Ellis- The Life of a Blind Dog

“His name at the time was Chubby Hubby, as in the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and he was blind,” explains Dillon McNeil with a smile- reminiscing about the first time he saw his beloved yellow lab. Fortunately for the pup, the McNeil family renamed him Ellis, a name they deemed much more fitting for the friendly canine. When the five year old mutt moseyed into Dillon’s life by way of the Milwaukie dog shelter “Family Dogs New Life,” there was no way of knowing what a cool and loving presence Ellis was going to for years to come.  

I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Ellis on a drive down to Eugene last weekend: as we watched his owner and my long-time family friend, Dillon, play linebacker for the Rams in the second round of the playoffs against Sheldon. On the trip, Ellis required little attention as he sat on a blanket in the back of the Suburban, happily snacking on one of his favorite treats, rice cakes.

As a blind dog, Ellis has an acute sense of smell and hearing which help him safely manage his world but that’s not without the occasional bump or bruise. Dillon explains that as a courtesy to their elder four legged friend, things in the house such as sofas and chairs have stayed remained unchanged over the years. This practice has allowed for Ellis to memorize the paths of least resistance making his day to day activities, such as lounging and heading to his food dish easier.  

He’s a normal dog, he loves a good pet and attention from the humans he trusts. His milky blue-grey eyes (courtesy of severe cataracts) are a unique feature that his family has grown to love. His family does their part to help him, carrying him from place to place when there are too many obstacles for a blind pet to maneuver. “He’s a real straight shooter,” Dillon smiled, “just a solid dog.”

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November is “Adopt a Senior Pet Awareness Month.” Thousands of dogs die globally every year from abuse, neglect, and euthanasia practices. Taking in an older animal or one with disabilities is an extremely rewarding experience. They will appreciate you for your love and compassion and will love your hugs and affection while they stand loyally by the people who saved them. Remember to consider rescue adoption when picking your next fluffy friend!

Oregon Animal Adoption Organizations