In perhaps the most touching story of the Christmas season, a dog born without eyes who went missing a month ago has found his way home thanks to a caring high school teacher and an ad on Craigslist.
Belinda Gutierrez of San Antonio, Texas, took the blind cairn terrier mix into her house earlier this year. Her daughter had found him wandering near a city duck pond and called her mother, crying because she thought the dog's permanently closed eyes were a sign of abuse.
Although normally a cat person, Gutierrez was quickly won over by the dog's friendly nature and named him Stevie Oedipus Wonder. But shortly after Thanksgiving, Stevie got out of the house and vanished. A few days later, Gutierrez's landlord told her the dog was dead, and she resigned herself to "a sad end of the year and a sad Christmas."
Gutierrez blamed her landlord for letting the dog escape and was so upset that she moved out of her mobile home and into an apartment.
Stevie, however, was very much alive and wound up a couple of weeks later at an animal care agency. Even then, his story might not have had a happy ending, because attempts to find his owner failed due to outdated information on his tags. The agency was preparing to euthanize him when high school teacher Brooke Orr saw an ad seeking a home for the dog and agreed to buy him some time by caring for him over the holidays.
Orr did more than that. "I thought that he must belong to someone," she explained. "So I went to Craigslist and went to lost and found and I put in 'blind dog,' and there he was."
The ad had been placed by Gutierrez's daughter, and it quickly brought Gutierrez to the agency. She was uncertain at first as to whether the dog would recognize her but found that "all he had to do was hear my voice. I stood at the entrance of the kennel building and called out 'Stevie, Stevie.' And he started barking all over the place."
“This is my Christmas miracle,” Gutierrez says now. And she has prepared a special Christmas present for Stevie of doggy treats, rawhide chew toys -- and carrots.
“He loves carrots,” she explains. “We always say he's trying to get his eyesight to improve.”
Photo from the City of San Antonio, Animal Care Services.