XENIA, Ohio — Pirate is unique to the typical impression associated with the words: ‘service dog.’ Like several hundred 4 Paws clients, he too is disabled, but that isn’t going to stop him from lending a paw to help others.
Pirate, a Papillon puppy, was born April 16 to a single-puppy litter.
A lone puppy, he is perfectly marked with brown and black on his head, amidst the pure, fluffy, white fur covering the rest of his tiny body. As like all puppies, Pirate was born with his eyes closed. Over the next seven days, one small, brown eye opened a little at a time, until finally, it slowly peeled open. He eagerly began looking, bright-eyed at his new world surrounding him. But he did so with one eye.
His left eye stayed closed—never opening.
“When a Facebook friend told me about a little Papillon born with only one eye, I immediately knew he belonged at 4 Paws,” said Karen Shirk, 4 Paws for Ability executive director.
“Pirate is a delightful, young Papillon, full of curiosity and quite confident in his approach to the world around him.”
Watching the petite pup frolic and jump with his foster sisters, Glimmer and Flame, you’d never know anything was missing and he doesn’t seem to realize that he is suppose to have two eyes.
After contemplating how to best utilize this amazing little canine, Pirate’s owner, Bonnie Kost, decided on reaching out to 4 Paws for Ability in hopes her imperfect puppy could help someone else. So that’s how Pirate, came to be part of the 196 service dogs currently in-training at 4 Paws—and eventually part of the more than 650 placed service dogs.
“Papillons are brilliant, so I expect him to excel in his training and they will evaluate him to find the best fit for him in his life of service,” said Kost. “He will have a job, a very important job. And most important, he is going to be very valuable to his person—not in terms of dollars, but in terms of making his person’s life easier and safer.”
Before he can begin saving lives, he will be undergoing surgery next week. He will have his congenital ophthalmic defect repaired—the vet will remove his tiny, blind eye and the tissue surrounding it; then sew it closed, preventing infection.
The cost is approximately $2,500. And that’s where dog lovers from all over come into play! 4 Paws needs to raise the money for his surgery—a surgery to help him become someone’s furry hero. (Click here to donate.)
While he may have only one eye, Pirate is going to use his other senses to assist someone else with a disability. Once healed, the Papillon will be trained as a diabetic alert dog, a seizure dog or a hearing ear dog.
“I thought, a service dog doing alert work does not need two eyes and it is possible that having only one eye could mean his other senses could be even more heightened. It was, in my opinion, meant to be,” said Shirk.
4 Paws for Ability | www.4PawsForAbility.org | Twitter@4PawsForAbility