The day I met Twinkle changed my life forever.
The morning of November 4, 1999, began much the same way as any other work day. I opened the door to the wing of the clinic I was responsible for and was met with a deafening chorus of barks. This lively morning welcome greeted me daily and always made me smile, no matter my mood. Starting my day without it seemed unimaginable. I understand for some, this noise might be an unbearable din; but for me it was pure heaven.
I shuffled the dogs out and placed them in their runs where they continued with their own morning rituals, while I returned inside to my routine chores. I had just begun the most glamorous job of cleaning out an unusually messy kennel when I received the call that changed my life.
A co-worker unexpectedly summoned me to the surgery room. Apparently there was someone I had to meet. I entered the room and spotted my fate, nestled in the arms of another woman on our staff. Barely recognizable as a living creature was an eight-month old male Shih Tzu. My co-worker looked at me and beamed. She was sure she had found “my dog.”
The truth was he found me, and his journey to this moment had not been an easy one. As far as I could see from his appearance, it was a painful route he endured to finally reach his forever home. For us, it began the night before, when he was rescued by a construction worker who found him during a routine walk-through of a condemned and abandoned building. This Good Samaritan scooped him up and took him straight to Animal Control.
On his arrival at the shelter the officers could tell he was in need of immediate medical attention, so they transported him to the Emergency Animal Hospital. A co-worker of mine just happened to be working at the ER that evening and I don’t know why, but when she saw him she thought of me.
There, he was cleaned up, fed, and received the necessary medical procedures he required to assure he was stable. She took him home with her that night. I say I don’t know why she thought of me, because I had never had a dog of my own before, and though I was actively looking for a small dog to share my life with, it would never have occurred to me to seek out one with special needs. Nevertheless, there they both stood—my co-worker and the dog that was about to change my life.
Twinkle’s story continues, and details the remarkable ways both my dogs, Twinkle and Kizmit, entered my life, and how watching them overcome obstacle after obstacle, forever changed me. Blessings come in many shapes and sizes, and for me, Yvonne Harper, they took the form of two little blind dogs.
Both my dogs’ eyes were removed and their eyelids sewn closed; but living in the darkness didn’t stop them from brightening up my dull existence. They taught me things about myself and the world that I never would have seen without them.
The profound impact Twinkle and Kizmit made on my life is the reason I felt compelled to write my book Blind Faith; these two special dogs truly inspired the whole project. My boys share this book with many other dogs that have special needs and endearing stories. I hope after reading it you too, will be inspired by their strength and courage.
Adopting a blind dog was not something I ever imagined doing, but when I bundled Twinkle up on that cold winter’s evening and brought him home, it felt like the absolute right thing to do. It was the first time I have ever acted on total blind faith and it turned out to be a life changing experience that I wouldn’t have missed for the world.