Behind Asha’s beautiful eyes, is a story of survival.
But it’s hard to tell when she comes face to face with her friends at Aultman Hospital in Canton.
“This is her happy place,” said Tracy Richards Bryant of Northfield.
Bryant and Asha, a 6-year-old Australian Shepard, are a therapy team at the hospital’s Happy Trails program, visiting patients and familiar faces.
But Asha isn’t your ordinary four-legged friend. She was born deaf and blind.
“She’s a product of irresponsible breading. She’s what’s called a double merle, Australian Shepard.”
Not only was Asha born deaf and blind, but she suffers from epilepsy and severe anxiety.
About three years ago, Asha spent nearly a week in the intensive care unit at a hospital.
“I thought a lot about what her life had meant to us and should she survive, what her life would continue to mean.”
It was then that Tracy decided Asha’s life purpose was to make people smile and spread hope.
"She just has a connection that’s impossible to put into words."
We couldn’t far with Asha without witnessing that connection over and over again. The program has given Asha a new meaning to her life -- and a chance to offer hope to others.
“When you think that you’re at the end of the road, there’s always another opportunity and you never know when it’s going to present itself.”