Saturday, February 16, 2008

State school for the blind takes care of visually impaired dog

A dog with severe eye problems is getting help from some sympathetic friends _ students at the state School for the Blind. The students were looking for a fundraising cause when a school retiree e-mailed them about Spirit, a local dog suffering from blindness in one eye and losing sight in the other. The 2-year-old Labrador retriever was rescued from a shelter last fall by a group _ Volunteers for Animals _ that took him to an animal eye care specialist who said Spirit had a progressive eye disease, ocular skeletal disorder.

The group paid $3,000 to treat Spirit and about $1,300 has been donated to help cover the cost. Now the students hope to raise another $1,000 by hosting a bake sale and collecting donations. "It's great they wanted to help Spirit. Dogs have been so much use to people with visual problems," said Brenda Cromwell of Volunteers for Animals. "I couldn't imagine not treating him. He's a regular dog. He's got a lot to offer."

Faculty at the school in Batavia, 30 miles southwest of Rochester, will be encouraging additional donations during the bake sale Wednesday. Students have worked hard this week to make cupcakes and other goodies. The hardest part, though, was "not eating it before selling it," they told the Daily News of Batavia. The project will not only help cover Spirit's surgery, but it will also help the students with everyday life, said faculty advisor Bethany Burgess. "It's good for them not only to relate to their peers, but those outside the school. It has opened their eyes that animals have some of the same problems they do," said Burgess.


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