Princess and Chip

Princess and Chip overcoming the odds

Princess and Chip were ten weeks old and ready to be spayed and neutered at the Rescue’s office in Princeton. But with an exam prior, we discovered that Princess and Chip were blind. You certainly couldn’t tell looking at them. Chip was the runt of the litter but would still run and play – although clumsily, while Princess had gorgeous icy blue eyes and seemingly got around just fine. We were all shocked, including their foster parents, Mary and Matt, who are veteran rez (reservation) dog fosters.

During their appointment with an eye specialist, Mary sat on the floor, holding Princess’s paw with Chip by her side. When they got the news that Princess and Chip had congenital retinal detachment, Mary was shocked and devastated.

Princess and Chip, with their foster sibling before their procedure.

Their retinas couldn’t surgically reattach, and they were both destined to have painful glaucoma, with Chip already suffering from it at a few months old. It was an agonizing decision, but the best option for Chip and Princess long-term was to remove their eyes. Mary and Matt said goodbye to the faces they were so familiar with and prepared themselves for a challenging recovery post-op.

With supplies, medication, and emotional support from RSR staff and volunteers, the couple tended to every whimper and excruciating howl that exited Princess and Chip’s mouths. The puppies didn’t understand what was happening. They couldn’t hear or smell while wearing their cones, which they heavily relied on to function. 

While Matt and Mary were seasoned caregivers for pets with special needs, this was something that they hadn’t experienced as they looked at their beloved foster puppies with big stitches where their eyes used to be. As they persevered, keeping the puppies comfortable, they knew without a doubt that this would be the best outcome for the rez puppies. 

Princess and Chip, with their foster sibling before their procedure.

The couple quickly realized that Chip and Princess belonged in their home as part of their family. They have four other rez dogs and one international dog that already took in the puppies as their own. The pack was just waiting for Mary and Matt to catch on. 

Princess, months after her surgery.

Chip, months after his surgery.

Princess and Chip working on obedience training.

Finding the Perfect Fit 

Princess and Chip fit in seamlessly like it was meant to be, giving each other confidence as they live their lives without sight. They have a whole acre of fenced-in yard to play in, a pile of toys to shred, and a pack of dogs to show them the ropes of being top-notch pups. Having them stay just made sense for Matt and Mary.

Chip tilts his head back and forth, and Princess’s ears straighten even further when the couple sings to them. Plus, Princess and Chip are the best students in their puppy classes, where they get weird looks, but their upbeat attitudes quickly dampen that. Mary and Matt put in a lot of effort and tears caring for Princess and Chip with the help of Ruff Start Rescue. They could lean on each other and experienced a bond they weren’t expecting through caring for them. More often than not, we see that fostering impacts people as much as it does pets in need. 

Ruff Start’s mission is to save the lives of at-risk animals, and we’ve done just that since 2010, saving over 14,000 in need. Please join us in this life-saving work by donating! Your support makes saving dogs like Chip & Princess possible.