Tommy was born in 2005 and is the product of breeding two Blue Merle Shelties; which is a very bad combination. Because of the genetic lottery that comes from such breeding, Tommy was born blind and deaf…and very, very white.  His left eye can detect light and some motion very close to his face, but nothing else.

In his short life, this incredibly sweet and loving boy has already had several homes.  A wonderful woman in San Diego became aware of Tommy when his family realized they were not able to give him the attention that he deserved. This great friend of Sheltie Rescue retrieved Tommy and kept him for several days until Sheltie Rescue of Utah was able to arrange his flight.

Tommy arrived by plane from California and contrary to expectations, did not arrive a frightened dog.  He walked out of his create with his head held up high and his ears forward, clearly saying “OK, world, I’m here! Now what do we do?”  It was immediately clear that Tommy has no idea that he’s disadvantaged in any way whatsoever!

In only a few hours, his foster family fell totally in love with this guy.  He might be blind and deaf, but he is not disabled! Not by a long shot.  He’s fearless and loves to meet new people and explore new surroundings.  He has a nose like a bloodhound and actually “sees” his world through scent.

He readily goes up and down the stairs, plays with other dogs and sometimes with toys.  He loves to cuddle and can be quite demanding when dinner is a little late!  He barks like dogs with sight and hearing, but he also makes extremely cute “chirping” noises when he’s talking to himself or asking somebody to give him a pat.

Tommy gets along very well with others and could have a fantastic career as a Therapy Dog.  Just imagine the inspiration he could be to children and adults who have been injured, are very ill or are disabled!

Tommy even has a skill…he knows how to pull a cart!  Generous friends got together to donate training, a custom-made harness & a cart for Tommy to use.  In mid-2010, Tommy participated along with five other Shelties (all with normal sight and hearing) in a carting demonstration at the ASSA National Specialty show in Tucson, AZ!  Needless to say, he was a major hit!

Sheltie Rescue of UT has had many wonderful people contact them about adopting Tommy, but he needs a family that will be around him most of the day and night.  It is important that there are enough people and activity in his day to stimulate him physically since he doesn’t receive the same stimulation that other dogs get through their ears and eyes.

Tommy is a wonderful representative of Shelties in general, rescue Shelties in particular, and especially carting Shelties.  He is a wonderful, intelligent, and gorgeous boy who wants nothing more than to have somebody to love and to be loved.

Think you might be his special person?  Contact Sheltie Rescue of UT for more information & to learn more about the rescue, visit the blog.

27 Responses to “Tommy: Utah Sheltie Rescue”

  1. man who is crying

    every so often i come back here an look at tommy and im like oh yeah babey thats a cool dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Isabella McFarlin

    Benedictus. Blessings to Tommy and to all the wonderful people here who have love and care and support to offer him, even at a distance.
    I never knew that merle-to-merle breeding could create this problem. I can’t believe people would do this kind of breeding on purpose when they know it could create a dog who will either have these difficulties or perhaps worse, will be culled. It’s disgusting that some breeders think they have the right to make things so much more difficult for these beautiful dogs. I hope Tommy finds the perfect home! I’m sure he will.

    Thank you all! Please give Tommy a hug and a pat for me and my two Shelties– Lucky who has passed on, and Max, very much with us in the here and now.

  3. man who is crying

    i want everyone reading this to know that i am literally not exaggerating when i say i would die for tommy. he is the best boy and a chonker and i love him

  4. Barbara

    This is a wonderfull dog but a product of a breeder who does not consider the consequences of bad breeding. He should be ashame.

  5. Cheryl Butchko

    My sheltie Banner was one of the Shelties that joined Tommy in doing the carting demo at the Sheltie National in Tucson, Arizona. We had a great time and I must say Tommy is as wonderful as they say he is…
    Banner and I were honored to have met such a wonderful dog.

  6. SheltieJim

    I’m the very lucky guy who is Tommy’s foster dad. I’m so grateful to Sheltie Nation for this story about Tommy, who really is a very, very special guy. He is usually very happy, which he demonstrates by dancing around in circles, barking and chirping. Unfortunately, we are the primary foster home for Sheltie Rescue of Utah and frequently have more than 20 Shelties in the house. Not all of those Shelties are well-mannered and they sometimes crowd Tommy, bumping into him, stepping on him, etc., which makes him self-protective and sometimes a bit grouchy.

    But Tommy is fully house-trained, totally reliable. He loves his crate, but also hangs out at my desk when I’m working. He gets along very well with other dogs (at least until they are too rude towards him). He loves to go for walks and relatively short hikes, too.

    Michele, Jo, and Brittani (prior commenters) have the great joy of living with a double-merle Sheltie, too. Tommy is such an inspiration and offers plenty of love, but also great learning opportunities in understanding how others think and feel.

    I’m very grateful to Otter for his/her explanations of issues related to merle breedings. In fact, we suspect that at least one of Tommy’s parents was a sable merle and the other either a blue merle or a sable merle. Breeders who deliberately do merle-to-merle breedings often choose to immediately cull the deaf and/or blind puppies. We’re very luck that Tommy’s breeder didn’t do that, but found him a great first home. It’s unfortunate that he couldn’t stay in that home forever, but it’s our great fortune that he came to us.

  7. Tami

    I have filled out an application to adopt Tommy and talked to Barbara as well. I live in Southern Il. Tommy’s in Utah. They really want to be able to do a home visit and stuff which I think they should! Since thats not possible, I’ve been racking my brain and then…..DUH! We have a sheltie rescue in IL! If I could adopt him…. they could do the home check and report back to the Utah rescue team! I think he is an awesome dog that needs a forever home and with my family and I… Tommy would never want for anything …..espcially love!

