Post # 1
I’ve written a few posts about how Darling Husband and I would like to adopt a puppy. Well, we went to Petsmart today to pick up some stuff for our cats, and they were having an adoption event. Front and center at the table with the shelter volunteers was a little Pekinese girl. When she turned around and saw her face, I immediately knew that something was wrong. The skin around one eye was pink and swollen. We went over to get a better look.
Helen, we learned, was owned by a family that would put her in the backyard and let a rooster attack her for their entertainment. A neighbor finally called animal control. That same kind neighbor notified a rescue group, and that’s how they were able to take possession of Helen, who was covered in peck wounds from the rooster. One of her eyes had already been pecked out, and the other one needed to be removed by the vet. The vet dubbed her Helen after Helen Keller because she is now completely blind.
Incredibly, despite all that cruelty, Helen was so ridiculously friendly. She spent a good forty-five minutes laying in my lap and getting a belly rub. She loved the attention.
The volunteers said that she had actually just left the vet’s office that morning, and they still don’t know a lot about her temperament. Although she was really sweet with us today, I don’t know if that’s the real Helen or not. She’s on a LOT of pain meds right now – not only did they operate on her eye, but she was spayed, had a hernia fixed, and is recovering from her other wounds, too – so she might not always be so quiet and laid back. Her blindness is also extremely new to her, and I’m sure that’s a huge adjustment. We would definitely need to meet her again in a few weeks when she’s feeling a bit better.
Darling Husband and I fell in love. We think we would be okay with a blind dog, but we want to know more about what sort of care is involved with a blind animal. I’m doing some research online, but I would love to hear about some of your personal experiences, too. Anyone?
Post # 3
No experience here, but I think she sounds like such an amazing and special dog. I know she will have a special and loving life with the both of you.
Post # 4
I’ve heard that you can get a second dog which acts as a “seeing eye dog” for her. I think the same general rules for living with blind people would apply, which would include not moving around your furniture and keeping the floor picked up so she can memorize your house and not get confused by things being where she’s not expecting them to be.
Post # 5
This story made me cry. I have no experience with blind animals, but I really hope that Helen gets a good home because she totally deserves it. Poor thing. That’s so sad. I can’t believe those people did that to Helen. How evil. 🙁
Post # 6
I have never had a blind pet, myself, but my dad grew up with a blind dog and one of my parents’ dogs now has only one working eye. It took the dog some time to adjust, and I know the situation isn’t the same because he can still see from one of them, but he is exactly the dog he’s always been.
But here is a site on blind dogs. It’s definitely an informal Web site, but it goes a long way toward allaying many worries over caring for a blind pet. One of the best things I saw on there was to wear something jingly on your ankle to let your dog know where you are when you’re moving.
Mostly, I wanted to comment on your worries that her temperament today might not be how she really is. In my experience with dogs (my whole 27 years, my family has had / I have had dogs every day of my life), when a dog is sweet and happy after surgery and on drugs, then they are truly a sweet and happy dog, anyway. Especially toward a stranger! When feeling that vulnerable and scared, being bumped from one horrible situation to one where she’s been cut open and had an eye removed, to being in a pet store, which is loud and unfamiliar, most dogs would have been shy and anxious and even acted defensive and angry. But she didn’t. I completely agree with your statement of needing to meet her again, just to be sure, but I think there’s a very, very good chance that the dog you met today is just the tip of the iceberg of a very amazing little girl.
Post # 7
@asscherlover: I’ve heard something similar. Unfortunately, we can neither afford nor have room for two dogs right now, so that’s probably out of the question. 🙁
I’m doing some research. As much as we loved her, we realize that she’s going to have special needs, and we may not be able to meet them. If not, we’ll just hope she finds another family that can meet them. She’s such a sweetie.
Post # 8
This story broke my heart. I wish you all luck with this. I have a Pekingese and he is my heart. Good luck!
Post # 9
They said she would be back there again tomorrow. I think we may go see her. I’ll see if I can snap a picture.
Post # 10
That’s so awful! I’m so glad she was rescued!
I think you should revisit Helen in a couple weeks, when she’s had some time to recuperate. However, if she was released from the vet’s office, I doubt her medication load is enough to drastically change her behavior. I think what asscherlover said about keeping her environment very stable is appropriate. Keep stairways closed or baby-gated off, fence the yard, keep the floor clean, etc.
Actually what really makes me want to cry is after all that, she is still so trusting and wants to be loved up and petted…
Edit: saw some of your updates. I don’t think that blindness in a dog is a special need that is prohibitively expensive. The resources she’ll need will be extra patience and maintaining a good environment. From what I’ve seen of your animal posts, I have no doubt that you can manage that just fine!
Post # 11
@risingsun: Exactly. When I read her background, I didn’t think there was any way she could ever be a normal dog. She curled right up in my lap, though. DH and I were definitely trying to brush away tears the whole time. She was so sweet.
She did almost kind of sort of nip at me once when I think I startled her. I hadn’t talked to her in a while, and then I suddenly touched the top of her head. I made sure to move a bit slower after that and to talk before I touched her, and it didn’t happen again.
Post # 12
Fiance has a blind and deaf border collie. Smarttest dog in the world. His only downfall is that he is terrified of thunderstorms, but whenever he is loved on during a thunderstorm, he is fine.
Post # 13
@brandybelle: Great to know! Thank you! I’m surprised that he’s scared of thunderstorms… I always thought they got scared because of the noise, but that shouldn’t bother your FI’s puppy!
If I might ask, how old was he when he went blind/deaf, and what special things does your Fiance do to help him?
Post # 14
Oh my god! Those people deserve to have their entrails ripped out by wild pigs. That’s disgusting…
Sounds like you will give her a loving home and I’m sure she will appreciate everything you do for her!
Post # 15
That story made me so sad. How can people be so cruel?
Post # 16
We have a husky mix who is blind. The situation is a little different because when my hubby first adopted him, he had sight and slowly went blind. We think he has PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).
There really isn’t a whole lot of extra care that I’ve found with him, but we have adjusted some of our behavior. We definitely do not move the furniture around and he responds very well to snapping fingers when he is in new or unfamiliar environments (he follows the sound). You have to let them know when to step up or down. Doobie has adjusted by using his ears to kind of ‘feel’ his way around new places. He lowers his head and uses his ears as a guide so he doesn’t bump into things. We have a one story house, so no stairs to deal with.
We still take him on hikes. For walks we make sure to keep him on fairly level ground (concrete, grass, dirt)-he has a hard time with any rocking terrain. If you are willing to take the time I think the dog will make a wonderful pet, although I do agree with PPs that you should interact with the dog once she’s off pain medication to get a better idea of personality. If you have any specific questions, I’m happy to try and answer them. 🙂
Gratuitous photo of Doobie: