After seeing her blind Scottish terrier, Scotty Boy, bump into wall after wall and cry out of frustration, Dorie Stratton decided she was going to stop watching and start helping. She told LittleThings, “He couldn’t see, and would bump into walls all the time, and then just sit in the middle of the room and cry.” This was no way for her precious pup to live.
So Stratton developed a device, custom-tailored to fit her pooch, which she deemed his “Halo.” She enlisted the help of a friend who owned an alteration shop, and together they designed a vest for Scotty Boy, complete with a wire halo that acted as his “white cain.”
Suddenly, wearing his Halo, Scotty Boy’s entire demeanor shifted. He began exploring the world again, completely fearless and free. After seeing her pup’s amazing transformation, Stratton decided to see if her device could help other blind animals.
Four years later, Halos for Paws is an international business, outfitting all sorts of different blind animals with life-changing Halo vests. Scroll through below to see how this Halo saved Scotty Boy, and how Halos for Paws is improving the lives of blind animals everywhere.
When Dorie Stratton first adopted her Scottish terrier, Scotty Boy, he was blind, scared, frustrated, and alone. He’d been abandoned in a Walmart parking lot, likely because his previous owner didn’t know how to deal with his blindness. Scotty Boy had lost his sight to Sudden Acquired Retinal Syndrome, or SARDS, an autoimmune disease that dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds can contract.
Unable to sit back and watch Scotty Boy’s suffering continue, Stratton decided to take action. She reached out to a friend who owned an alteration shop, and they collaborated on a vest for Scotty Boy to wear, adorned with a helpful wire and plastic “Halo.” This Halo would act as his white cane, notifying him when he was getting too close to certain objects.
Stratton told LittleThings, “When the vest is put on the dog, the halo goes around the face, acting as a bumper guard should the dog run into something.” Once Stratton outfitted little Scotty Boy with the vest, his entire life turned around. His frustration and crying all but ceased, and his playful curiosity returned. He began exploring his surroundings again, happy and carefree.
After witnessing Scotty Boy’s 180-degree shift, Stratton knew these vests could be game-changers for other blind animals like Scotty.
Stratton told LittleThings: “We initially didn’t have any plans to start a business, until we showed the vest to our Vet Ophthalmologist. “She went crazy for the vest and said these vests are highly in demand for blind dogs and I should start a business selling these vests. I thought about it, and the rest is history.
“My partner, Ellen Burgess, and I are now successfully selling Halo Vests to keep blind animals from experiencing pain and suffering.”
These two devoted ladies got to work and, in the past four years, have developed an international business, outfitting blind animals with these vests all over the world. Since starting this operation, Stratton has been pleasantly surprised by the other differently abled pet owners with whom she’s interacted.
She told LittleThings, “I always felt that people were very nice and caring about their animals, and they really are!”
There are people out there that have these blind animals and would do anything to help them.” During her first year in business, Stratton was completely overwhelmed by the incredible responses she’d receive from these grateful pet owners.
She shared, “People would say things like, ‘Oh my god, my dog has come back to life!’”
Each Halos for Paws vest is custom-made for its recipient. This ensures each vest is proportional to the pet, so the Halo helps, rather than hinders, the animals’ abilities to exist in their surroundings.
Halos for Paws details exactly how to measure a dog for one of their vests on their website.
Since starting this business in 2012, Halos for Paws has completely taken off. Stratton and her crew receive orders from all over the world, their biggest customer bases residing in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
She told LittleThings of the organization’s rapid growth, “I never knew when starting this business that there would be this many blind dogs all over the world.”
Halos for Paws has even begun expanding its customer base beyond blind dogs, now also outfitting blind cats and sheep with these awesome vests.
Reflecting on all the lives she’s helped improve since starting Halos for Paws, Stratton said, “These dogs get to live a normal life, and that’s the greatest gift of all.”
Faced with a heartbreaking reality, Stratton decided to do whatever she could to help improve her blind dog’s life, and her actions have since helped exponentially more creatures to have wonderful, fear-free lives.
What do you think of Halos for Paws? Do you have a blind pet? Let us know in the comments.
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