He was discarded along a road, not yet weaned from his mother. He was also blind. From there he was taken to a shelter where he was shortly put to sleep. The only reason for this was the misconception that a blind dog has a low quality of life.

Where the shelter was and the people involved with the decision aren't really important. These opinions are not isolated to any one area or country for that matter. It's hard to understand the potential a blind dog has unless you have known, seen or loved a blind dog before. That's why the true "experts", the people who live and love blind dogs, saw the need to let everyone know what it's like living and loving their blind dogs.

Although it maybe too late for this puppy, we hope it will help save other puppies and dogs in the future and also the people that are faced with the same question .....What quality of life can a blind dog/puppy have?

We dedicate this page to the puppy with no name, who made a difference in the short time he was on this earth and also to the dedicated shelter worker Ann who sought to change things so other animals will have a chance in the future.

Sugar and Spice and their Courageous Destinies

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana, we had no idea how it would change our lives way over in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Not too many people know it, but back in 2005 the Humane Society of Broward County moved literally hundreds of abandoned dogs from New Orleans to their facility in South Florida.

We already have two Lapsos that we adore, Billy Boy and Trooper, but my wife, Barbara, wanted so badly to adopt a rescue dog from New Orleans. So, off we went to the Humane Society to "save a Katrina dog".

We were so lucky in that we were given a beautiful female Yorkie. We took her home and low and behold we had a dog that was so traumatized that whenever we went near her she would try to bite us. Barbara was devastated and we tried so hard for the next few days to no avail. So, we gave up and had to take her back to the Humane Society. Barbara sat in the car, in tears, while I brought the little Yorkie back.

The wonderful people at the Humane Society told me that because of the volume of dogs from New Orleans they could not properly process every pet and this little Yorkie would need to go to a foster home to be socialized and she should never have been adopted.

I asked if they had another little dog? They said "not exactly, but bring your wife in we have something to show her". So, I dragged my wife out of the car and had her wait in the Executive Director’s office.

The Humane Society Director came in with two of the most beautiful twin girl Bijons we have ever seen and stated that if we don't adopt them both they will, most likely, be separated. So, off we went with our two new children "Sugar and Spice".

We were so happy to have these sweet, lovable girls and they got along so well with our Billy and Trooper. Spice Girl, the smallest of the pack, would jump all over me and wake me up every morning with a million kisses. What a fur family. I told Barbara, my wife, how lucky we were to have four wonderful and loving dogs.

But wait the story doesn’t stop there. Our little Spice girl recently came down with Sards, an instant form of total canine blindness. We searched the internet and contacted a world renowned Sards expert Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic at the University of Iowa for help. We even had an experimental procedure performed under his direction with our Ophthalmologist Veterinarian Dr. Tina Pellicane at Camelot Animal Hospital in Davie Florida. Unfortunately, Spice was in the 50% that doesn't show improvement.

Even with all our efforts, our baby, Spice Girl, was permanently blind. We were devastated and I even asked God how he could be so cruel to make a lovable, sweet girl like Spice go blind? All we could do is love our baby and help her through her blindness. I went to www.blinddogs.com and learned so much about how to live and care for a blind dog. We did everything, we learned from the website, to make her life easier and as normal as possible. But our Spice girl took it so much better than we did and her positive approach and courage set an example for Barb and myself. We cried while she took her blindness in stride, never gave up trying, her tail always wagging and she gave us new hope. Then, I realized maybe God did send little Spice girl to us for a reason, as he knew she would go blind and she needed us to help her through her affliction and we needed her to love us back.

Spice is doing so well now, if I didn't tell you she is blind you would think she has perfect sight ... and oh, yes .... did I mention Spice Girl still wakes me up every morning with a million kisses.

I remember something I read when I was younger that "every little boy has the best dog in the world". I may be much older now, but I do feel like that little boy every day. Bart Peluso, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tyler was not born blind, so I know his quality of life he has now and also before he was blind. Tyler is both diabetic and blind, so I know the personal questions I've asked myself concerning the best thing for him. Mostly these doubts were created by others. It has always been Tyler who put these feelings to rest. One day when I was in my self-pity mood, Tyler came over to me and put his chin on my knee, as if to say "Mom I'm going to be OK". He always knows the right thing to do at the right time. Tyler does 98% of the things he did before. In fact he also does things now he didn't do when he could see, a lot of which he's adapted or taught himself.

