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Costa Mesa man seeks new home for blind dog after owner’s death

Paul Hoffman holds Buddy, a 14-year-old blind dog on Thursday, November 29. Hoffman has taken in Bud
Paul Hoffman of Costa Mesa holds Buddy, a 14-year-old blind dog whom Hoffman took in after the death of his owner.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

A Costa Mesa man is looking for a permanent home for his new blind four-legged companion after the death of its owner.

“He just needs to be cuddled,” said Paul Hoffman, 57, who took in Buddy, the pet of a childhood friend who recently committed suicide.

For the record:
7:15 PM, Dec. 07, 2018 This article originally reported incorrectly that Hoffman’s veterinarian’s office put him in touch with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It actually was the Orange County SPCA, which is not affiliated with any other SPCA.

Hoffman, a car transport supervisor and dog lover, has been caring for Buddy for a week along with his own Jack Russell terrier, Max, since Buddy was released from Costa Mesa animal control to a family member of the deceased owner. The family member wasn’t able to take the dog in.

Buddy is a small mixed breed who is house-trained, mellow, docile and “cuddly,” Hoffman said. He’s blinded by cataracts in both eyes and needs a home with someone who can provide the care and attention he deserves, Hoffman said.


Dr. Anthony Rizk, a veterinarian who gave Buddy a clean bill of health at the Costa Mesa Animal Shelter, estimated he’s 14 years old.

Though he’s getting up in age, Buddy is a “good walker” and quickly acclimated to life with another dog, Hoffman said. His previous owner was retired and Buddy is accustomed to having a companion who’s around all the time, Hoffman said.

His veterinarian’s office put Hoffman in touch with the Orange County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which will help cover the cost of dental treatments for Buddy.

But Hoffman says he can’t give the level of care Buddy needs while having his own pet.


Coupons helped curb the cost of feeding two dogs, Hoffman said, and his longtime veterinary hospital discounted the cost of a check-up for Buddy, who badly needed his nails trimmed. Nevertheless, the routine visit cost $200, Hoffman said.

Though he wants to match Buddy with the right person, Hoffman is at a loss as to how to do it.

“I don’t want to put him in a kennel situation,” he said, noting that Buddy has already been in the animal shelter and other short-term care.

“You would think there would be more avenues,” Hoffman said. “What would an average Joe do?”

Older animals like Buddy can make great companions for people looking to adopt a pet, said Christy Hammond, an adoption specialist at Priceless Pets, a Chino Hills-based animal rescue organization and adoption center that is contracted by the Costa Mesa Animal Shelter to board and seek adoption for pets that aren’t claimed by owners. It plans to open an adoption center in Costa Mesa next week.

Buddy, a 14-year-old blind dog sits in his bed on Thursday, November 29. Paul Hoffman has taken in B
Buddy sits in his bed Thursday at the Costa Mesa home of Paul Hoffman, who is trying to find a permanent place for him to live.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The death of an owner is hard on an animal, Hammond said.

“The dog is lacking his owner’s presence,” she said, adding that some animals in that situation go into a “depressed state.”


Since Buddy is accustomed to having an owner who’s home frequently, a similar setting might be beneficial.

“We look for continuity,” Hammond said.

Hammond believes Buddy would be “great in a home with older children … who understand boundaries with the dog.”

Older animals generally need less active care, unless they have medical conditions, and are “almost always house-mannered,” Hammond said.

“We love to place our senior dogs with active seniors,” she said.

Anyone interested in helping Buddy find a new home can email Hoffman at