After being homeless for nearly 200 days, this blind and deaf dog is finally adopted into a family that understands his special needs.
Ernie was born deaf and nearly blind on a farm in Texas. His owner feared that farm life would be too dangerous for a disabled puppy, so he surrendered him to a shelter where, between there and Texas Humane Heroes, he spent the first 200 days of his young life.
It may have seemed like a long time to wait for the perfect forever home. But some good things are worth the wait. While Ernie was in the shelter, the perfect family was forming and would one day come for him.
In the meantime, Steve, the son of a Korean war veteran was wrapping up his service in the military. He had served in the National Guard and was on active duty as an anti-tank infantryman for 10 years and was deployed to the Middle East during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his course of duty, Steve was injured by an IUD, hence why he was eventually transferred to military intelligence.
During his career, like many soldiers, Steve fell in love and got married. Soon after, the couple became foster parents to two brothers, Nathan, and Cole. Nathan suffers from Coats Disease, a retinal problem that led to blindness in his left eye since birth and both boys have autism spectrum disorder.
Because of Steve’s military career and subsequent lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, he had empathy for the challenges his boys faced. He understood their special needs and eventually adopted them.
After Steve’s retirement, the family moved to central Texas but eventually, the couple divorced. Steve now faced loneliness and decided that it was time to get a dog, which he had also promised his boys.
Steve started searching for the perfect pet, but it didn’t happen overnight. In the meantime, he worked and loved to help soldiers. But eventually, his search led to Ernie. His heart went out to Ernie and the two became friends. Once Steve learned Ernie had spent nearly 200 days in the shelter, he adopted Ernie and renamed him Private.
He has spent a lot of time helping Private acclimate to his new home and understood him well. He soon learned how to communicate with the pup. “I snap my fingers when I want to get his attention and that usually works.” Steve explains, “Or if he’s near something I can touch, he responds to the vibrations.”
Private also has a great way of getting Steve’s attention. “He loves to be stroked. His favorite place is just under the chin, where the nose meets the neck. He loves to be stroked there.” says Steve. “If I stop petting him, he wants more with his paws. It’s like he’s saying, how dare you stop?”
Steve and Private are now best buddies. Private is obsessed with car rides and even though he’s blind, enjoys looking out the door. Private also loves the boys and they are very gentle with him, understanding his special needs.
We hope this sweet rescue story warms your heart. Private may have had a long wait, but his new family thinks he’s a rock star and adore him. Please feel free to share with your friends.