Tyler has never lost his love for walks. He will drag you around all day, if you let him. If you try to force him inside, before he's ready, he'll sit down and act like he can't hear you. I guess I forgot to mention when he lost his sight, he didn't lose his independence and stubbornness.

But Tyler's BIGGEST love is going for rides in the car. There is no way you can sneak out without him either. We have tried.

He hears:
---You getting dressed, don't ask me how he knows the difference between "at home" clothes and "going away" clothes. He just does.
---He knows when you have shoes on, even if you try to tiptoe around trying not to make noise
---He smells you putting on perfume or hair spray
---He hears you pick up your purse, your wallet and even checkbook
---He's always known words like "bye-bye" and "go" but we recently found out he knows that "Wal-Mart" means a "bye-bye" ride
These things set him off and he will find you where ever you are and the pleading and demanding starts. "WOO-WOO...BARK..BARK...GRRRRRR...WOO-WOO" translated means "I'm going, Yes I am, you better not leave me here...I'm warning you..."

Tyler does have good days and bad, but than again don't we all? He navigates our house and yard with ease. He also stills defends our yard from the evil animals that invade it. The neighborhood dogs, squirrels, rabbits and the dreaded wild geese that fly over. The geese make him the maddest. More than once Tyler has done a flip-flop backwards, trying to bark, head titled back, bouncing up and down (on his back legs) -insisting they get out of his sky.

I think the proudest I've been of Tyler came not too long ago. A family acquaintance who had make the remark one time that I should "Just get another dog" had stopped by. He sat in Tyler's petting chair, a chair that anyone who sits there in Tyler's mind has came for one reason only, to pet him. Tyler walked straight over to him, put his chin on his knee and gave a little groan to make sure he had his attention. This man said "When did you get a new dog?" I told him I hadn't, this was Tyler, the same dog I have had for 8 years. He said "No, that dog you had was old and blind" I pointed to some pictures I had of Tyler and said "he's the same dog", however he sort of gave up the conversation. I can only imagine he either thought I was lying or playing some type of joke. What Tyler did that day said more than I could ever express in words. Blind dogs can be as happy and normal as a sighted dog, and very often people can't tell they can't see.

Of course if I were given the choice I would prefer that Tyler could see again. However, when he lost his sight his personality didn't change. He's still my (same) buddy. Tyler has also taught me so many lessons that have made me a better person. Because of Tyler also, I have gotten involved in various things, especially regarding special needs animals. Through these various efforts Tyler has touched the lives of so many people-that actually probably don't know it and may never know the impact he's had on their lives.   That's ok, special things come in small, furry packages sometimes.
Linda
Visit Tyler's website

Your dog has gone blind, either suddenly or gradually. Or perhaps he or she was born blind and has never known anything else. Or perhaps this is a dog you've found as a stray or a dog who ends up in a shelter or rescue group. In any case, the questions you ask yourself are the same. Will this dog have a good life? Will it be happy? Will it know joy? Will it have any reason to go on?

The answer in one word is: yes. The longer answer is that there is often an adjustment period, where the dog must relearn how to do things and regain its confidence in its abilities. For some dogs this adjustment is quick. For others it takes a bit more time. But dogs do adjust incredibly well and so the answer to the questions above is indeed simply: yes.

Blind dogs will not have the same life they would have if they were sighted, this is true. But they will still have good lives, full of much joy and happiness. They will run and play and completely amaze you. They will chow down their food with gusto, sniff everything in their path on walks, give you kisses galore and roll over on their backs to get belly rubs. They will, quite simply, enjoy life.

Dogs take life one day at a time. They don't spend time moaning over what life has handed them as we humans tend to do. No. They just get on with taking as much joy as they can from life. The other thing to realize about dogs - much of their world is observed through their keen senses of hearing and smell. Though blind, they are still very attuned to the world around them. When you consider the quality of a blind dogs life, view it from the perspective of dogs themselves.

My blind dog is my Lhasa Apso, Rachel. In July 1997, at the age of 11, she lost her sight overnight to a condition called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome. Because her sight was there one day and gone the next, Rachel's adjustment took a few weeks. In the beginning, she simply shut down and would barely move. I encouraged her to master things she once had been able to do. I taught her to get on and off the bed, on and off the couch she loved so much, up and down the 3 stairs to the backyard. A few weeks into her blindness, I succeeded in teaching her to jump in and out of the car by herself. This was the turning point for Rachel. This is when she began to have confidence in her own abilities. She never looked back.

