Stormy is a friendly, blind 5-year-old dog who recently lost his home after losing his ability to see.
"He’s five years old and healthy in every way except for his vision loss," says Kristen Auerbach, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Animal Shelter of Northern Virginia. "He was surrendered by his owners, who felt they couldn’t provide the care he needed."
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Stormy's former owners -- who Auerbach says are hoping another family can give the dog what they couldn't -- said he started going blind about seven months ago, from unknown causes. But he seems to be taking his new challenges in stride.
"He is a wonderful houseguest," says shelter volunteer Kristie Wood, who took in Stormy as a foster in December, soon after his family gave him up. "I have a soft spot for the special-needs guys."
Wood already has two daughters, two dogs, two cats and three rabbits. She says if she could add another permanent member to the household, it would be this happy guy. Even though she can't, she has a whole lot of optimism for the pup's future.
That's Stormy in the middle, flanked by foster mom Kristie Wood's two other pups. Photo credit: Kristie Wood
Two families have already expressed interest in Stormy, but neither is able to adopt him.
The first inquiry fell through due to a local zoning ordinance requiring the family, which already owns four dogs, to have considerably more square footage to legally keep a fifth.
The other family, a young couple, couldn't adopt for an even sadder reason: They live in an apartment building with breed restrictions. Even though no one really knows what breed of dog Stormy is -- he's listed as a Perro de Presa Canario, but that's really just a guess, since his genetics haven't been tested -- the couple's landlord said Stormy is unwelcome.
"It doesn’t make sense for him to be denied based on this. He’s such a laid-back dog," says Auerbach. "If I owned an apartment complex, I would want this dog to be owned by my tenant. He’s a snuggly couch potato who loves naps. You couldn’t wish for a more perfect apartment dog."
The hope now is that someone else will come along, see Stormy for who he is and snatch him up for a lifetime of love.
"I want Stormy to find a fabulous home where he’ll be spoiled rotten and be celebrated every day," says Auerbach.
Until then, Stormy will stay with Wood at her Northern Virginia home, where he has taken to sleeping in her bed, accompanying her on errands and romping around with his housemates, both human and animal.
"He's made me proud of him every single day for the way he has adapted to life without the people he's known since he was a puppy, after losing his sight," Wood says. "I will be really happy when he finds his forever family, and he will be one of those special dogs I never forget."
UPDATE, December 30, 7:53 p.m.: It was right to be optimistic -- Stormy's been adopted!
Stormy's new family, whose other dog was also adopted from Fairfax, plans to bring their new boy to a veterinary eye specialist, with the hopes that he might regain some of his vision. They've also told Kristie Wood to come and visit.
"I really like them," says Wood. "They'll give Stormy whatever care he needs."
Here is this guy with his brand new family -- we're so happy for you, Stormy!!
Find out more about the Fairfax County Animal Shelter's other adoptable animals on the group's Facebook page.
It is notoriously difficult to find pet-friendly housing. The pit bull advocacy group Bad Rap has guidelines about renting with a pet. Animal Farm Foundation has info about how to find dog-friendly rental insurance.
If you're a landlord who allows -- or especially, encourages -- renters to bring their pets, we'd love to hear from you. Get in touch at email@example.com!