82-year-old blind woman helps homeless dogs

SANTA FE (KRQE) - A well-known New Mexico photographer who lost her sight, has found a new passion in life and dogs love her for it. The people, Native American culture, and New Mexico’s scenery, are all things photographer Nancy Warren fell in love with when she moved to Santa Fe in the 1970s.

“It was like I’d come home for the first time in my life, and it’s never left me,” said Warren.

Her photos were published in books. But she can’t enjoy them anymore.

Warren’s life changed drastically in 1997 when a blood clot slowly darkened her world, until she went completely blind. Unable to work, Warren found another calling.

Each week Warren volunteers at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, sitting with homeless dogs.

“They’re less scared, and less lonely, at least for a little bit,” Warren explained. “I don’t pretend to have changed their lives, but I think I help them. Some of them anyway.”

She spends hours with dogs that haven’t been adopted. Some of them are timid, and afraid of people.

“She really brings them out of their shell, and she has a magic touch with them,” said Ben Swan, of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter.

Warren said she’s not afraid of the dogs no one’s wanted yet, like a 6-year-old pit bull, Clarissa, who’s been at the Shelter since April.

“Somebody has to let them know they’re loved, and that’s what I like to do is to love them,” said Warren.

Shelter workers say Warren has a gift, and helps animals become adoptable.

“Most of the people I know, I don’t know what they look like,” Warren explained. “And that’s kind of…I don’t like that.”

Despite her struggles, the Animal Shelter is a place Warren doesn’t need her eyes to know that she’s making a difference.

“It gives me a feeling of worth, I guess you could say,” said Warren. “I feel good about what I do.”

Warren volunteers at the shelter every Monday. She’s the only blind volunteer they have. Her photography is still available in book stores.

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