Good news: blind puppy leaves shelter for special needs foster service


George was a pitiful pup when he first arrived at the shelter…(Photo courtesy Donna Ruttkay)…but now he’s doing fine and enjoying the company of a brother in his foster home!  (Photo courtesy Shay Culbertson)…That is a satisfied puppy!  (Photo courtesy Shay Culbertson)

CULLMAN – We at The Tribune like to help out the Cullman County Animal Shelter and its temporary residents by featuring an available pet or two each week, but here’s one we had to feature who didn’t even hang around long enough to make it into our regular feature.

Meet “Curious George,” a 3-month-old blind puppy found by an animal control officer on a Cullman street.  Animals with special needs can be a hard sell for many prospective human companions, and despite George’s ingratiating desire to be close to people, he might have been destined to fall into that category.  But sometimes you find the right human.

Shay Culbertson, who visits the shelter frequently, has contacts with a number of animal rescue and fostering services around the country.  She shared with The Tribune George’s story:

“I was contacted by the shelter a few weeks ago about helping this special blind boy I later named ‘Curious George.’  I am an independent rescuer who finds rescue for shelter dogs who are either on death row or, like Curious George, special needs.  

“I went to the shelter and fell in love with this curious, lovely boy.  He is totally blind but adapts quite quickly to his surroundings. He is playful, inquisitive and loving.  The shelter staff and volunteers developed a bond with him right away and were eager for him to be placed in a rescue that has experience dealing with blind dogs.  

“I contacted a fantastic rescue I work with, Second City Canine Rescue out of Chicago, and they immediately said that they would take him into their program.  Curious George was then taken to Lee's Vet Hospital for a physical and his vaccinations. He was deemed healthy for travel, and then went into foster care with April Johnson for the next two weeks.  April is a loving and experienced foster who is also a vet tech. She was able to help George grow in confidence and strength. The shelter did a great job caring for him, as did April.

“Then I transported him along with transport coordinator, Tamika Perrymon, to Nashville, Tennessee to meet the rescue who drove down from Chicago.  He arrived in Chicago and is doing amazingly well in foster care. After he clears his second physical and after his neuter, he will be up for adoption.  All potential homes are carefully screened to make sure that he will have a loving family who can meet his needs and that he gets the absolute best home out there.”

The Cullman County Animal Shelter still has enough pets to go around.  Please consider adopting to give a rescued pet a chance at a happy and healthy life.  Animal shelter staff and volunteers work with their dogs to make sure they are accustomed to being around people, walking on a leash and practicing good behavior.  Several of the shelter’s dogs have even been “hired” to work as special needs service dogs.

Contact the Cullman County Animal Shelter at 256-734-5448 or visit them at 935 Convent Road NE. Reach them by email at

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