SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Louis, a blind 3-year-old Labrador-shepherd mix who captured hearts around the globe this week, is going home to a loving family.
In December 2020, Louis was brought to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego County after his previous owners removed his eyes because of an eye infection and found they couldn't care for him anymore. Louis was also hit by a car sometime around January 2020 and suffered a broken leg that never healed properly, the animal rescue said.
Now, on the mend from a broken leg and learning more about how to navigate the world while blind, a new family has been selected by the rescue to bring Louis the love and care he so badly needs.
Steve Walker, a Marine veteran who began to lose his vision at 18 due to an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa, has gone on to compete in marathons, triathlons, and Ironman competitions. He said he and his wife and daughter didn't plan on adopting a dog, but after hearing Louis' story they knew they could help.
Walker said his Los Angeles-area house is already outfitted to help him and will work just as well to help Louis navigate safely.
"We were laughing as we were reading on the internet on how to help out a blind dog, and it was pretty much the same thing as for a blind person," Walker said.
Walker said they've removed almost all of the doors in the house and have very few pieces of furniture in their one-story home.
"I think he's going to pick up on that and I think he's going to benefit from a lot of the changes we've already made to the house. So we're really excited about seeing him adapt to our home and our family, and seeing him flourish really," Walker added.
Walker said the family has another rescue dog, named "Dragon," and they look forward to the two dogs getting to know one another.
"We're really excited about the future," he said.
Helen Woodward says the center received calls and applications from 35 different U.S. states, and from Canada and Mexico. Nearly $25,000 was also donated in honor of Louis and animals like him.
Thanks to the generosity of those who heard Louis' story, the family will also have adoption expenses and a year of veterinarian costs covered, and receive 10 training sessions from San Diego Pet Training and a $500 Petco gift card.
This article was written by Mark Saunders for KGTV.