Blind rescue dog, Stevie from Humboldt Park, needs a forever home by the end of March

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Humboldt Park community is coming together to support a blind pit bull in need of a forever home.

In August of 2022 an emaciated stray dog showed up in front of Agatha Slupek's home on Artesian Avenue. He appeared to her to be confused, walking in circles and following a food delivery driver.

Slupek managed to coax the dog into her home and noticed that his eyes had a cloudy tint, signaling that he was suffering from canine glaucoma. This condition can be very painful, especially if left untreated.

The pit bull, which she named Stevie, did not have a chip to identify his owners. Slupek reached out to a community group on social media to see if anyone recognized the dog, but nobody claimed him.

Slupek decided to take him into her home. She treated his wounds and carefully worked through digestive issues that were a result of his malnutrition.

Caring for a blind dog was a challenge that Slupek was not fully equipped to take on by herself, but she was determined to get him back to a healthy state. Additionally, having two cats in the house was a challenge with a dog like Stevie, so she began seeking help from experts in Humboldt Park. A community of local dog lovers has surrounded them with support ever since.

"I think, you know, it's testament to the power of dog lovers' community but also a testament to him." Slupek said.

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In 2023, Slupek moved out of state for work and began splitting her time between Michigan and Illinois. The move meant that she could no longer care for Stevie full-time. Since then, Stevie has been in the care of a local business, Western Wag, and temporary foster homes.

Western Wag is a Humboldt Park dog daycare who became introduced to Stevie and Slupek when he began attending daycare at the facility, before he became fully blind from glaucoma.

Western Wag's owner, Molly Rumpz, has since become a key resource for Stevie. Since his condition has progressed to making him completely blind, Rumpz has been working with his foster parents to get him the care he needs, including covering medical expenses and offering free daycare for Stevie. She plans to continue the support when Stevie finds his forever home.

"Whoever takes Stevie on and welcomes him will have my support for his life," Rumpz said.

Recently, Stevie has reached the hearts of many. A few of Western Wag's clients have helped care for him by taking him on walks and even opening up their homes so he can spend some time outside of the facility.

"They've helped with also taking him over to their house for part of the day. So, what I'll do is offer them free daycare for their dog. So they'll drop their dog off, and then they'll take Stevie; Stevie can be in a home environment," Rumpz said.

A comfortable, consistent environment is important for blind dogs. Stability is key for a dog who can't navigate the world with sight. Without a familiar environment, he could become injured from bumping into walls and furniture or suffer from stress due to confusion.

Despite the community rallying around him, he is still in need of a stable home environment that can adapt to his needs.

Stevie's current foster parent will soon be moving out of state, meaning he is now in need of a forever home before the end of March.

Stevie's primary caregivers are taking a foster-to-adopt approach to find him the perfect family.

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Slupek said his ideal home would be made up of people who have owned dogs before, but do not currently have any other pets. They are also looking for someone with enough patience to adapt to Stevie's needs. Because of his condition, he needs an owner who is able to be with him regularly.

"Because of some of the difficulties that Stevie has faced in life, he will have a bit of separation anxiety, at least for the first little while as he's adjusting to a new home. And we wouldn't want someone to get discouraged who wasn't aware of the difficulty that that poses," Slupek said.

Although Stevie loves to be at home cuddling with his caretakers, he also enjoys outdoor walks and being active.

"(Ideal owners) would have an active lifestyle. They would be willing to do a good 40-minute walk sometimes on the weekend. Three 20-minute walks per day is what I was doing, and I found him just the most happy and peaceful and calm when he really did get that exercise out," Slupek said.

Walking a blind dog requires a different sense of awareness, but Stevie's support system is ready to work with potential owners. They will provide him with a special harness for blind dogs and continue his training. Rumpz is also offering free daycare for Stevie when he finds his forever home.

"If we find his forever people, I'm happy to pay for a trainer to work with them as well. And Stevie will also have free daycare and boarding when he needs it. For Stevie's lifetime, he can board for free at Western Wag," Rumpz said.

Since Stevie's story was originally reported by Block Club Chicago, his foster parents have received many emails from people interested in being his forever parents, but they are still looking for the right fit.

More information about Stevie's ideal home and contact information for his caretakers can be found here.