Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A British family who adopted a blind dog from animal rescuers revealed the secret to their preparations for the terrier's arrival -- testing their home with blindfolds.
The RSPCA said Tina the terrier lost her sight due to an eye infection while living in a home with dozens of other animals.
"The owner had around 40 dogs as well as numerous cats, birds and other pets," RSPCA Inspector Sarah Gardner said. "We wanted to help get that down to a manageable number and ensure that their needs were being properly met."
"We'd been working with the owner for some time when we returned to the house," she said. "There were 31 dogs, mainly small breeds, in crates and cages around the home, some stacked on top of each other. It was clear the owner just needed some help as they just couldn't cope."
Gardener said Tina was among the dogs the owner asked the RSPCA to rehome, and the dog soon found a new forever home with Julie Iliff of Swadlincote, Derbyshire.
"I don't think we chose her I think she chose us," Iliff said. "I truly believe that any dog, if they've got disability or not, deserve a second chance and a loving home and that's what she's got."
"You wouldn't know she's blind -- she does everything a sighted dog does, and more," Tina's new owner said. "She is so loving, she loves a cuddle, she loves to sit on your lap. She's just special."
Iliff said her family wanted to adequately prepare their home for Tina's arrival, so they attempted to put themselves in her metaphorical shoes.
"We put blindfolds on each other and we walked around the house -- anything that we hit on the lower leg was obviously going to be an obstacle for Tina," Iliff said.
She said her family's other dog, an 11-year-old Westie mix named Tyke, has taken it upon himself to act as Tina's seeing-eye dog.
"Tina and Tyke are absolutely amazing together," Iliff said. "Tyke is a little bit protective over her if anything happens he lets her know. They play together, sleep together, kiss each other, they do everything together -- they're a match made in heaven."
Iliff said she and her family are now attempting to raise money to take Tina to a specialist to see if her sight can be restored.