Once in need of a forever home, Louis received a surge of overwhelming international support and a dedicated owner who understands his special needs.

By Kelli Bender and Tracey L. Kelley
Updated January 19, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center

Louis, a 3-year-old Lab/shepherd mix arrived at Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California, late last month after being surrendered by his former owners.

Upon his arrival, Louis was dealing with a lot of change. At his previous home, Louis developed an eye infection. In "a case unlike any other seen" at the rescue, according to a release from Helen Woodward, the dog's owner's opted to have Louis' eyes removed in early December instead of paying to treat the infection.

Following the procedure, the pooch came home and tried to adapt to life without eyes, but his owners were less flexible. Louis was surrendered to a pound in Calexico shortly after the operation because his previous pet parents couldn't adjust to life with a blind pet. A rescue partner of Helen Woodward pulled Louis from the pound and brought him to the animal center.

Louis arrived at Helen Woodward Animal Center, newly-blind, heartbroken, and nervous to be in a new place. Unfortunately, a medical check revealed that the dog also had old, untreated injuries, which likely came from being hit by a car.

"It is incredibly important that people who consider getting a pet know the obligations they take on with these animals," Helen Woodward Animal Center Adoptions Director Hella Tyler said in a statement. "When people get their pets for free off of Craigslist, they don't seem to realize that pets come with responsibilities and a monthly expense for their caretaking, including medical care. In turn, these pets will provide their owners with unparalleled love.  They pay it back tenfold. It's just devastating to see an animal treated the way Louis was treated."

Credit: Courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center

Eager to give Louis some good news, the rescue quickly placed the pooch in a foster home, where he had a chance to adjust to a life without sight thanks to his supportive foster family.

Now here's an update to this captivating tale. In just a few days, after a surge of viral support, inquires and donations flooded the center. ABC10 in San Diego reported that "Helen Woodward received calls and applications from 35 different U.S. states, and from Canada and Mexico. Nearly $25,000 was also donated in honor of Louis and animals like him."

Related: Rosie Was Abandoned, Tied to a Tree. Now She's in Training to Be a Search and Rescue Dog

But wait! There's more! Have your tissues ready!

According to ABC10, Louis tapped the heart of Steve Walker, "a Marine veteran who began to lose his vision at 18 due to an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa, who has competed in marathons, triathlons, and Ironman competitions." Walker told ABC10 that he and his wife, Kacey, and daughter, Jordan, didn't intend to adopt a dog, but their Los Angeles-area home "is already outfitted to help him, and will work just as well to help Louis navigate safely."

Walker said that helping a blind dog required pretty much the same things as for a blind person, including living in a one-story home with few doors and limited furniture.

Credit: Courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center

"I think [Louis] is going to pick up on that and I think he's going to benefit from a lot of the changes we've already made to the house. So we're really excited about seeing him adapt to our home and our family, and seeing him flourish, really," Walker said in his ABC10 interview. They also look forward to Louis getting to know their other dog, Dragon, also a rescue.

Credit: Courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center

As a thank you for giving Louis a second chance, Helen Woodward was able to extend the goodwill and generosity of everyone who heard his story by using donations to cover his adoption expenses and veterinary costs for a year. ABC10 reported that the Walkers also receive 10 training sessions from San Diego Pet Training and a $500 Petco gift card.

Such an amazing happy ending for this incredible, resilient pooch.

This story originally appeared on people.com