When the Wrong Dog is the Right Fit, Part 2

i Apr 9th No Comments by

I asked Sarah to give us an update on Peggy Sue the blind pit bull because in talking to her, I knew many people could learn from the precaution she and Chad took in bringing this special dog into their home.  Introducing dogs to your home can be difficult, but  some forethought and preparation will go a long way to making the transition smooth.  Here’s part 2 of Peggy’s story….


Well we made it official. We adopted Peggy Sue. Chad and I were sitting at dinner the one night and decided we couldn’t part with her. In fact I believe our words were, “She’d have to be pried from our cold

Adoption Day!

Adoption Day!

dead hands.”  So Peggy became Peggy Sue McKillip-Johnson, and we couldn’t be happier.

I’m proud to report that Peggy is doing well and is so amazing. I’m also very proud of Chad and I,as  we’ve stuck to our seven step program for her.

  1. Cover sharp corners, Peggy was going to run into things in the house, how she’s going to learn the lay of the land. (Done! Peggy now has the down stairs mapped out and doesn’t really bump into anything anymore!)
  2. Baby gate a nice size piece of the house to be Peggy’s for the time being. (Peggy has the kitchen and the den, which are connected.)
  3. The three small dogs with never be left alone with Peggy. When Peggy is out and about she’s on leash with one of us holding the other end. We want all introductions to go smoothly. No need to rush anything. Peggy is still a puppy and my other three don’t enjoy a ton of puppy antics. (Peggy spends time in the living room with all of us. She is on a leash. The other three pretty much keep to the couch, which they’ve always done. Peggy loves to lay in her dog bed playing with her toys. When her puppy antics start up, Chad and I take her outside to burn off some energy in the yard.)
  4. Give Peggy a large and comfy crate (we refer to them as condos in my house) with a nice bed inside, toys, pillow and water. A place that’s hers, she can sleep in it, be in there when we’re not home and also take naps in there during the day. Like a human child, she needs a time out and also gives the other dogs a break from her. (She has her condo, and it is HUGE! She has a super sweet bed, blanket, pillow, a few favorite toys, and a small water dish. Peggy is in her crate when we are not home and while we are sleeping at night.) 
  5. Feeding area-totally separate from my other three, and it will always stay this way. Never get complacent. (My other three eat together, and they are pigs. They rotate dishes and “vacuum” the floor for leftover kibble. Peggy has an elevated dish in the den. Because she is bigger than them and can’t see she’ll always eat separately.  Nothing can fuel a dog fight like food, and I’m not saying our dogs would fight, but we are not going to set anyone up for failure.)
  6. Stimulation: We’re getting her enrolled in training, have found lots of fun toys a blind dog can play with, and will give her plenty of exercise! (Peggy is a ball lover! She gets extensive time in the yard with the other three for socialization purposes and she also gets some alone time where she can play like a maniac with Chad and I. She can hear a tennis ball drop from a mile away and she can find it! She’s been going on walks and is doing great on a harness/leash. Peggy also comes to work with me every day at this point as I want to keep her social, and exposed to people. Soon, she’ll start having play dates with dogs her own size and activity level on a regular basis.)
  7. Peggy Sue doesn’t know she’s blind, don’t baby her or be over protective. Let her have fun, let her be a dog, but keep her safe. (This has been the biggest challenge believe it or not. When Peggy runs into something, you can hear a collective gasp come from Chad and I. It takes all we have not to run over to her and hug her and tell her it’s ok, but ten times out of ten when Peggy has run into something, she’s fine. It hurts us more than it hurts her.)

We’ve also done a few other things to keep Peggy safe. Heaven forbid she gets lost, she has a tag that says “Peggy Sue, I’m blind and friendly” with three phone numbers listed. She will start working one-on-one with a trainer soon. I should mention that finding a trainer willing to work with a blind pit bull was a little bit of an uphill battle. No matter how much I told the training facilities that she’s a gentle soul, many were just not interested in helping. But, I am happy to report we found a fantastic trainer and he is excited to get started.

Peggy Kisses:

In my last blog, I shared my Facebook post regarding those that were questioning my decision to bring a

Peggy doing what Peggy does best - giving kisses!

Peggy doing what Peggy does best – giving kisses!

Pit Bull into my home with three small senior dogs. In that post I encouraged people to come and meet her and for $5 donation to the ARL they could kiss Peggy. I expected a few people to show, mostly volunteers. The actual response was overwhelming! In a little under two weeks Peggy has raised almost $500, has met 20 new people, and she’s even had a few repeat customers! She’s still giving kisses if anyone would like to come and meet her.

Peggy’s Next Steps:

Let the training begin! I have big plans for Peggy: obtain her Canine Good Citizen Certification, and in a few years after her puppy shenanigans are over we hope to train her for therapy work. But what’s most important to us is that Peggy starts training now so she can show the world that being a blind dog is ok and being a pit bull doesn’t mean a thing. She’s a loving, smart, funny soul and that’s what we want people to see when they look at Peggy.


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