Specially built 'halo' protects blind dogs from injuries, trauma - Albuquerque Journal

Specially built ‘halo’ protects blind dogs from injuries, trauma

Muffin, 14 and blind, wears a “halo” created by Silvie Bordeaux that  encircles a dog’s head and prevents blind pets from running into walls and furniture. The halo is made of lightweight copper tubing that attaches to cloth wings and a harness fitted around the neck and chest. (Nick Ut/The Associated Press)
Muffin, 14 and blind, wears a “halo” created by Silvie Bordeaux that encircles a dog’s head and prevents blind pets from running into walls and furniture. The halo is made of lightweight copper tubing that attaches to cloth wings and a harness fitted around the neck and chest. (Nick Ut/The Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES – One pet owner made a promise when her toy poodle fell ill and his vision started to dim. If her dog lived, she would help him overcome any disabilities and give a paw up to other pooches in the process.

Silvie Bordeaux of Los Angeles kept that vow after Muffin survived a cancer scare but lost his sight. She created Muffin’s Halo Guide for Blind Dogs, a device that encircles a dog’s head and prevents blind pets from running into walls and furniture.

“If the halo hits the wall first, it will slow them down,” said Dr. Christin Fahrer from Eye Care for Animals in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles. That will minimize trauma to the face, the veterinarian said.

The halo is made of lightweight copper tubing that attaches to cloth wings and a harness fitted around the neck and chest. Other products do similar work, such as the infamous cone, known for its use after surgery to protect wounds or stitches, and vests and headbands that also have a piece encircling the head to deter collisions.

They are among a multitude of products peddled to pet owners confronting canine old age, disabilities and injuries. Companies make walkers and lifts or one-of-a-kind mobility equipment for dogs with joints that ache or no longer work.

Sochi, a 4-year-old blind sheltie, wearing Muffin’s Halo after brain surgery.  Worried that her dogs, Muffin and Chloe, were going blind, Silvie Bordeaux created Muffin’s Halo Guide for Blind Dogs. (Teresa Abbuhl/The Associated Press)
Sochi, a 4-year-old blind sheltie, wearing Muffin’s Halo after brain surgery. Worried that her dogs, Muffin and Chloe, were going blind, Silvie Bordeaux created Muffin’s Halo Guide for Blind Dogs. (Teresa Abbuhl/The Associated Press)

Dog stairs allow older pets to get on beds or sofas and ramps help them into the car. But some owners improvise, making slings, homemade wheelchairs or tripod lifts so they can hoist dogs with ailing hips or missing limbs up stairs or over obstacles.

Whether ready-made or owner-constructed, the products can prevent old or hobbled dogs from being turned into shelters, where euthanasia is likely a given. Bordeaux had shelter dogs in mind when launching her line of halos, thinking their chances of adoption would improve if they used the product.

“It might help shelter pets more than average pets in some ways because their environment is constantly in flux,” said Fahrer, the veterinarian.

But she said blind dogs don’t think about their lack of sight – they just adapt and move on.

“We are the ones who struggle with the concept of our pets being blind,” Fahrer said. “We struggle with what it would be like for us. Our pets don’t drive or read, but we use our vision every moment of every day. It’s a different world for them.”

Bordeaux set up a nonprofit to get her halos to blind dogs in shelters and rescues. The devices range from $70 to $130, and come in different designs, such as angel’s wings, butterflies and football uniforms.

“They can eat and sleep and play and run with it on,” Bordeaux said. “It’s like their superpowers.”

When a blind dog wears a halo, it holds its head higher, its gait changes and its spirits soar, said Los Angeles dog trainer Bronwyne Mirkovich, who volunteers for the American Maltese Association Rescue.

When you put the device on her dog named Max, “it’s like putting an action-hero suit on a little boy,” Mirkovich said. “It’s like he’s bumping with a shield or cane, he’s super confident.”

Home » Life in NM » Fetch! » Specially built ‘halo’ protects blind dogs from injuries, trauma


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Blake’s caters to ‘heat-loving customers’ with new buffalo-flavored offering
ABQnews Seeker
‘Buffalo chicken boat’ will be available ... ‘Buffalo chicken boat’ will be available Monday
2
I-25 Studios to become Cinelease Studios
ABQnews Seeker
It's official. After years of being ... It's official. After years of being for sale, I-25 Studios is becoming Cinelease Studios. The deal was announced on Wednesday as the longtime company ...
3
Los Padillas born-and-bred CEO back at home plate
ABQnews Seeker
Robert Chavez and Youth Development Inc. ... Robert Chavez and Youth Development Inc. have the deepest of bonds.    Same goes for ...
4
Old Town Cafe fills empty La Placita location
ABQnews Seeker
When Michelle La Meres saw that ... When Michelle La Meres saw that the historic Casa de Armijo was up for sale this January, she knew she was meant to have ...
5
Pelvic floor therapy clinic opens in Journal Center
ABQnews Seeker
When physical therapist Tara McCarthy Sanford ... When physical therapist Tara McCarthy Sanford first learned about pelvic floor therapy, she decided it was her 'sole purpose in life.' And now, as ...
6
Out, not in: Burger chain confirms it's not coming ...
ABQnews Seeker
Despite years of rumors and speculation ... Despite years of rumors and speculation over whether ...
7
Tiny no more: ABQ grocer partners with sandwich shop ...
ABQnews Seeker
Tiny Grocer ABQ is about to ... Tiny Grocer ABQ is about to get a little bit bigger. The grocery store, which once stocked a minute ...
8
Polio detected in NYC's sewage, suggesting virus circulating
Health & Safety
The polio virus has been found ... The polio virus has been found in New York City's wastewater in another sign that the disease, which hadn't been seen in the U.S. ...
9
J&J to end sales of baby powder with talc ...
Health & Safety
Johnson & Johnson is pulling baby ... Johnson & Johnson is pulling baby powder containing talc worldwide next year after it did the same in the U.S. and Canada amid thousands ...