This is Keller and the inspiration behind Keller's Cause.
Keller is a double merle Australian Shepherd. She was born completely deaf and vision impaired. At 5 weeks old she was going to be shot because of her 100% preventable disabilties. Thankfully, a local woman stepped in and saved her life.
Bringing Keller home was random and terrifying and wonderful all wrapped into one.
Keller has inspired me and truly helped me find my passion.
I had been searching for another puppy for a while. I contacted breeders and I knew exaclty what I wanted. Then I saw a photo and my life changed forever. The photo was a little white puppy that needed a home. I was head over heels within a minute of seeing that photo and immediately inquired. I had very quickly decided that this puppy had to be mine and it had to happen as soon as possible.
About 2 weeks after Keller was saved, she came to live with me. I had no idea what I was doing and I was often faced with people asking why I would want a deaf and vision impaired dog, and I didn't really have an answer. I didn't really know what I was going to do with this dog, I just loved her and that seemed enough. Little did I know, this puppy was going to change my life and the life of so many others.
It's been an bumpy ride, but with Keller, and my other wonderful dog, Kai, we've created Keller's Cause.
As you've probably read, these dogs are completely preventable. However, with Keller's Cause, we want to advocate for them.
Keller has truly shown me that these dogs are capable of doing anything. She knows all of her commands through hand and touch signals, about 25 of them currently. Keller does agility just like any other dog. She loves to hike and she loves to swim, both off leash.
A double merle may be different than the average dog, but they should be treated just the same. The only thing that should be done differently is your way of communcation. Be creative and always keep things fun. Your dog is capable of learning anything.
Just look at Keller. The odds were stacked against her and now she lives an amazing life. Not all of them are this lucky and they need our help to break down the walls, tear away the apprehensions, and debunk the myths surrounding them.
To most people a special needs dog is terrifying, and I won't say that I wasn't scared, but they are amazing. They need people to stand up for them, to speak for them, and to educate about them.
So here we are and Keller's Cause has become a reailty. We have some big plans for this organizations and we have even bigger plans for what we can do to help double merles.
So far, we've made a ton of friends, met a lot of people, and helped save the lives of some in need dogs.
It all starts with education.
"The handicap of deafness is not in the ear; it is in the mind."
-Written by Keller's Ma/Amanda
Braille came in to my life and filled a void I didn't even know I had. I wasn't really looking to add a second dog, and never thought I'd end up with a deaf and blind dog. I drove three hours to meet him... only to meet him, and I left that day with him in my arms, knowing I could never let him leave.
Braille was originally listed as "Free" on Craigslist, with very little indication as to his exact situation. He was rescued by some amazing women, who did their best to educate his breeder on what she had done.
A long series of events, a handful of foster homes, and Braille was transported to Speak! For The Unspoken, an amazing rescue in Ohio.
Upon meeting Braille, most people don't even immediately realize he is different than other dogs. I can't even describe his amazing spirit. He lives his life in a state of complete happiness. He is full of joy, and falls in love with everything and everyone he meets. I am forever grateful of his attitude, because he knows nothing else. The reality of the situation is that there are indeed struggles that come along with having a special needs dog, but he makes everything worth it in the end. And although he has no idea, there are things in this world he will never experience. I would never have chosen this life for my dog, but someone else did.
I am truly honored that we are able to be a part of Keller's Cause. There is nothing remotely unique about Braille, and his story isn't particularly special. That is partly why this cause is so important to us. Braille isn't unique, but he's lucky. He's lucky to live in a home where he is loved, and understood, and is able to flourish. Too many double merles are being brought into the world because of ignorant people that either don't know, or don't care about rolling the genetic dice on innocent dogs.
We can't wait to see where this cause goes, and we are beyond thrilled to be along for the ride.