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Cherry was entirely blind. But the constant barking of other dogs in the shelter kept echoing in her ears and the chilly cemented floor brought cold to her paws. And those were enough to get her frightened.

In 2015, the founder of the California rescue group Hand in Paw Piper Thomas went to visit a busy shelter in Los Angeles in a mission to rescue those dogs that were already scheduled to be euthanized. There, she saw Cherry, a blind Shih Tzu and approximately 12 years old, trembling inside her kennel. At that very moment, Thomas knew she needed to do everything in her power to get Cherry out.

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“It’s really heartbreaking when you see dogs shaking in a corner with no ideas where they actually are,” said Thomas. “It was very loud in the shelter. And for one blind dog, the sensory overload is just too much to handle. It’s cold, the environment was not welcoming at all.”

So Thomas started on Cherry’s paperwork to be able to get her out. And that’s how they learned of the dog’s heartbreaking story.

As it turns out, Cherry was a stray when found. She wandered the streets of Los Angeles and ate trash. Most definitely, Cherry was dumped and it was most likely because she could no longer produce puppies, as Thomas said.

Thankfully, Cherry started to feel at ease as soon as she was out. In an instant, she became much happier. It seemed that all she needed was to take one deep breath.

But Cherry’s old life had taken a toll on her body. She had cysts and tumors, painful ear infection, and serious dental disease. Cherry was in deep pain and was very confused.

So Thomas did what has to be done. She had Cherry treated by the vet and took her to the eye specialist after. To everyone’s amazement, all it took was one procedure to get rid of cataracts on Cherry’s eyes and replace the lenses in her eyes. Afterward, Cherry got to see her surroundings again.

Photo Credits to Hand in Paw

In no time, Cherry was put up for adoption and the search didn’t take long. Mary Dooley, the mother of Thomas’ old schoolmate, brought Cherry home and gave her a family. Since then, they have become inseparable.

“It’s incredible being part of her transformation from being horrendously neglected to having the most caring and loving home, it’s just great!”

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