Monday 23 August is International Blind Dog Day.
The event was started by Instagram star Shammy (@blindshammyjrt) and is all about bringing together the owners of blind and partially sighted dogs from across the world, to celebrate the amazing things that they can do.
This year marks the 5th year that the event has been celebrated to raise awareness so we interviewed creator Sarah Horne about why she created the day and about her dog Shammy.
TELL US ABOUT INTERNATIONAL BLIND DOG DAY AND WHY YOU CAME TO START IT?
It was coming up to our second anniversary and I thought it would be lovely to take part in an international blind dog day. I was surprised to find that there wasn’t one, and so I created one to raise awareness of blind dogs. A well meaning friend asked me once ‘why get a dog you can’t walk?’ And it made me realise there abilities are widely misunderstood.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO OWNERS OF BLIND OR PARTIALLY SIGHTED DOGS?
Every dog is different and that’s no different with blind dogs. My advise would be to not do everything for them if they can do it themselves. It helps their confidence grow and helps increase their independence. New walks also mean new smells which more so than seeing dogs helps stimulate them. Just be patient as in general they take a lot longer to do everyday things!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSIDERING ADOPTING A BLIND OR PARTIALLY SIGHTED DOG?
Keep in mind that they are different... in many ways a much bigger responsibility than a seeing dog. For instance I’ve not been abroad in 6 years as Sham will not stay overnight any there without me. They are in many ways easier than a seeing dog, and the bond you share will be extra special. Like all dogs, make sure you understand their individual personality, no two dogs are the same!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DOG, SHAMMY.
Shammy (actual name Shampoo!) is a grumpy old man! He’s a rescue and approx 14. He’s incredibly handsome and selectively deaf! He loves new toys, particularly fluffy ones as the squeaky ones can scare him!!
He LOVES to go to the pub, and will skip up on all 4 legs and run (for a few seconds at least!!) as he knows he gets treats.
He still loves his daily walk and will harass me if I’m late taking him out! He loves ham and cheese, and is truly my best friend, soul mate and partner in crime.
He hates getting up in the morning, and I have to bribe him with ham. He then had breakfast and goes straight back to bed!
He’s very intuitive, and cuddly and loving, on his terms. He’s my world.