Love is Blind: Nova’s Story

By Judy Layne

The puppy was born into a world of darkness. She was not only blind, but the environment she found herself in was absent of any love and caring. Her one small comfort was having her sister by her side. The two puppies faced a bleak future. Then one day, a kind lady rescued them and took them home where they would be safe and warm. She named the puppies Nova and Bella. She wished she could raise them both, but she had mobility issues that would make it difficult to care for a blind puppy. She made the unselfish decision to contact the SPCA to find a loving home for Nova. She trusted the SPCA to find a special family for this special girl. And they did.

Nova arrived at the SPCA Dartmouth Shelter on November 25, 2019. She was approximately 9 weeks old. Because she was blind, Nova was placed in foster care for several weeks to monitor her progress and assess what type of home would be best for her. On December 12, Nova’s Christmas wish came true – she found her perfect match!

Nova’s adoptive mom Lindsay explained “We had been looking for another fur-baby to join our family but weren’t sure if we wanted a younger or older dog. We just knew we wanted to rescue a dog that needed a forever home. I had a German Shepherd as a child, and she was the most amazing dog. I have longed for another one so when a friend messaged me about Nova and her being part Shepherd, I knew I had to meet her.”

Lindsay shared “At the shelter, I saw Nova’s beautiful face and instantly fell in love with her and when she snuggled into my arms, it was game over! When she met my husband Nathan, our children and other fur-babies, we all agreed she would be the perfect addition to our family. We knew going into this adoption that things would be different with Nova since she is blind, but that didn’t deter us. We were confident that we could give her the love and support she needed.”

The family made sure that Nova would be safe and comfortable in her new home. “When we brought her home, we made sure we spoke quietly and didn’t crowd around her to give her hugs,” related Nathan. “Our floors are wood and tile so it’s relatively easy for Nova to judge things, but we blocked off the stairs going down to the family room so she wouldn’t fall and get hurt. For the first six months, Nova slept in her kennel – we think it made her feel safe. The lady who rescued Nova gave us a blanket that had Bella’s scent, and this proved comforting. Nova still has this blanket, even though it’s now worn and ratty!”

Fast-forward to today, Nova is definitely living her best life. Nathan said “Nova is thriving and continues to fill our hearts with love and joy every day. “She enjoys snuggling, chewing on her bones, greeting everyone excitedly at the door and just hanging out with her people. Incredibly, our youngest son Lane has taught her how to fetch! Even though Nova is blind, they have figured out a way that she can still play. Lane will bounce the ball so that she can hear it and retrieve it. She brings it right back and they play for hours!”

“Being blind hasn’t stopped Nova one bit,” shared Lindsay. “She goes by sound to identify objects and navigate. If you didn’t know she was blind, you would never think that. People are amazed when they first meet her and see how well adapted she is. She acts and plays like any other dog.  She runs outside with my parents’ dog Maverick, running in circles chasing each other! Nova’s other senses are definitely heightened, especially when you open the fridge. Somehow, she always knows when it is cheese!”

“Our ‘Nova Girl’ is truly special and has won many hearts. Imagine our surprise when we saw she has a perfectly shaped heart on her bum! It’s definitely a sign of her loving nature,” chuckled Lindsay.

And the couple’s final thoughts….. “We are so grateful to the SPCA for bringing Nova into our lives and completing our family. Knowing that we were able to give Nova a forever home where she feels safe and loved is the best feeling ever. We encourage everyone to consider adopting a special needs pet. They may need some extra time and patience but they are just as sweet and deserving of love as other pets.  They will repay your love many times over.”


Understanding the commitment involved in adopting a special needs pet is crucial to a happy healthy relationship. There are important things to consider before adopting a pet with special needs.

  • Think about any long-term dietary requirements, special medications, or treatments your pet will need. Pets with behavioral issues may need special training; those with mobility challenges may need therapy or surgery. Ensure you can fit these costs into your family’s budget. 
  • Your pet may need medications/injections at specific times of day. Ensure you’re available to do this.
  • Talk with your family about the challenges that come with adopting a special needs pet and ensure everyone’s onboard.
  • Your pet may need more frequent vet visits. Pets with an injury or physical disability may need assistance with standing or walking. Some may need you to physically accompany them outside for bathroom breaks, as opposed to simply being let out.

The Nova Scotia SPCA makes every effort to place special needs pets with their perfect human match. Before deciding to adopt, speak to shelter staff since they’re familiar with the animal and consult with your vet to get a good understanding of the pet’s ongoing requirements. Whatever the pet’s special needs, the SPCA will be there before and after adopting to support you by providing information and advice.

Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.