It was eleven years ago October 31st that Boo joined our family.
There was no way we could tell that this little black and white ball of fur we saw in a stripmall fly-by-night pet store would turn into the incredible dog he did.
His mother was probably ill while pregnant, which left him with cerebellar hypoplasia – a disorder which is caused by the cerebellum not being mature at birth – that was immediately apparent in his jerky, stiff movements and overall lack of coordination. His other symptoms gradually made themselves known as it was clear that he was partially deaf, progressively lost his eyesight, and suffered from a number of cognitive disabilities.
Despite all of those hurdles, he was was able to trooper his way through training and eventually passed his Delta Society evaluation to begin his career doing therapy work.
There he was: a small puppy thrown away in front of a pet store, who could barely stand or walk and who would take over a year to housetrain, but he was the one who gave a family their son back and made national news doing it.
As much as we love him, he’s also a powerful reminder that we can’t overestimate an animal’s ability to exceed our expectations (or prejudices) based on their origins or pedigrees. Every dog, whether they’re from a shelter, breeder, or a stray has within them the same potential to shine.
(Editorial Note – I had intended on posting this on Halloween, but that little bit of snow we had left us without power until just recently.)