It is not uncommon for someone who is blind to have a Seeing Eye dog help compensate for their sight, but have you ever head of a Seeing Eye human help a blind dog?
This is exactly what Edward Goodman, founder of Tootsie’s Vision, a non-profit that helps find homes for blind dogs, does on a daily basis.
Goodwin said he fell into helping blind dogs find homes after he had a heartwarming experience with a blind shepherd mix named Tootsie six years ago.
“I had been notified that a dog had been abandoned on our street in Corrales and that she was wandering back and forth,” Goodwin said. “It turned out she was blind and someone just wanted to get rid of her by just dumping her on the street.”
Not long after that, Goodman found out she’d ended up at Corrales Animal Control.
“I went down to see her, not sure that we could handle a blind dog, because I had four dogs already,” Goodman said. “I thought like everybody else that a blind dog is helpless and needs you to be there 24/7.”
Goodman said after he picked the dog up, he named her Tootsie and learned quickly that she could take care of herself.
“She was able to bump into a wall, back up and keep on going,” he said. “She never gave up, she never stopped learning, she never stopped trying and she loved to play.”
Goodman said Tootsie got along great with his other dogs and was an inspiration to him because of how tenacious she was.
“She eventually was diagnosed with cancer,” Goodman said solemnly. “She died in my arms at home.”
Soon after Tootsie’s passing, Goodman created Tootsie’s Vision.
“People don’t realize that blind dogs are great and can be viable companions,” he said. “I wanted to help spread this awareness and possibly save some lives.”
Goodman said he’s been able to adopt out nearly 200 blind dogs to people willing to train them since he began Tootsie’s Vision six years ago.
“It started out with Facebook,” he said. “We spread the word and then we would see postings from other people that there was blind dog here or there. So we would follow up and see if there was blind dog, say in Phoenix at a shelter. We would try and get that dog here.”
Goodman said he has made pacts with several surrounding local shelters to contact him in the event they get a blind dog.
“Now they know, as soon as they get a blind dog, to call me,” he said. “I have people from all over the country calling me now about blind dogs.”
Goodman now incorporates an official dog named Woody that he takes with him to events and schools to show how great having a blind dog can be.
“He (Woody) was about an hour away from being euthanized when I called the shelter he was at and told them I would take him,” Goodman said.
Woody, a gray Australian Shepherd, loves to play and loves to be around people, Goodman said.
“I take him to an open space like the park and I let go of the leash quite a bit so he can feel the freedom of running around,” he said. “I can’t even imagine how many dogs like him have been put to sleep simply because society deems them too much to handle.”
Goodman says he has 13 dogs in foster care, waiting to find loving homes.
“It’s not expensive, the adoption process, and I don’t go overboard with home visits and that kind of thing,” Goodman said. “All I look for is someone who can genuinely care for a blind dog.”
For more information on Tootsie’s Vision, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 440-3208.