Sometimes all you need to face your fear is a good friend by your side. That’s the lesson Alexa Fiala learned when she decided to bring a second dog into her home.
As a veterinarian, Fiala didn’t hesitate when a breeder told her there was a blind puppy in need of a family. The breeder couldn’t sell the dog due to her disability, and Fiala agreed to welcome the blind dog named Dunder into the family.
Dunder was her first special-needs pet, and she did everything she could to help the pup live a good life. Dunder was extremely shy and fearful of nearly everything. She’d never known a world where she could see, but learning to navigate life was proving to be an insurmountable challenge. The little dog’s confidence suffered with each step she took. She was afraid to run too fast and uncomfortable with all new things. Her quality of life was poor, but Fiala was determined to make a difference.
The first revelation in Dunder’s transformation was recognizing the value of audible toys. Once Fiala introduced bells, squeakers, and crinkle toys, Dunder found her inner puppy. Fiala watched in amazement as the blind dog happily played with the noisy toys. She started incorporating other training methods specific to helping blind dogs, and Dunder gradually came out of her shell.
She was making improvements, but Fiala thought she could do better. When Dunder’s old breeder contacted her again about a second special needs pup, Fiala got an idea. Friendship is a powerful force, and Fiala thought introducing Dunder to a new sibling would help the little dog build confidence. She hoped for progress, and she wasn’t disappointed.
Taking on a second special needs dog wasn’t an easy decision, but Fiala is glad she made it. Her second dog, Darby, has a disorder that causes serious eating problems. The dog’s esophagus is too big, and she requires special care to ensure she gets the nutrients she needs. When Darby met Dunder, it was friendship at first sight.
Not only is Darby the perfect playmate for Dunder, she’s the confidence boost the blind dog needed all along. Instead of being afraid in uncomfortable situations, Dunder now takes her cues from Darby. Darby leads the way, and Dunder knows where to go and how to act based on what Darby does. They go everywhere together, and Dunder’s struggles evaporate with Darby’s helpful guidance.
Since Fiala adopted the second dog, people can’t believe that Dunder is blind. She runs at full speed, wrestles with her sister, begs for treats, and does tricks. She does everything with the utmost confidence, and it isn’t until she runs into the occasional tree that people realize she has a disability.
Fiala doesn’t think Dunder knows she’s different. She sneaks toys away from Darby as quietly as she can, and it’s as if she doesn’t realize Darby can see. Their disabilities are different, but for the two dogs, the only thing that matters is how they’re the same. They’re two happy dogs with a lot of love to give and a friendship built on mutual trust, support, and enduring faith in each other.
Featured image via Instagram/DundertheDog