From this point on there was no stopping my Lhasa. She would give anything a try, her fear was gone. Today Rachel once more rolls on her back in "her" flowerbed with great enthusiasm. She explores the world through her nose, especially as her hearing has faded in recent months. She calmly, with wagging tail, greets people and dogs we meet on walks. There have been unexpected bonuses as well. Always a dog who loved cuddles and back scratches, Rachel is even more into them now. Touch is very important to her and we have spent much time communing with each other as I massage and scratch and caress her all over. Best of all is when Rachel goes in search of my face. She will snuffle along my body as I lie on the couch until, joy of joys, she finds my face. With great glee and excitement, Rachel will lick, lick, lick every inch of my face. It reminds me of blind people touching people's faces to know what they look like. When Rachel does this, we are reunited, as though she can "see" me again, as though we can still gaze deep into each others eyes as we once did.

Yes, life is different now that Rachel is blind. But it is still good, oh yes, it is still good.
Robin

  Sadly Rachel went to the Rainbow Bridge 2/21/01 

 

Peanut has been a part of my life for 4 years now. She hasn’t always been blind. When I found her, or when she found me, she was on her own. My best guess is that she was a hunting dog who was also frightened of loud noises. Hunting dogs scared of loud noises don’t last long. So, she was abandoned and left to fend for herself. I found her in a heavily wooded area trying to paw her way into a covered fishpond for a drink of water. Against my better judgment, I called to her and she hopped right into my car. As the saying goes, the rest is history.

Peanut had numerous health problems. We treated each and every one. And, with a lot of good food and love, she came back to life. Because Peanut had been on her own for so long, she had few social skills. Off to obedience school we went. The teachers loved her. Hound dogs aren’t the easiest to train, but Peanut’s disposition was so sweet, that the instructors didn’t mind giving her a little extra attention. Plus, she would do anything for a liver treat. We decided that it might be fun to show Peanut in some obedience trials…something neither one of us had ever done. But, Peanut did great and went on to earn a title. In fact, she really liked training. She liked the praise. She liked the attention. And, she loved the treats.

Then, she started having nosebleeds, and to make a long story short, she woke up blind on June 24, 1999. Peanut’s diagnosis was ehrlichiosis. Many times, this disease will kill dogs. In Peanut’s case, it blinded her and almost killed her.

During her hospitalization, I had a lot of time to think. I wondered what her quality of life would be if she survived. I wondered how I would feel to have a blind dog. And, I wondered if she would ever be able to do normal things again. Peanut surprised me. Within about 6 weeks of her blindness, she was maneuvering the house without bumping into things. Within about 3 months, she was running full-speed through the yard, tearing up squeak toys, and wrestling with my sighted dog. And, now, she is my jogging partner again going at least 2 miles a day with me.

It took a while for me to realize that Peanut is still the same dog. She is still the dog that howls by the door if I try to sneak out for a jog without her. She is still the dog that can hear me in the kitchen from the deepest sleep. She is still the dog that will steal my coffee if I leave my mug unattended…even for just a split-second. She is still the dog that will chew up my shoes or gloves if unsupervised. She is still the dog that loves to have her belly rubbed. She is still the dog that plays tug-of-war. She is still the dog that knows if there is any leftover pot-roast. And, she is still the dog that will aggravate my cat if given half the chance. Peanut is the same dog. Although I would certainly prefer for her to have her sight back, she doesn’t really need it to have a good time. And, I don’t need for her to have it to love her.

We’ve developed such a special bond through her adjustment period that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In fact, now that I have experienced the love of a blind dog, I will probably always have a blind dog. I’ve learned that dogs don’t need their eyes to see what you look like before they love you. They just love you. What a great lesson!
Lea

 

 

Pippy became blind when she was almost 11 years old. The blindness came on suddenly. One day during "cooking dinner time", Pippy was underfoot as usual... We had dropped food, as usual.... The difference this time was Pippy was not able to find the "food treasures". Sometimes the food was only inches from her, she could smell it, but could not see it...What had happened to our baby??? We were at a loss. We made an appointment with our regular vet, but she was out of town, so another vet saw us, and told us there was nothing wrong with her, "JUST CATARACTS, She is just like an old person, just cataracts and loosing her sight, nothing to worry about". Well, I know that a person with cataracts does not go blind over night, so we made another appointment to see our regular vet when she returned from vacation in a couple of days. The regular vet saw us and said we were to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Pippy had tests, and sure enough, after the tests were complete, we were given the verdict. Pippy was totally blind. She had SARDS, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome! There was no treatment and no cure. Pippy was blind forever! I was very depressed, I prayed and begged God to give Pippy back just a little sight. I really thought blindness was the WORST thing that could happen to us.

