By South OB Girl
One of the first things people may notice about Sabrina when she is on a walk around her new neighborhood is her smile. And when you hear her story it is almost a surprise she can still smile.
Sabrina recently was adopted into a new home near Sunset Cliffs. It can be hard for animal rescue organizations to find homes for senior dogs. And even harder to find homes for dogs with special needs. Sabrina is a senior dog with special needs.
Her owner (who wishes to stay anonymous) is providing as much love and care as humanly possible for the 10 and half year old Sabrina, who had both eyes surgically removed in June of 2016 because of extremely painful glaucoma.
Sabrina was turned in to a kennel by her former owner in San Bernardino on in mid-June 2016. She was calm and friendly at the kennel despite being blind from ocular disease and having lived outside, day and night, for her whole life. Only 4 days later on June 21, San Diego Lab Rescuers took her to a San Diego County vet where she underwent enucleation (eye removal).
When volunteers with Labrador Rescuers of San Diego spotted senior girl Sabrina she had tears running down her cheeks from painful eyes.
The Board of Directors gave an immediate thumbs up to rescue her, not knowing if she could be helped. An eye specialist recommended removal of both eyes. The removal of her eyes was a better option than having her live with the condition and live in extreme pain.
When Sabrina went to her foster family she was in a bad state. She was in terrible pain and she was terribly depressed. It took weeks for her to tolerate being touched and even longer before she wagged her tail. The volunteer rescuers and foster family were nearly shocked by Sabrina’s transformation and described her transformation as “nothing short of miraculous.”
Her foster family worked with her after the surgery, developing her trust and helping her to adapt. Her foster family slept on the floor with her when she was afraid and in pain while recovering from the surgery. For most of her life she could see. So now as she recovers she is using her other senses — listening, smelling, and feeling.
As so often happens with many animals — she has been resilient. She is adapting to her new condition. Like a dog who loses a leg in a car accident — but continues to play and run as fast as it ever ran before. Sabrina is adapting and learning her way around her new home. She is bumping into walls as she walks around but that helps her know where she is. Being a senior dog she does sleep a lot, but she often enjoys a walk in her new neighborhood and she’ll pick up to a trot as she goes on her walk sometimes.
Her doting owner has put a dog bed in each room and that provides comfort to Sabrina as she learns her way around. And she puts each bed, and her beautiful large yard to use.
The loss of both her eyes is not the first tragedy for Sabrina. For her entire life she lived completely outdoors. Labradors are pack dogs and enjoy being social. Her life outdoors was not the ideal or natural environment for this domesticated pooch.
And now as Sabrina gets showered with care and love from her new owner and her friends and neighbors — she is soaking it up. Some animals might be afraid and timid or act aggressively having gone through so much. But Sabrina is enjoying her new family.
When she’s feeling nervous she likes for people to be eye-level with her so she can bury her head in their body while they pet and hug her. She is comforted if a person reaches down and pats her back, and she is comforted hearing and feeling her owner walking by her side. Hearing and feeling her owner walking by her side lets her know which way her owner went and orients her a little better. She likes for people to be around. She never barks. She likes to lay in the sunshine, listen to the birds and parrots sing, and feel the breeze out in her yard or on her walks. She is adapting to her situation and coming out with a smile.
We can all have much gratitude for the various animal rescue groups throughout San Diego and the country that work tirelessly to provide healthcare and homes for homeless pets, and Sabrina can most certainly be an inspiration to us all. She has lived through tragedy, she continues to smile, and we can all be reminded by her story to count our blessings.