'He's got a zest for life': Blind and deaf dog finds home

Joe Padgett was a Greenhill Humane Society volunteer and dog walker when he met Emmett, a blind and deaf dog who found a home with Joe. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Joe Padgett was a Greenhill Humane Society volunteer and dog walker last November. That's where he met Emmett.

Emmett, a friendly, fluffy white dog, is both deaf and blind. For most of his life, he was in and out of shelters, or on the streets. But after a stay at Deaf Dogs of Oregon in Portland, and then moving to Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene, he met Joe Padgett.

And they clicked.

"He's got a zest for life that's very, very high," Padgett says.

Padgett adopted Emmett, but first he made sure both his motor-home and van were safe for Emmett. He installed carpeting in his motor-home and built a ramp so Emmett could get in an out of his van easily.

"Being how Emmett is blind and deaf, I've had to kind of do a few different things for handling him," Padgett says.

Padgett takes Emmett to Orchard Point for his run almost every day, although Emmett's daily run is different than most dogs': Padgett hooks up Emmett to a harness and 40-foot rope. Then, he takes Emmett to a field and lets him run in wide circles until he's tired out.

"I'm basically a pivot, and he runs around me and hopefully not over me," Padgett says.

Padgett says he and Emmett bonded at Greenhill. He says owning a blind and deaf dog takes a little more work, but it's absolutely worth it.

"There's a perception that he'd be a lot more trouble to take care of than a sighted, hearing dog. And that has just not been the case," Padgett says.

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