    • Judy

      Good luck Tami. Sounds like you are ready & willing to go the extra mile to adopt sweet Tommy. I hope all goes well. And I’m sure Tommy would love another Sheltie to spend time with. Keep us posted.

      • Tami

        Well so far no luck but Im gonna keep after Barbara! I do understand her apprehension though. As special of a baby as he is I would be very careful too! Plus I live so far away! I believe he and my Sheltie “Chopper” would make good buddies. He is a very good boy and loves to play with other dogs. My family would love to have him too! Although John thinks we would have to get a bigger bed since Choppers on the large size as well! (35.5 lbs) But whoever gets him, I hope they post updates on him so we can see how he is getting along!

  8. Judy

    Tommy is absolutely an angel on earth. Whoever is lucky enough to have the time and resources to be able to share his life will be truly blessed, I wish it could be me. Please keep us at Sheltie Nation updated on Tommy’s
    progress. I know we’ll all be praying for him. And in my book, Tommy is not disabled….he’s PERFECT!!

  9. jack eames

    I would love to have Tommy in my home with my other 2 Shelties , I know they would get along good. But I am unable to have any more.
    All Shelties have a wonderful soul but I beleive Tommy has a special soul. I saw Tommy in person at the book club signing and I could see what a special Sheltie he is. I am sure the person who adopts Tommy will be blessed many times over. What a privilege it would be to have Tommy in ones home. I hope that special person finds Tommy soon!

  10. Becky

    Sweet baby boy. I will pray for a miracle family for him. I wish I could have him for a therapy dog.

  11. JGS


  12. Byron

    It’s a crime to crossbreed and these poor dogs are doomed to suffer through no fault of their own. We have 3 rescued shelties, one of which is a double merle but thankfully she is ok, other than being extremely shy and terrified of noises. I just wish that there is a law that regulates breeders and prevents “experiments” in breeding. Good luck to Tommy.

    • Otter

      @Byron: sometimes people do double merle breedings by accident, out of ignorance, or because they have a sable merle that doesn’t look merle (which is why sables are not usually bred to merle dogs – as an adult, many sable merles appear to be sable) but it is also done on purpose, because if you breed a double merle back to a black dog – either tricolor or biblack – you get all healthy blue merle puppies, 100%, every time because genetically there is no other color that can be produced from a double-merle to black breeding. So while most knowledgeable breeders will not do a merle-to-merle breeding, unethical puppy millers don’t care; if they think they can sell more puppies becasue of blue merle color, they’ll do a merle to merle breeding without regard to health or temperment of the parents purely to get a double merle which will produce all blue puppies. Occasionally a knowledgeable breeder who wants to show AOAC dogs will do a merle-to-merle breeding if both parents are outstanding representatives of the breed and cross-fault well, and there are several very well known Register of Merit sires within the breed who are/were double merles. In my experience it’s more an exception than a rule among show breeders though, because responsible breeders realize that the double merle they get might or might not turn out breeding-quality, and if they don’t, then they’re faced with having to find a good home for possibly blind/deaf pups, which is difficult, or keeping a dog as a pet when they likely already have many dogs. Responsible breeders either keep or find good homes for every single pup they produce, and that is why it’s not that common among ethical breeders (and you can make an excellent argument that merle-to-merle breeding is NEVER ethical.)

      Blue merle pups are not rare nor should anyone ever pay more just because a puppy is blue merle. A blue merle x black dog breeding is statistically likely to produce 25% of pups that are blue merle; could be all blue, could be none in a given litter but there are tons of blue merle dogs so obviously it is not difficult to get this color without doing merle-to-merle.

  13. Tami

    I’l take him! If he could handle livin with another sheltie!? What a sweetie pie!

  14. Jo

    We have a double merle female, Roxie. She is a sweet, curious and very loving dog. We got her from a rescue group here in Michigan.

    I hope Tommy finds his forever home soon.

  15. Michele French

    Oh what an inspirational story! I loved reading it. As an owner of a blind & deaf double merle,how well I can relate to thier curiosity & determination!

    Our sheltie is almost 10 months,a rescue also.Her name is Mia

  16. Debbie Gilbert

    Tommy’s story is inspirational, and I am glad he is able to get along so well.

    But I wish some people would be more careful about which dogs are bred to each other, so that genetic defects are not passed along to the next generation.

  17. Bobbie

    I have had the great good fortune to spend some time with Tommy (both my rescued shelties are from Sheltie Rescue of Utah). He is calm, loving, curious, and gorgeous. He came to my book launch for my book, A DOG’S WAY HOME. Even though there were close to 100 people there (and other dogs!), he was relaxed and engaged. I want SOOOO much for Tommy to find a home!

  18. Paige Thomas

    Absolutely beautiful! I wish I still had children at home, or that my oldest son, who is deaf, had a family already so he could take him in and love him. Right now I don’t think there would be enough stimulation. My heart wishes for Tommy a very special angel!

  19. donna woods

    i never believed these pups are disadvantaged. i have thought if i had the financial means to do so, i would love to have a few of these pups myself. he can still live a full life. after all, he is a dog and doesn’t realize he cannot see or hear like otter, if only i had tons of money, no animal or kid would be without a warm loving home. God bless his foster parents!

  20. Otter

    Wow, what a great dog. I wonder why his families have given him up? Is he housebroken? Times like this make me wish I were independently wealthy and didn’t have to work. :-( I hope he finds an awesome home soon.

  21. Francine

    I wish for him that a super special human comes into Tommy’s life and allows him to share his heart. The heart will overcome anything and joy will reign.


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