Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

This blind and deaf puppy is learning how to bring comfort to others as a therapy dog

Erin Baxter and her family didn't expect to adopt Ruby, a blind and deaf puppy, so soon after the loss of their elderly dog Scarlet, but when she climbed into the lap of Baxter's daughter Avery last year, they felt it was meant to be. 

Ruby quickly became accustomed to their house in Wilmauma, Florida, and attached to their other two dogs. Ruby, who was likely born blind and deaf due to careless breeding, loves sitting with people and licking their faces, and in January, the Baxters met trainer Rick Carde, who said he would do everything he could to train this special dog. After a lot of trial and error, he found that she responded to pressure — when Ruby is touched between the shoulders she knows to lay down, and when someone pets her under the chin, she follows them.

Ruby is now learning how to be a therapy dog, with Carde teaching her how to ignore distractions. The Baxter family thinks she will be able to connect with a lot of different groups, including veterans with PTSD and children who have recently lost their sight. "She is special and perfect and amazing," Erin Baxter told Today. "She is not disabled in my eyes. She's just her."