"Crooze on, Croozer": Blind Elk Grove dog inspires children's book
ELK GROVE — Croozer, a blind blue heeler, is helping the world "see" things from a whole new perspective.
The pup's story of resilience now serves as inspiration for a new children's book by author Peg Sundberg.
Croozer and Sundberg were in Elk Grove to share their book, "Crooze on, Croozer." The book, written from the pup's perspective, takes readers through the true story of Croozer's adventures and challenges in navigating his blindness.
In January 2020, a 5-year-old Croozer wandered into a New Mexico landfill. Someone picked him up and brought him to Amazing Grace Pet Rescue. When he got to the clinic, he was suffering from serious conditions in each of his eyes.
The rescue teamed up with Dog is my CoPilot, a nonprofit that transports at-risk animals from overcrowded shelters to adoption centers where loving families are waiting.
Croozer landed in Denver, Colo., and began his healing process. He received enucleation surgery. Both of his eyes were removed and he moved in with a foster family for rehabilitation.
In March 2020, Suzi Roberts and her family were looking for an addition to their family. After seeing Croozer's squinty eyes and big smile, the family knew the dog was for them.
However, the struggles for Croozer continued. He came down with Leptospirosis; his kidney and liver were shutting down. Within the first 24 hours, the Roberts family had exhausted their savings on Croozer's treatment. The Roberts were desperate as they tried to figure out how to pay the massive bill coming their way. They spent the next day praying for a miracle.
They were referred to Friends of Elk Grove Animal Shelter's Paws for a Purpose, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting with emergency and dental funding for pets. The overall bill for Croozer's care was around $10,000. June LaVine, the president of Paws for a Purpose, stepped in to make sure the Roberts' lack of funds didn't determine Croozer's destiny.
The family's prayers were answered. Croozer was resilient; after four days of an up-and-down battle, he recovered. He now hikes, plays fetch and receives belly rubs from his forever family --- and everyone his story touches.
Sundberg is now traveling to schools across the country to share Croozer's story, with the message that the things that make you different can often be your "superpower."
Sundberg says royalties from the book sales will be donated to the nonprofits that collectively saved Croozer.
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