Well, it took a little while for Pippy to adjust, she was always lost in a room, or lost in her favorite place, the backyard. And then we had an idea, she needed some ramps! Well, within a few days, I was able to teach her to go up and down some very short ramps leading to her backyard or her enclosed sun porch. With the ramps, came Pippy's confidence! She now was able to get around to her favorite places! I started feeling better about the whole thing myself! I had been so very depressed, I am sure Pippy felt it. We all started feeling better and had a wonderful summer.

And then tragedy struck again. This time, really serious. Pippy developed a life threatening illness called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). She was not expected to live, the mortality rate for this disease is very high and she was already 11-1/2 years old. Well, we were very fortunate to have a highly trained specialist in this field right in our own neighborhood. Pippy survived... Pippy thrived... She still suffers occasionally from complications from this disease, but she is now going on 13 years old, and at this writing, has been a survivor of this horrible disease for 15 months now.

And so, I also learned a lesson. Blindness is not so very bad at all. There are many things that can happen to your dog that are a lot worse than blindness! I know I am truly blessed to still have Pippy with me. The blindness wasn't really so bad. People that don't know Pippy are surprised to hear that she is blind. She acts perfectly normal. And so, I learned to hug my dog every day, and give special thanks to the Almighty that my baby is still with me, blindness isn't so bad after all.
AnnaMarie

Sadly Pippy went to the Rainbow Bridge 2/15/01

 

 

Hi!, My name is...Dozer. I am a mastiff puppy who's blind. My mom says, I should tell you that my name does not mean I am a bulldozer! I'm called that because, I like to spend a lot of time dozing on my mom's feet. Mom says it's a mastiff thing. (lol)

My story is a little different than most here. I was born to a very loving and, caring breeder who found out when my eyes opened I was blind. This nice lady was so upset and, her vet told her no one would want a blind puppy let alone a giant dog who was blind. They suggested that putting me to sleep would be much more humane. This kind lady did not want to end my life just because I am blind. She called a breeder friend of hers, who also knows my mom by the way. This friend then called my mom because, she said mom was so loving and a good person. They explained to mom my situation. Mom never even took time to think about any doubts. She just automatically said "yes, I'd be honored to raise him in my family"! Some one actually wanted me!! Not, out of sympathy either but, she truly wanted me!

My story is kind of short because, I am only 11 weeks old right now and, haven't had my long life yet to reflect on. I just want to say......I have figured out even at my young age, what quality of life really means. It means your life is a good one no matter what obstacles you overcome!! I have a quality life here with mom. If you have even just one human in your life who loves you so truly and, unconditionally the way my mom adores me everyday, then you have a quality life!!! After all, that's what a puppies life is all about!....It's about who loves you and, that you are a part of a family!!! I have found my family and, I hope all the other dogs do too. Thank you for listening.....
Take care,
Dozer (11 week old mastiff, born blind)

Dozer and Cash taking a time out

Hi, it's me Dozer again!...lol. I am a lot bigger now and, have even learned quite a few new things since we last spoke. I would really like to share one of the things my mom has taught me about quality of life for a blind dog. One day, I was laying up on my mom's bed, listening to her do something in the room. She started to talk to me and here is what went on........She said "Dozer? I love you very much but, sometimes I am glad you don't understand the unfairness in life!" She went on..."Today when we took our Sunday drive and you were laying in the back, I was watching the world outside and, I saw a dog chained to an old beat up dog house. He was straining hard at the end of that chain and barking. Then I saw "his" children playing up in that yard. That poor dog all he wanted was one chance to be with "his" children, the ones he loves so much! Well, as we kept driving I saw that there were many dogs chained outside to old dog houses out here in the country. And it made my heart just swell with sadness for them. These dogs are usually only touched or talked to once a day when some one goes out to leave them a bowl of food." I then felt mom lay down next to me and get close. She pulled up the big thick comforter on our bed and covered us up. Then, she went on to say....."Dozer if any one ever wonders if you or any of the other blindogs we know have a quality life, we'll just take that person for a ride in the country and show them exactly what we saw today. Then we will bring them back home to visit and show them how we live. Then, we'll ask them themselves what they think a quality life is" Then just like mom does every single day at this time to let me know it's that time, she said....."nite, nite, Dozer...sweet dreams...I love you ...see you in the morning! I felt her arm lay on me and I layed quietly and I heard her breathing as we fell asleep. Now this is a quality life! Thank you all for listening
Dozer
Kelly can be emailed at yakky@centurytel.net

