Jack – Special Needs
March 12, 2019
Peyton – Special Needs
May 30, 2020
Jack – Special Needs
March 12, 2019
Peyton – Special Needs
May 30, 2020

Atlanta, GA

ESRA Special Needs Springers

ESRA INTAKE #2019-0375 GA and #2019-0376 GA
Ages: 7 years
Gender: Male and Female Bonded Pair
Color: Black and white / Liver and white
English Springer Rescue America, fundraising for blind dogs Bonnie and Billy

Billy (left) has kisses for Bonnie

Billy and Bonnie, fundraising for eye surgery, English Springer Rescue America

Billy and Bonnie: always together

ESRA is pleased to share with you the story of Billy and Bonnie. These sweet seven-year-olds were relinquished to a Georgia rescue when their elderly owner moved into a nursing home and was no longer able to care for her dogs. The rescue reached out to ESRA, knowing that we would be able to provide them with the care they desperately needed.

This case is very unique in that the dogs appear to be littermates, and both are afflicted with a genetic condition that has affected their vision. A veterinary ophthalmologist’s examination found that Bonnie has subluxated lenses in both of her eyes. The condition has been present for a while and has rendered her completely blind. Her left eye is no longer viable, and has shriveled and shrunken into the socket. Her right eye, while no longer able to see, is still intact. She is not exhibiting any signs of pain or discomfort. This sweet little miss relies on her buddy, Billy, to help guide her, and the two of them are extremely bonded.  

Billy’s case is slightly different. While he also has subluxation in his left eye, his right eye has been diagnosed with glaucoma, a painful condition that also greatly affects his vision. Thankfully, his left eye actually has good blood flow, which renders him an excellent candidate for cataract surgery to remove the affected lens and improve his vision. ESRA’s plan for these two is, first, to keep both dogs comfortable with ointments and drops.  

Billy has been scheduled for surgery on September 25th, both to remove the damaged right eye (a procedure known as enucleation) and to repair the left eye. We are hopeful that removal of the clouded lens in Billy’s left eye will provide him with much better vision than he has had in some time. When spending any amount of time with these two lovely Springers, it is quite obvious that Bonnie relies heavily on Billy. She follows him everywhere and he stays close at her side. It is our hope that by providing Billy with the procedure he needs for a brighter future (and much better vision), he will truly and literally become Bonnie’s “seeing eye dog.”

To meet these dogs is to instantly love them. They are both equally sweet and affectionate. They are appreciative of any love that is passed their way and thrive, not only on the bond that they share, but also with a human connection. Once Billy has recovered from his eye procedures, these two sweethearts will be relocating to Savannah, GA, for fostering until their Forever Family can be found. Any adopters fortunate enough to let these two into their heart and home will find themselves doubly blessed.

As with most of our Special Needs cases, the cost of Billy’s procedures does come with a financial commitment that ESRA has chosen to absorb. Your donations and support are appreciated and go a very long way to ensuring that we are able to continue assisting Springers like this adorable pair.

UPDATE 09/29/19:

ESRA Special Needs dogs Billy and Bonnie reunited after Billy's successful surgery

Reunited, post-surgery

Four days post-surgery and you would never guess that Billy has had major surgery to repair his vision. In fact, the only telltale sign would be the sutures that are permanently closing his right eye. He is doing amazing and seems to be free from pain. Even better than that -- he can SEE! The surgery was a success! Immediately after surgery the previous cloudiness in his left eye had diminished substantially. Within the past few days it has improved even more as the swelling has gone down. Billy is now truly Bonnie’s seeing eye dog, and we couldn’t be happier for them both.

These two sweet Springers have adapted so well in their temporary foster home. They have been perfect houseguests, getting along with everyone, including the two resident Springers. They rely on the comfort of each other, but are also often found seeking out their foster parents for their loving touch and snuggle time.

ESRA Special Needs dog Billy on the mend after cataract surgery

Billy on the mend

One peculiar fear that both Billy and Bonnie currently possess is that of slick floors. They seem quite unsure of hardwood floors and act like small children on ice skates for the first time. In time, with a little coaxing and plenty of treats as reinforcement, this feeling of insecurity is suspected to pass. But, honestly, the fear stops here! Both Bonnie and Billy have proven to be quite adventurous. They love exploring their surroundings and getting to know the lay of the land. Bonnie is also not afraid to venture off on her own. Even if she stumbles or bumps into things, she just shakes herself off and keeps on going.

We cannot stress enough how amazingly sweet both of these pups are. They are quite an amazing pair, so stoic and resilient to all that they have been through. Whoever adopts these two will be immediately smitten and will know very quickly what a joy and a blessing they are.

ESRA is grateful for the support, both financially and through everyone’s concern for this beautiful pair. Once again, because of your kindness and ESRA’s commitment to them, their lives have been forever changed.

UPDATE 10/07/19:

Porch buddies, Bonnie (Left) and Billy

Bonnie and Billy continue to make great strides in their foster environment. Both of them have come into their own, and are learning to explore with limited trepidation. Things that once caused them concern (like hardwood flooring) are now feats of accomplishment that no longer cause them any fear.

Billy will see his surgical team for suture removal this week, and his sight appears to be significantly enhanced by the cataract procedure. The way he trots around the house and yard lends us to believe that he can actually see very well.

Bonnie has an adventurous spirit and loves to investigate her surroundings and new things while she happily wags her little tail. Both of these Springers seem to realize that the future holds great things for them.

The 38-Foot Journey is a special report from Billy and Bonnie’s foster mom:

She did it - all by herself! During the night, as all her people and dog buddies were snoozing in the master bedroom, Bonnie made the scary trip on hardwood floors to join us. She was discovered this morning, next to her foster dad’s side of the bed. Foster sister Rosie was keeping watch, as always, by the entry; foster brother Sherlock was on his bed under some windows, and Billy was snoring on the floor on my side.

 What amazing progress for this pair of pups. I measured, and it was 38 feet on hardwood, from carpet to carpet, with TWO 90 degree turns! Bless her heart -- it is a strong and determined one. There’s nothing this little gal cannot do. All sense of fear, unstable living conditions, shyness has vanished from them both. They are real sports, eager to participate in our daily life, curious about our world, ready to rest when needed, eating well, lots of water, medications under control. So, whomever decides to adopt them could not be any luckier, as these pups are very loveable and eager to please. Do not tell them they are “special needs!”


Thanks to your generous support, their initial medical bills have been met by all of your kind donations. Your continued support of these two will ensure a beautiful new life for them both and we share our deepest gratitude.