We’ve all heard the phrase “adopt, don’t shop” because we know good breeders are hard to find. As we humans have technology doing more and more for us, we’ve gone from breeding dogs for jobs to breeding them for appearances. But as we do this, we’ve caused them to have all kinds of problems. They look cute, but even just breathing or eating can be difficult for them.
One of the more severe outcomes of irresponsible breeding is a double-merle. When a breeder is breeding two merle parents together for merle pups, there is a one-in-four chance that a pup will be born with a white coat. Along with that coat can come several disabilities. These pups are considered unsellable and are often dumped or killed very young by breeders who only see a broken product.
Moxie was one of the lucky ones. She escaped the grim fate typical for dogs like her and managed to find a family who loves her.
Bred in Merritt, British Columbia, Moxie was the product of irresponsible breeding. Born blind and deaf, she was taken to the local Humane Society, which had neither the experience nor resources to care for her. They reached out to the Victoria Humane Society, who immediately arranged to have her transferred to their location, where they were better equipped to handle it.
That’s where she found her family. “When we saw the pictures on VHS we immediately fell in love with the little white fluff ball,” says Michelle Overhill. “We knew our home would be perfect for Moxie, based on the description of what they were looking for.”
Michelle and Scott Overhill knew that Moxie would need a lot of time and attention, but with Michelle working from home, and a house that was easy-to-navigate with teenage children, they felt confident that they could give her a comfortable home.
“But most importantly we have Macy. Macy is a 7-year-old Rough Collie with the most incredible patience, the most amazing heart, and she is the most gentle, nurturing, sweet dog you could possibly meet,” says Michelle.
“Animals have an instinct that tells them when another is flawed. Many dogs that met Moxie shied away from her because they knew there was something wrong with her. Macy gave her a gentle sniff, and sort of said ‘you’re ok, I like you,’ and we instantly knew they would be good together. Over the last 6 months Moxie and Macy have become the best of friends. Moxie now had a stable family, and she had another pup to show her the ropes, and teach her how to be a dog.”
Moxie, a smart pup, is fairly independent. As Michelle says, she has no idea she’s different from other dogs!
“Moxie gets by at home very well on her own. She has everything in the house mapped out, and rarely bumps into anything. When she does she just turns herself, and keeps going… It was very important to us that Moxie grew up leading as close to a normal dog life as possible, while obviously making sure she didn’t get injured. The result is a happy, confident dog that does not understand she should be worried about getting hurt. She is adventurous, approachable, she doesn’t startle or get scared when she tries new things, or meets new people.”
That’s not to say that there weren’t some challenges.
“The difficult parts came with stuff that the average dog takes for granted. Going up and down the stairs for example. She was absolutely terrified of going down the stairs in the beginning. We did a few modifications – or ‘Moxifications’ as we call them, such as running a strip of roofing shingles at the edge of the deck for a tactile way of showing her where the deck ended and the stairs began. It worked beautifully, and gave her a bit more confidence going up and down the stairs. We have other slight modifications around the home such as a grate in front of the gas fireplace so that she doesn’t accidentally touch it. Really very little had to be changed though, she just adapted far better than we ever imagined she would.”
Moxie’s family has been extremely supportive of her. Although they understand that she’s different, they know she still needs the same things any other dog needs, and with love and patience, they have found ways that work for her.
“Because Moxie is Border Collie / Aussie Shephard, she is high energy. Moxie and Macy play and roughhouse at night, helping us to burn off that energy. Moxie has little interest in going for walks because she can’t see anything, and she can’t hear anything. To her it’s not super exciting. 10 or 15 minutes in and she’s done, so we don’t have that method of burning off her Collie energy. We also can’t just throw a ball for her in the yard.”
“She has an incredible nose, so we spend a good deal of time [letting] her just track us (it’s like playing hide and seek), and playing any other games that stimulate her mentally.”
This sweet girl has found where she belongs in this world with a family who is perfect for her, and a home where she fits. But there are more dogs like Moxie born every day, and few are so lucky. So again – adopt, and next time you do, consider whether you can give a dog as special as Moxie a happy life too!
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