Meet Dozer's new brother Cash below...

 

 

My name is Cash and I'm a blind 7 month old Rottweiller puppy. I had a rough time just coming into this world so, I understand just how much quality any one life can have! I was born premature and struggling just to survive and then to top that off I was stepped or layed on by my mother (dog) at only days old! I received a bad head injury which left me blind and with almost no hope of survival.

My breeder spent her nights and days getting food in me and helping me to make it. She was the first to see that somehow there was a purpose to me. I was a little behind the rest of my litter. This breeder was also, my first experience with quality of life. She loved me despite all that was stacked against me and she took the time to make sure I did ok. She did everything in her power to insure that my life had and would continue to have quality to it. Which included finding me the perfect forever home!

I now have been adopted by my very own forever family who, tell me they love me more than words could ever say! My new family says I'm just such a great boy and that I'm brimming with potential, too. Most people think of my mom as almost crazy for having a blind mastiff AND a blind Rottweiller. She just doesn't mind them though. She says that's part of the quality in our lives! That most wouldn't be willing to take us both on let alone actually have wanted us both right from the start. She says that most people think of our breeds as big tough guard dogs...lol Well, it's true if we needed we'd protect her but, she is so much more protective of us than people realize. This to her is a big part of the quality in our lives! She lets us meet soooo many people and we show them that we are really sweet and super loving boys! So, she kind of erases some of those beliefs people have of us being vicious or mean, plus shows them that being blind is really no disadvantage but, just a simple fact of life for us. My life is truly good. I get tons of kisses and cuddles!! It's not even uncommon to find us snuggled up with one or more of our nieces. I love my new nieces, too. They play and give me treats. I get to sleep with mom and my new family. I get to go for lots of buh-bye rides, plus do all the other things any sighted dog can do! That is a quality life no matter whether you are sighted or blind. There are dogs out there who never get to be loved like this! Let alone getting this much love twice in their lives!!! When I go to sleep at night, I pray for all the dogs in this world to find quality and love in their lives too. Thank you all for letting me share....
Love, Cash
Kelly can be emailed at yakky@centurytel.net

Ray Charles is different from many of the stories here. He has been blind from birth. They think due to a virus he got from his mother. He had been in foster care for his whole life. I found him while looking on Petfinder.org for a companion for my sighted Siberian Husky, Sasha. She is very active, and loves to play with other dogs. When I saw 2 year old Ray, I knew he was the one. Many people were skeptical. Sasha is a pretty hyper dog. How could a blind dog keep up with her?? Well, we thought, we'd give it a try anyway.

It was as if Ray always lived here. It took him a weekend to learn the whole house, one more day to run up and down the stairs alone. He and Sasha run all over the house and yard together. They're inseparable. People don't believe he's totally blind when they come to visit. He navigates through the house as well as I do. He loves to wrestle with Sasha. He is also a wonderful guard dog. Noone is allowed in unless we let them in. Then they're warmly greeted by Ray.

Some people wondered why he wasn't put to sleep at birth, when it was found he was born without eyes. His life is as rich and full of fun as our sighted dog. He certainly doesn't know he's blind. His blindness upsets me significantly more than it does him. He plays fetch with jingle balls, steals bones from Sasha, romps through our yard, licks everyone to death, and is one of the sweetest, happiest dogs I've ever known. His life is no less happy than if he could see. And our lives are certainly better having him in it.

Karen, Eric and our rescues:
Sasha, 1 1/2 year old Siberian Husky
Ray Charles 2 year old husky mix, blind from birth

 

 
Thank you to Helen for allowing her angel King Arthur to grace our pages
.

If you would like to tell about your blind/visually impaired dogs quality of life
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Linda Glass
Blind Dog List Owner
Last Date Updated 5/11/2001

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