Blind rescue puppy captures hearts in new foster home

Editor’s note: This story contains images that some readers may find disturbing. 

Luca, a puppy guessed to be less than one year old, was found by a farmer in a rural community. He was very skinny with severe damage to his eye from an altercation with a porcupine. He was immediately rushed to a 24-hour vet clinic.

Rachel Droege, a Regina resident, received a call from CC RezQs, looking for a medical case emergency placement.

“Luca was in pretty bad shape. He had been quilled pretty heavily and the quills had been in for quite a while, so he was pretty infected and kind of missing his eye, it was like a big milky hole,” Droege explained.

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Stephanie Senger, foster and adoption coordinator for CC RezQ’s, says it is unfortunately very common in rural communities for dogs to quilled by porcupines.

“Six days after Luca, we acquired four more emergency quill dogs. Same thing — they had thousands through their face, in their mouths.”

Ready to welcome another foster dog, Droege picked up Luca on Thanksgiving Monday and a few days later he went for an enucleation, effectively removing his infected eye.

Luca is currently relaxing in recovery with his new foster family and successfully healing. It is unknown whether Luca will be completely blind for the remainder of his life or if he will regain some sight in the future.

“I’m not a vet so I can’t really say, but we are pretty sure that the infection that was in his eye that was impacted was so bad it actually seeped into his other optical nerve, so he may or may not get vision back. As of right now, it seems to us that he cannot see at all.”

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Vets have guessed that he has five to 10 per cent vision in his remaining eye, allowing for minimal light recognition.

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Luca is learning how to walk on a leash and play with Droege’s other dogs without his vision and is adapting to life extremely well.

“It’s really nice to see a dog come into care who really needed it, especially in a time when most of the rescues in the province are at max capacity.”

Senger said blind dogs like Luca, or dogs with medical histories like his, are more difficult to advertise for adoption.

“It’s sort of about the lifestyle that you are willing to accommodate,” Senger said.

“Luca is very willing to try to work his way around whatever situation he is put in, but I would say it will be more challenging than a healthy, no medical issue, fully seeing dog because you have to be willing to adjust your lifestyle a little bit for a dog like that.”

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“From what we were told, he wasn’t cared for, but he loves people,” Senger continued. “He will sit on his foster’s lap all day if she will let him. He’s been through so much that it’s kind of insane that he just wants to be a dog.”

“The resiliency of a young dog who almost died is what makes it all worth it for us — the medical bills, the constant trips to the vet, the length of time he will be in a foster home will be worth it. He’s truly such a wonderful boy.”

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“Someone is going to be very lucky, blind or not, to have a dog like Luca.”

Luca will be available for adoption once he is medically cleared.

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