Cherry Blossom is one unusual dog. She was completely blind but could hear the constant barking of dogs and the chilly concrete beneath her paws. These were enough to scare her gentle soul.

It was four years ago, that Piper Thomas, founder of Hand in Paw, a California rescue group found a blind 12-year-old Shih Tzu trembling in her kennel. She knew she had to get her out and to a safe place.

Hand in Paw

“It’s heartbreaking to see a dog just shaking in the corner, and not knowing where they are,” Thomas said. “The shelter is very loud, and especially for a blind dog, it’s a lot of sensory overload for them. And it’s cold-not a welcoming environment for them.”

Hand in Paw

Thomas soon learned the dog’s sad story, as he was organizing paperwork to get Cherry out.

“She was found as a stray,” Thomas said. “She was out on the streets, eating trash. She was most definitely dumped, and we think it was probably because she couldn’t produce puppies anymore for somebody.”

Hand in Paw

Once Cherry found herself out of the confines of the shelter, she started relaxing.

“She was instantly a lot happier,” Thomas said. “She seemed to just take  a deep breath.”

Hand in Paw

Cherry’s traumatic life had left her with a lot of injuries. This included tumours and cysts, ear infections and dental diseases.

“She was just a mess all around, and she was in pain from her mouth, and she was just very confused,” Thomas said.

Hand in Paw

Thomas immediately took the little dog to the vet for treatment, and even to an eye specialist. It seemed like a miracle to him, when the specialist was successful to remove cataracts that had caused Cherry’s blindness and replace her eye lenses. After this, Cherry’s vision was restored.

“She became a completely different dog,” Thomas said.

Hand in Paw

Soon it was time for her adoption. Initially, Thomas was worried that there might be some hiccups while looking for her forever home. But thankfully, she found an adopter very quickly.

“Luckily for Cherry, she happened to be seen by the mother of an old schoolmate of mine, Mary Dooley,” Thomas said. “She ended up adopting Cherry shortly after her eye surgery…and I couldn’t imagine a better mother for Cherry.”

It seems like Cherry and Dooley were destined to be together.

Hand in Paw

“Cherry is doted on 24 hours a day,” Thomas said. “She is always with her mom everywhere she goes. She’s never left alone. She’s always on her lap, she sleeps in bed with her, she gets home-cooked meals or whatever she needs.”

Still, Cherry has to pay frequent visits to the vet for her eyes, along with a few other health issues. But her mom is bent on making sure she gets the best care.

“Everywhere Cherry goes, she’s a little star,” Thomas said. “When she goes to the vet, everyone fawns over her. Mary has all these cute little outfits for her, she gets her groomed, she gets cute little bows in her hair. So she loves to dress Cherry up in little outfits and Cherry loves it, and she tucks her into bed and Cherry just enjoys all the love that she gets because she definitely didn’t get it in the first 12 years.”

Hand in Paw

Thomas’s hopes for Cherry has come true. She is now 16 years old, and has lived a full, wonderful life for the past four years.

“To see her go from being terribly neglected and then dumped to the most loving home possible- it’s incredible to be a part of that,” Thomas said.

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