Lifestyle & Human Interest

Blind Dog with Cleft Nose Rescued from Puppy Mill in Running To Be Made into a Children's Toy


If people who have physical deformities suffer (and they do), how much more a malformed animal? At least human beings have a voice.

But animals find themselves entirely at the mercy of others. Fortunately, one disabled doggo who survived a puppy mill is now thriving and might actually go on to help others.

According to The Hamilton Spectator, a 3-year-old American Eskimo puppy named Ashton started off his life in quite the bind. Though he had the blindingly white coat of his breed, his other physical attributes took him out of the luxury puppy market.

Ashton had a cleft palate, and the cranial cleft made it look as though he had two noses. He was also blind.

Few potential owners would want to take on a pup with such challenges. Little Ashton could’ve ended up with a very short life indeed.

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The Humane Society of Erie County caught wind of the puppy and took him under its wing. From there, he went to Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary, but that wasn’t the end of Ashton’s journey.

He would find his forever home with Leah Hawkins. “I had never fostered a special needs dog and was worried he might get injured, or my other dogs would pick on him,” she admitted.

“But he has been amazing. He has completely opened my heart to the plight of special needs dogs.”

She also told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, “I could tell right from the start he was a spunky little dude that let nothing get in his way.”

Hawkins refers to his split nose as a “cinnamon bun nose” and said that “he might not have eyes but he sure opened mine!”

Hawkins added, “This dog is happy morning till night he’s even happy getting shots at the vets office lol! His sheer love of life is contagious.”

Indeed, Ashton became part of the family in no time. Modern Dog reported that he acquired all of the accouterments of a duly adopted doggo.

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“They say I was a ‘foster fail,'” Ashton’s profile reads. “I live with my 3 fur brothers and a fur sister arriving May 7th from Morocco.”

In actuality, calling the dog a “fail” is anything but true. He quickly memorized the interior of Hawkins’ house.

“He knows where all the trees are outside,” she added. Ashton has also caught the attention of a very special company.

On its website, Pibborafi Inc. describes itself, saying, “In late 2015, a group of veteran toy designers from Italy, Iceland, the United States and England collaborated on a collection of lightweight, palm-sized children’s toys designed after real-life rescued dogs. The toys would also be passed along to rescues and shelters to be used for fundraising.”

Ashton could very well become the next face of the organization. “Our mission is to support and encourage rescuing and adopting your pets,” CEO Darrin Wilson said, “not buying them.”

Voting opened on May 29, and if you would like to vote for Ashton, you can go to the nominations post, like it, and then comment with Ashton’s IG handle: ash_ton_o_love.

Hawkins is thrilled that Ashton could become a plushie and help out a good cause. And her interest goes beyond mere fame.

“I think it’s an awesome opportunity,” she said. “I love promoting rescue dogs and the funds from the plush toys go back to rescues so I feel that’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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