A dog who overcame adversity is teaching others to do the same.
Noah was discovered at a backyard breeder in California. Born with no eyes and deformed hind legs, the bichon poodle mix struggled to survive. He had to drag himself around and really couldn’t compete with his two siblings for food.
Rescued from his filthy conditions by Saving K9 Lives, Noah weighed only two pounds at the time and was extremely scared.
Everything Rosy, a group focused on raising awareness about backyard breeders, posted an image of the dog on its Facebook page. While some may shun away from helping Noah, Lisa Marie felt an instant connection.
“It was a visceral response of ‘I need that dog.’ It didn’t take but five minutes before I started an application,” the Wisconsin nurse and kindergarten teacher told PEOPLE.
After an extensive vetting process, Saving K9 Lives gave the go ahead for Lisa Marie to adopt Noah.
Lisa Marie helped Noah when he needed it the most, and he perhaps understood this and is now paying it forward.
“I found out that Noah has a really unique personality,” she told the outlet. “He only wants to sit on your lap with his head in your neck, so heart-to-heart, neck-to-neck. He does not want to be held any other way.”
This sort of special hug has helped people in nursing homes, providing love to those needing it the most.
“The first time we went to a nursing home I didn’t know what to expect. This little old woman, who was in the dementia unit, hadn’t spoken for so long, and when Noah got into her lap she started to grunt. It was at that point that I knew that he had something,” Marie told the outlet.
Noah is also trying to have an impact on bullying by visiting schools. When children meet Noah, their first reaction is how different Noah is from other dogs. Lisa Marie then explains he can do the same things as other pups — including jumping and playing. The students begin to see Noah for himself and not something to be stared at.
“Noah has unique looks, so we also discuss differences. Everyone is different,” she states. “Some more than others. Noah sends the message that even though someone looks different, we all have the same needs, and we are no less important because of our looks.”
Because of Noah’s story and everything he has done for the community, he is a semi-finalist for Emerging Hero Dog Award at the American Humane Associations Hero Dog Awards