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SAN DIEGO — A blind dog rescued by a Rancho Santa Fe animal center is in search of his forever home.

Louis, a 3-year-old Lab and Shepard mix, will be up for adoption at the Helen Woodward Animal Center beginning Wednesday.

“Louis is going to be amazing. Difference is, that he had his sight for three years. So now he’s living in a world that is very unknown to him and scary to him,” Jennifer Gercke with the Helen Woodward Animal Center said.

The road to Rancho Santa Fe from Calexico was not easy for Louis. His previous owner neglected an eye infection, which led to the removal of both of Louis’ eyes. The animal center says his owners realized the challenges of having a blind pet and gave him up. He also suffered from a broken leg after getting hit by a car shortly after his eyes were removed.

“It’s really challenging when we see animals like this,” Gercke said. “And I know a lot of people are really upset about finding out about Louis and the fact that his eyes were removed. … We see a lot of this actually, and that’s just a part of animal welfare.” 

He may have been abused but he hasn’t lost his spirit or his sweet nature. His caretakers said he was shy and exhausted when he got to San Diego. Now, he’s coming around. 

“He’s incredibly gentle. You can tell he loves people, he loves other animals,” Gercke said. “But he’s having to learn how to live in the world in the dark. So that’s part of what whoever adopts him is going to have to realize.” 

Louis has been living with a foster family. They say he is slowly getting the hang of life without sight. 

“He found his way around the house amazingly quickly,” foster parent Tony Newlin said. “He’s learned to kind of walk with his head down, so if he does bump into something or he listens to, ‘Hey Louis, watch out,’ and he’ll kind of stop and pause. He’s just a sweet, sweet gentle guy.” 

The center has received hundreds of adoption requests from across the country. They say he will go to a local family because all his food, future medical care and even some training is being donated.

“They have to be gentle, and patient, and really make sure they have a home where they set everything up and they don’t move things around,” Gercke said. “We would love to find an owner who works from home if possible, so that they can really spend a lot of months with him, learning the home, learning the yard, learning all the specifics of the house.”

Gercke said Louis’ story spurred an influx of donations for the animal center. She said the gifts will provide Louis and other rescue animals with vaccinations, medical care and more.

Now, they just need to find the right family to give Louis a loving home.

“So that he can have the most comfortable, easy life possible,” she said.