If you’re a fan of Instagram you have probably met Odie, the little blind Shih Tzu who is on a mission to tell the world that dogs with disabilities can lead happy lives. This Instagram star with more than 16,000 followers on Odieseyes has become an inspirational icon who is spreading the motto: Love is blind!
Odie is a 9 year-old Shih Tzu who lost both of his eyes to a severe case of glaucoma. He lives with five cats, one kitten and his mom, Alicia Halloran, in their new hometown of Las Vegas, NV. The family moved to the “Entertainment Capital of the World” in early 2015. Alicia and Odie met under some very unique circumstances that could only be contributed to karma, and their life together has continued to be a one-of-a-kind experience.
Before adopting Odie, Alicia never considered herself to be a “dog person.” When she was growing up her sister was attacked by a dog and had to be hospitalized so both girls grew up with a huge fear of dogs.
Alicia first saw Odie at a city animal shelter when she came to pick up and transport a guinea pig for a rescue group.
“I noticed a little blind dog that looked like a hot mess in one of the cages,” said Alicia. “I wondered who would adopt him.”
Two weeks later Odie, who was nearly 5 years-old at the time, was rescued by a local pet store because the owner thought he would have a better chance finding a new family if he stayed at the shop. The stars lined up for Odie because Alicia shopped frequently at that store for her cats. During the following six months, Alicia would come into the store for cat food and never realized the Shih Tzu in the dog pen was the same little blind dog she saw at the shelter.
“I thought Odie was the shop mascot,” said Alicia.
Little by little Odie and Alicia warmed up to each other and she found herself stopping at his pen to pet him. She noticed Odie would continually bounce up and down in his crate and realized he was becoming extremely anxious sitting in his pen all day and unable to see what was going on around him. Since Alicia is a trained animal communicator, she began talking in a soothing voice to Odie and got him to lay down when she came over to greet him.
Finally Alicia asked about Odie’s circumstances for being at the pet shop and that’s when she discovered he was the same dog she had met at the animal shelter.
The coincidence was too much to ignore so Alicia decided to put aside her fear of dogs and take Odie home.
Glaucoma sets in
Once Odie joined the family, she found that he had very few problems getting around the house without his sight.
“Odie was a polite dog who asked permission to go outside,” said Alicia. “He left behind any baggage he had at the pet shop and he didn’t feel sorry for himself.”
Odie’s biggest problem was his dislike for the 5 cats in his new family and their equal distaste for him.
After 9 months, Odie’s veterinarian noticed the glaucoma which had plagued the dog all of his life, was getting worse. Glaucoma is an eye disease where the pressure within the eye becomes elevated. It can cause blindness and significant pain. Odie’s vet decided it was best to remove both of the dog’s eyes.
Odie didn’t spend much time after the surgery worrying about the loss of his eyes. The surgery was a success and he was pain free so his next move was to inspire others as an Instagram star. Alicia and Odie went to work sharing his story through pictures on Instagram. Alicia thinks he’s become an inspiration because of his charming personality that you can see in every photo and because people can relate to the fact he was born with a disability, but it doesn’t define how he lives.
That vision has turned Odie into an icon and many of his followers are pet parents of disabled animals. Odie loves having his picture taken and now travels with Alicia to conferences and speaking engagements.
And in his spare time, Odie has become the loving adopted big brother of a kitten that Alicia brought home since moving to Las Vegas. The two cuddle together and Odie is very patient as his new buddy crawls all over him.
See what Odie’s up to on Instragram.