Kenai was dumped at a rural California animal control facility
in the Mojave Desert a few days before Christmas. The owner
said "our kids don't pay any attention to her."
A rescue group routinely visited the shelter to see which
dogs were most in danger of being euthanized at this high-kill
facility, then doing what they could to save them. Being blind,
Kenai was not going to make it out alive. They sent out an
urgent appeal on her behalf. We learned about Kenai on December
23rd and offered to bring her to the sanctuary.
Four days later, the rescue group placed Kenai on a Delta
Air Lines flight bound for Salt Lake City and then Missoula.
She arrived on a cold and snowy evening. We were a little
concerned about her transition from desert warmth to Rocky
Mountain winter, but we shouldn't have worried.
Back at the ranch, we let Kenai out of her crate in the truck,
clipped a leash on her collar, and took her for a walk. We
didn't get 20 feet before she dropped her shoulder to the
snow and began pushing herself with her back legs through
the white powder, face first. On and on she went, like a canine
snowboard, her black body cutting through the snow. Finally
she flopped over and rolled around on her back, all four legs
up in the air. She was so joyful, relishing her new-found
freedom, and clearly loving the fresh mountain snow. Another
rolling dog had come to the ranch.
Our vets diagnosed her blindness as progressive retinal atrophy,
or PRA. There is nothing we can do to restore vision.
Despite her blindness, Kenai loves to roughhouse. She'll
bound right up to you, even if she doesn't know exactly where
you are, and demand to play. Then this big, sweet Lab mix
will wrestle and romp with us, often jumping straight off
From certain death in a Mojave Desert animal control facility
to a sanctuary in the Northern Rockies, Kenai made quite a
journey over the Christmas holidays. And now she is home forever.