize people who need to surrender their pets, they will find alternatives where they can escape our judgement. And we won’t like those alternatives.

        On Sat, May 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM, YesBiscuit!

      5. Emily is about three and a half, and she is utterly wonderful with dogs. She knows not to move quickly, make sudden movements, speak in a high or excited voice. She speaks softly, lets dogs approach her until they know her and are comfortable with her coming to them. She’s always gentle. Her direct interactions with Corky were fantastic.

        But she’s still a toddler, and she doesn’t understand that things she does that don’t involve the dog, affect the dog. She leaves her toys around. She drives her peddlecar around the house. She DOES run and scream when there’s another child over for a playdate.

        And that made Corky’s physical environment unpredictable and stressful for him. Her mom did her best to keep things under control, but a normal toddler, even a wonderful one, being allowed to act like a normal, healthy toddler, is not good for a dog who relies on a mental map of his physical environment, and discovers things are out of place by walking into them.

        I cannot imagine a toddler, a baby who has become mobile, and a blind dog trying to cope with that. No matter how careful the parents try to be, if they want their kids to be able to behave and develop normally.

        You don’t know that there was anyone in their circle of family and friends who could have taken Carter and given him a good home. You don’t know what the energy and activity level of these particular kids is.

        Dogs are for life, but that doesn’t make it a kindness or a moral virtue to keep a dog in what has become an unsuitable home for that dog because “dogs are for life.” Part of being responsible dog owners is recognizing when we can no longer give our pets what they need. Shelters should be there to HELP when that happens, and people should not be shamed for making difficult decisions.

      6. i may not understand the scenarios which may make a person surrender their pets.. but they seem to exist and there is no point to question that.. and i don’t..
        all i would say is that if a person brings up a dog for a certain period of time they start loving the funny habits and sweet qualities of their pet.. they show responsibility and care.. now if a situation arises where they do have to give up their pet, the last act of responsibility would be to try to re-home him, for though the shelters are supposed to do this it is common knowledge that many shelters kill them instead.. the chances could be 50-50 that they are re-homed or they die.. again there is no point in questioning this as this practice exists now.. ( though will not exist much longer due to No- Kill progress and the loving American public )..
        i accept that maybe this was the best the guardians of carter could do.. but in my opinion, more could have been done knowing the status quo of shelters at this point..

      7. I think in Carter’s case it would actually have been better for HIM if they had returned him earlier than they did. That’s not to say they didn’t have a responsibility to try and make things work. But with Carter, there was a period of time where things weren’t working but he was still kept in the home, which resulted in an unhappy, stressed dog with low confidence in navigating his environment.

        ‘A pet is for life’ sounds really really good and simple, but there are situations where even a child ‘isn’t for life’…where the greatest gift a parent can give is a safe home if they can’t provide one. Instead of saying a pet is for life, we should be saying the responsibility is for life….and sometimes being responsible means making a really big sacrifice and doing what is best for the animal instead of the owner. .

        If something changed so radically in my home life that my blind cat was left anxious on a constant basis, I would do everything I possibly could to fix things. But if I couldn’t fix it, you can be damn sure I would find him a new home despite the fact that it would absolutely break my heart. It would shatter me, but I would do it for him because that’s the deal I entered into when I brought home….that no matter what, I would put him first.

        I’ve never been impressed when people say they love their pets too much to ‘ever’ give them up. Love is great and all, but it can be really selfish too. Carter’s owners were selfish when they kept him in an environment that left him so anxious he spent most of his time sleeping. When they gave him up, they were making a choice not to be selfish anymore,. I’m sure it was hard for them, and maybe there’s more they could have done, but in the end Carter is in a better place because of that decision. By making no-kill a reality, we can make that happen for every pet whose owners have to make that hard choice.

    2. Just to add…I think it actually is quite possible to have a mobile toddler and a blind dog in a household together. I actually know someone who does. It does require a lot of management and supervision, but it certainly isn’t a complete impossibility. I think it really comes down to the personality of the animal and the toddler though. My blind cat isn’t disturbed if things get left out of place…he just keeps on trucking even if he’s tripping over things along the way. But he’s been blind from a very young age and he’s also SUPER confident (a little too much so, really.) With a dog like Carter, who went blind later in life and who perhaps naturally has less confidence, it’s a whole different ball game. He’s also a larger dog, which adds its own complications…a blind rat terrier who accidentally runs into a toddler isn’t likely to cause much damage, but a big goofball pit could break a bone or cause a concussion if the toddler falls and hits their head. Some toddlers are also more gentle and quieter overall than others, while some are very rambunctious and have less impulse control. So not impossible, but you do have to consider all the factors.

  4. Sharing this awesome boy on FB-Lauka’s View for senior rescues and Taking a Chance on Chance for handicapped pets!

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