Love Is Blind: The Magic Of Tabby

By David G. Truitt • October 26, 2016

In October of 2003 I had just started my work in the at my local animal shelter’s Adoption Department. It seems like such a long time ago. In the 13 years that have passed, more than 50,000 animals have passed the doors of the shelter. Most of them, I do not remember. They have become a blur. The images of the various dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. merge and have become nearly indistinguishable from one another. Such is life in a “high volume” shelter.

But occasionally there are animals who stand out—animals who touch you so deeply that you could never possibly forget them or their stories. Tabby was one such animal.

Tabby was one of the many stray dogs who arrived at the shelter in October of 2003. She was an ancient Cocker Spaniel, 14 years old by our estimates. What’s more, she was blind and the deaf. Tabby’s chances at adoption seemed remote at best. After all, we didn’t many perspective adopters coming in asking, “Can you show me all of your really old dogs who are also handicapped?” We had all resigned ourselves to the notion that Tabby would live out the rest of her life at the shelter’s administrative building. There, she would be safe. And during the day at least, there would be plenty of people around to fuss over and treat her like a little princess. Not a bad life for an elderly, handicapped stray dog. But, still, it wasn’t a real home either.

One day a woman named Loretta came to the shelter. Her son, Gary, had seen Tabby’s picture and profile on the shelter’s website. They were interested in meeting her! It was the only inquiry we ever received about Tabby. What could a young child possibly see in a 14-year-old dog who was both blind and deaf? Most boys would want a puppy, a dog who could grow with him and run through grassy fields on summer days. Tabby would never be able to do that. But, as they say, “…love is blind.” After meeting her, Loretta and Gary decided that she was the right dog for their family. They adopted Tabby!

If Tabby’s story had simply ended with her successful adoption, it would still have been something very special indeed but it was what happened after her adoption that some might label as “magical” or perhaps even miraculous. Gary suffered from seizures. As Gary and Tabby bonded they became inseparable. A boy and his dog. They did everything together. They became so “in tune” with one another that Tabby began to telegraph Gary’s seizures before they occurred, giving his family warning that one was about to strike. What’s more, Gary seemed to be having fewer and fewer seizures since Tabby’s arrival.

How could it be? How could a 14-year-old dog—blind and deaf—detect a young man’s seizures before they happened? There are some things that happen in this world that defy all logic and understanding. Sometimes, the best that we can do is to accept the miraculous for the Gift that it is rather than attempt to explain it. When you try to explain it, you lose the Beauty and Wonder of it all.

So I don’t know how Tabby did what she did. But I do believe that Tabby herself was a gift from Above, and that those of us who were fortunate enough to know her and her family had witnessed a real miracle, the kind that has its roots in love. Everything that is truly magical and miraculous is rooted in love. Tabby’s family saw something special in her. Something that the rest of the world, in its foolish rush to discard and reject anything imperfect, had missed. Tabby rewarded that wisdom many times over.

Tabby crossed the Rainbow Bridge many years ago. But her family remembers her often, and always with love. And in my mind’s eye I can still see her: an old, feeble Cocker Spaniel. The one who was blind. The one who was deaf. The one someone had discarded. The one nobody else wanted. The one who, through the power of love, changed a young man’s life. May she continue to change lives every time her story is retold.

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