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JoAnna Lou
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Blind Dog Paints for Charity
A Dachshund looses her eyesight but continues to create artwork

When Seattle artist, DeeDee Murray, taught her dog Hallie to paint, she had no idea that the activity would become so important to the both of them. Ten years after adopting Hallie, the tiny pup unexpectedly went blind in a matter of days. DeeDee then found out that Hallie had Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), an autoimmune disease that attacks the retina.

Hallie was depressed for several weeks, as she adjusted to her new condition, but eventually her spirit returned and the resilient pup even started to paint again. DeeDee says that Hallie picked up a brush out of the paint cup just like she used to, perhaps using muscle memory. Sometimes Hallie reaches her paw out, as if she's "looking" for her canvas, but usually DeeDee has to tap the paper so that Hallie knows where to place the brush.

Hallie loves painting so much that DeeDee has to stop her before she overdoes it. But the prolific canine's work is going to good use. DeeDee sells Hallie's paintings on a web site and donates the proceeds to Purple Heart Dog Rescue.

Hallie is truly an inspiration and continues to show that loss of vision will not stop her. Recently DeeDee and Hallie took up the sport of K9 Nose Work and the determined pup passed her first Odor Recognition Test, finding the "hide" in a minute flat!

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by DeeDee Murray.

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