A blind/deaf therapy dog with a lesson for all


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — A dog in Lexington is making a lot of friends.

Sure, most dogs get a lot of attention walking down the street.

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But here’s why you need to get to know Willow. He’s extra special because he sees the world, and people, not with his eyes but with his heart.

He doesn’t need to hear, or even see someone, to love them.

“Seeing the world with your heart rather than your eyes,” says owner Elizabeth Slone.

Because 10-year-old Willow can’t see or hear. He’s both blind and deaf which made his first owner give him up.

Which made Elizabeth, love him all the more.

“He’s been the easiest dog. I think it just took finding the right owner,” says Elizabeth.

Willow was rescued from a puppy mill, his disabilities caused by poor breeding.

“The thing with dogs is they forget and they also forgive,” says Elizabeth.

Despite a difficult start to life, Willow still wants to work which is in his blood as an Australian Shepherd.

But his job isn’t typical, like herding sheep. He’s a therapy dog.

Willow visits nursing homes and patients at hospitals.

“Oh my gosh, as soon as Willow walks in their faces light up and smiles just like it makes me smile right now just thinking about em,” says Elizabeth.

He also joins after school programs, so kids who struggle with reading aloud can practice on him with no judgment.

He gets it since things don’t come so easily to him, either.

“It helps them build up their confidence and gets them encouraged to read and develop better reading skills,” says Elizabeth.

One of Willow’s best buds? A Purple Heart World War II veteran Willow visits at home.

He can’t see or even hear how happy he makes people, which shows he doesn’t do it to be praised.

“He’s just a great dog,” says Elizabeth.

But something tells us he knows just how much of a difference he’s making in their lives, whether it’s an eight-year-old kid who struggles reading or a 96-year-old war vet who’s in and out of the hospital.

“Yeah, it’s amazing,” says Elizabeth.

If only we all could see the world like Willow does.

Willow’s owner thinks his story could have an impact even beyond the people he’s helping every day.

Elizabeth hopes to turn his life story into an animated movie. She’s working on a script right now with the working title “Blind”.