Every dog that comes through Luvable Dog Rescue is a wonderful and brave animal in their own special way (see: Picasso, the dog with the “crooked” face who won hearts everywhere).
Wicket, a Chihuahua mix puppy, is no exception to this rule. Born without eyes, Wicket is an incredible spirit whose disability doesn’t get in the way of his happiness.
It’s a way of life that has resonated deeply with one of Luvable’s workers, Christine Lagos, who was born with a congenital issue in which both of her inner ears didn’t fully develop.
Despite being deaf, Lagos, who wears hearing aids, is a passionate person who does her part every day to take care of the dogs at Luvable (a non-profit, no-kill group in Eugene, Oregon) who need help, love and care.
Lagos felt an instant kinship with Wicket after he arrived at the rescue. “I know what it’s like to try and keep up with the world around you when everyone else is running at a different pace,” she says.
But, just like Lagos, Wicket doesn’t let this get him down.
“Wicket is a puppy that is so enthusiastic about life. He doesn’t know anything is different about him,” she says. “He still is very observant with sounds and movements. Wicket is going to grow up to be a very smart and happy boy. He’s an absolute joy to be with. His love is contagious.”
Lagos, who is currently helping teach and train Wicket as he grows and eventually becomes available for adoption (you can watch them playing and learning together here), says that no matter where he winds up, they’ll always be bonded.
It’s that very bond to all the dogs at Luvable like Wicket that gives Lagos joy and pride in what she does, and helps her heal as a person, too.
“The joy the dogs greet you with each day makes every minute worth it,” she says. “I have a few disabilities and knowing that these lives depend on me helps me forget what I am going through. Watching life grow before your eyes is a miracle every single time.”
She says that her greatest hope for Wicket as he grows is for him to feel comfortable and confident in the environment around him. Lagos adds that while taking care of special needs dogs is a “commitment like no other,” the rewards go above and beyond the task.
“They will give you the purest love you could ever receive,” she says. “Through their disability you will see and appreciate their inner strengths and cute quirks.”
Lagos’ spirit and her love for animals like Wicket has resounded deeply with those around her, including Luvable’s owner and founder Liesl Wilhardt.
Wilhardt has seen firsthand some of the struggles that Lagos has endured, but the connection she and Wicket have serve as a humbling reminder about the world and the people and the creatures all around us.
“We all have differences and disabilities of one kind or another,” Wilhardt says. “If we could all just be a little more patient with each other, the world would be a much better place.”
Image via Luvable Dog Rescue
Aly Semigran is a lifestyle writer for the world and roommate of Ruby, the cutest dog in the world.