Blind rescue dog Robbie finally gets a home
When the RSPCA rescued 16 dogs from a Norfolk home, they quickly found new homes for all of them – except blind Robbie.
No one wanted to take on the extra responsibility of looking after the terrier cross who cannot see.
But an appeal to find the three-year-old a home, which appeared in the Evening News and on its website, was put on social networking site Twitter.
Within minutes, kind-hearted couple Ali Scotter and Barry Hipwell had rung up to inquire about adopting Robbie.
The pair, from Lingwood, soon fell in love with the blind pet and began the process of adoption and visiting him at the Norwich and Mid-Norfolk RSPCA's Paws Centre in Barrack Street, Norwich.
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And they decided to get him his own Twitter account, @Blind_Bob, so that family and friends could follow his 'tail'.
Now Robbie is happily settled in at the couple's Acorn Close home and getting on well with their two other dogs, llasa apso Toby and cairn terrier Gordy, although perhaps not quite so well with their three cats, who Robbie has taken to sometimes chasing, despite not being able to see them.
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Mr Hipwell, a structural engineer, said: 'He's lovely and so good at finding his way around the house.
'He had it mapped out quite quickly, and we have had to learn to be careful we don't put stuff down where he has been or he will walk into it. He gets on really well with the other two and Gordy is quite protective of him already.'
The family created a tactile path using string and gaffer tape to help guide the visually-impaired pooch from the back door to where his food is, and they have also placed pots of strong-smelling parsley and mint either side of the back door so Robbie can sniff his way into the house.
At the moment any steps in the house and garden have been blocked off, but as Robbie gets to know his way round better the couple plans to use raised strips near the edges so he can tell where they are. The other pets also have bells on their collars, so when out for walks Robbie can follow the other two dogs.
Ms Scotter, 45, who has just launched Ali's Dog & Pet Services offering dog walking, grooming and sitting, said: 'He's just like one of the family now. Because he is blind his other senses are so much more heightened. He's constantly sniffing around and listening to everything.'
Lydia Hall, from the RSPCA, said: 'We are all thrilled that Robbie has found a family who really understand what it means to look after a dog who is blind. We were concerned that no-one had been to visit him when he first arrived in our care, but thanks to the Evening News, Robbie has gone to a loving home. We are so pleased that he is settling in so well.'
Do you have a quirky animal story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.