Dimitri the Shar Pei has had quite the life. First he survived a puppy mill and then when his health took a turn for the worst he managed to survive that and come out even stronger on the other side!
Dimitri was one of 280 dogs rescured from a puppy mill in Ohio back in 2012. He had limited vision when the Humane Society Of the United States first rescued him. Doctors explained that it was as though he was always looking through a muddy windshield.
But things weren't going well for him at his first foster home so he ended up moving into Sarah's apartment as a foster, but within a week he was adopted as part of her family. However one day things took a weird turn.
Dimitri was having a hard time adjusting to life outside of the puppy mill. He was incredibly nervous and any sudden noises would startle him. But over time he came to love his new home and even though he would get a few bumps from running into things, he was happy.
When Sarah noticed one day that his eyes were swollen, she brought him to the vet. "He had 80 percent eye pressure - a normal dog's eye pressure is 10 to 20 percent. So he basically had the headache from hell and wasn't showing it."
He was diagnosed with sudden-onset glaucoma and his eyes had to be immediately removed. Sarah was afraid of how Dimitri would react, but surprisingly he was "actually a lot happier without his eyes."
Sarah hopes that sharing his story will help convince people not to buy dogs online as it encourages these types of puppy mills that do not raise healthy animals. The breeder where they had found Dimitri and the other 279 dogs have previously faced animal cruelty charges in New Jersey and still managed to hurt a bunch more dogs when he moved to Ohio.
"This is why we need animal-protection issues taken seriously, because it's actually dogs that are suffering," Sarah said, "When you think of 280 dogs, it's a number, but that's 280 Dimitris.