Blind, neglected dog has safe haven for now

Shih Tzu in foster care until adopted

Breccan Rehard, 10, hugs Stevie. Breccan’s mom, Kyle Piekarzewski of Planned Pethood, and family are fostering Stevie.
Breccan Rehard, 10, hugs Stevie. Breccan’s mom, Kyle Piekarzewski of Planned Pethood, and family are fostering Stevie.

A neglected, blind Shih Tzu, whose eyes were so severely infected when he came into the Lucas County Dog Warden that both had to be removed, is now in a foster home, courtesy of Planned Pethood.

Kyle Piekarzewski of Maumee, the intake coordinator for the local rescue group, took Stevie into her home last week. She said he is getting along great with the other dogs in her house.

“Our other dogs don’t know what to make of him since he is very quiet and doesn’t know that they are around him until he feels them touch him,” she said. “They all can sense something is different about him, but everyone is still getting along great.”

Mrs. Piekarzewski said Stevie also might be hard of hearing.

“We are already developing ways we can communicate with him using vibration and touch to help him along,” she said. “We have other special-needs dogs in our house, so we are always thinking of how to give them the best life possible. Right now, though, Stevie is just super content laying with us on the couch and being close.”

Stevie has captivated Mrs. Piekarzewski’s 10-year-old son.

“I was telling him how there are lots of people really rooting for Stevie, and he thinks that is the coolest thing ever,” she said. “My son plays a big part in our family’s ability to foster and volunteer for PPI. He has already started helping work with Stevie, and he can't wait to tell others about how great Stevie is.”

The dog, whose claws were so long that they nearly curled into his paw pads, is estimated to be about 8 years old. He is seeking a permanent home through adoption.

Toledo police found the dog wandering on Magnolia Street on Jan. 27, with one seriously infected eye and the other eye severely damaged. The small dog was named Stevie by Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle after legendary singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, who is blind. No one came in to the Lucas County dog warden to claim the dog.

Besides his eye problems, Stevie has a heart murmur that can be treated with medication, the veterinarian said.

On Jan. 31, Dr. Jeanne Schmidlin of the Toledo Pet Farm performed surgery, which would normally cost about $1,500, at a major discount, Ms. Lyle said. The surgery was paid for with funds from Cutie’s Fund, a donation program the pound set up to aid dogs that need emergency care.

The warden’s office has taken in more than $35,000 since starting fund-raising efforts Nov. 28 for Cutie’s Fund, a program to help dogs that come into the pound with high-cost medical needs.

The fund has been helping dogs such as its namesake, a Chihuahua brought in during the middle of the night with a dead puppy lodged in her birth canal. The emergency-care bill for Cutie was more than $1,400.

The first $5,000 in public donations was matched by Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade. The fund was seeded with a $5,000 donation from John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, and Allan Block, chairman of BCI.

By contributing to Cutie’s Fund, animal lovers can make tax-deductible gifts to help with emergency and life-saving care and for the hospitalization of sick, injured, or mistreated dogs assisted by the dog warden’s office.

Donations may be made in person or mailed to the Lucas County Dog Warden, 410 S. Erie St., Toledo, 43604, or online at Checks should be made payable to the Lucas County Dog Warden with “for Cutie’s Fund” specified on the memo line.

Those interested in adopting Stevie can apply on the Planned Pethood Web site by filling out the application at or by calling 419-826-3499 for more information.

Blade animal welfare reporter Tanya Irwin adopted Cutie from the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office via the department’s regular adoption process.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: or 419-724-6066.