Hoop keeps blind dogs from bumping into things Muffin, 14 and blind, wears a Halo (AP photos)
Hoop keeps blind dogs from bumping into things
Lexile

One pet owner made a promise when her toy poodle fell ill and its vision started to dim. If her dog lived, she would help it overcome any disabilities and give a paw up to other pooches in the process.

Silvie Bordeaux of Los Angeles kept that vow after Muffin survived a cancer scare but lost his sight. She created Muffin's Halo Guide for Blind Dogs, a device that encircles a dog's head and prevents blind pets from running into walls and furniture.

When a blind dog wears a halo, it holds its head higher, its gait changes and its spirits soar, said Los Angeles dog trainer Bronwyne Mirkovich, who volunteers for the American Maltese Association Rescue.

When the device is put on her dog named Max, "it's like putting an action-hero suit on a little boy," Mirkovich said. "It's like he's bumping with a shield or cane, he's super confident."

Here's how it works.

"If the halo hits the wall first, it will slow them down," said Dr. Christin Fahrer from Eye Care for Animals in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles. That will minimize trauma to the face, the veterinarian said.

The halo is made of lightweight copper tubing that attaches to cloth wings and a harness fitted around the neck and chest. Other products do similar work, such as the infamous cone, known for its use after surgery to protect wounds or stitches, and vests and headbands that also have a piece encircling the head to deter collisions.

They are among a multitude of products peddled to pet owners confronting canine old age, disabilities and injuries. Companies make walkers and lifts or one-of-a-kind mobility equipment for dogs with joints that ache or no longer work. Dog stairs allow older pets to get on beds or sofas and ramps help them into the car. But some owners improvise, making slings, homemade wheelchairs or tripod lifts so they can hoist dogs with ailing hips or missing limbs up stairs or over obstacles.

Whether ready-made or owner-constructed, the products can prevent old or hobbled dogs from being turned into shelters. Bordeaux had shelter dogs in mind when launching her line of halos, thinking their chances of adoption would improve if they used the product.

"It might help shelter pets more than average pets in some ways because their environment is constantly in flux," said Fahrer, the veterinarian.

But she said blind dogs don't think about their lack of sight they just adapt and move on.

"We are the ones who struggle with the concept of our pets being blind," Fahrer said. "We struggle with what it would be like for us. Our pets don't drive or read, but we use our vision every moment of every day. It's a different world for them."

Bordeaux set up a nonprofit to get her halos to blind dogs in shelters and rescues. The devices range from $69.95 to $129.95, and come in different designs, such as angel's wings, butterflies and football uniforms.

"They can eat and sleep and play and run with it on," Bordeaux said. "It's like their superpower."

Critical thinking challenge: How does the halo keep blind dogs from bumping into things?

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COMMENTS (17)
  • MAnthony-Cas
    11/04/2014 - 06:01 a.m.

    I think that's very smart and that would help the dog especially because instead of it bumping it's head all over the place, it can be protected by the hoop and stay safe.

  • LTaylor-Cas
    11/04/2014 - 10:45 a.m.

    I think its very nice and sweet that they are helping the blind dogs do fun things. I also think its cute that they come in different designs such as angel wings, butterflies, and football uniforms.

  • Savannahlo-Fre
    11/04/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

    This is amazing! My grandparents dog Mandy totally needs this and so does my friends dog Bean. Both of them are running into walls and it is getting harder and harder for then to see. This product would totally help! I would keep dogs from bumping into thing by letting them know that something is there.

  • GChelsea-Cas
    11/04/2014 - 07:06 p.m.

    I personally love the idea that the hoop is being used to help blind dogs so they don't get hurt by hitting walls and more. It's nice that we for once are taking care of "man's best friend". Our animals sometimes help us when we need a laugh or just a fun time. It's nice to be able to help dogs who can never see the world again. I can only imagine how afraid that the dog would be once they go blind. Not knowing if the hand that touches you is your owners the person who cares for you or something else. The hoop actually helps dogs to not hit the walls and slows them down as it says in the article. It's like giving a little bit of the world back to the animals that give to us all the time with joy and years of happiness.

  • Josh01Chargers
    11/04/2014 - 07:55 p.m.

    The halo keeps the dog from bumping into things because the halo hits the "thing" before the dog does. This is a really cool invention. I would buy a halo for my dog if he went blind.

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    11/05/2014 - 01:16 p.m.

    This is the cutest thing ever. It's like a walking stick, but for dogs. It's also really cool that is doesn't restrict them from anything. It's really only there to help, not hurt.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    11/05/2014 - 02:51 p.m.

    I love this! Animals need people to care for them and help make their lives better because they cannot speak for themselves like we can. Calling it a halo was a really good idea. Now owners with blind dogs really can give their angels what they need.

  • Hallie_halpal
    11/05/2014 - 10:09 p.m.

    This is very fascinating. Its something that I, obviously, never wouldmhave imagined. Its productive amd helpful. Its a miracle that our pets can still do the same things it used to before he/she were blind. How do they sleep?

  • BRaymell-Cas
    11/07/2014 - 12:10 p.m.

    I really like when Silive though of an idea of making a halo suit ring on there head. It really protecta them in any other way of keeping their heads crushing into things. I'm glad they made it for blind dogs.

  • TJohnny-Cas
    11/08/2014 - 11:15 p.m.

    I think that the halo hoop that goes on the dogs head is an interesting invention to be made, however I would think that the hoop is uncomfortable for the blind dog to wear all the time. I also think that the hoop makes the dog look like a basketball hoop.

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