My Norwegian Elkhound Silky developed primary glaucoma at the age of 2 1/2 years. She started with a sore eye which the vet (not our usual) thought was iritis. The medication made it worse, so we rushed her to our regular vet and told her Silky had glaucoma (Silky's maternal grandfather had sired an affected litter earlier) 

The very next day we were with a specialist who put her on Daranide tablets. Within 3 days we were on a 400 mile journey to a specialist eye hospital with a 2 yr old child in tow. We came home minus dog who stayed to have operations on both eyes to fit tubes to help the drainage. 2 weeks later we collected a thin, hoarse little girl who had pined and barked the whole time. She wore an elizabethan collar, which wouldn't fit through the train door.

After such a dreadful start, she recovered quickly (we didn't). Things went really well for 12 months then the implant in one eye became blocked and the sight in the other eye gradually faded. The whole time she had regular pressure checks and blood tests to check potassium levels and I became an expert on glaucoma! Sadly the eye where the implant had blocked had to be removed and the sight in the other eye went completely, so she was able to have the glands which produce the fluid killed off to enable us to take her off medication altogether.

We now had a 4 year old totally blind dog and wondered whether euthanasia would be the kindest option. To our utter amazement, the blindness didn't bother her at all. She went everywhere with us; shops holidays; strange houses; dog meetings without a care. She ran loose off lead and trusted us to tell her if there were obstructions. We told her up and down at steps and curbs. She would jump on and off furniture and explore strange gardens without a qualm. When we later saw the eye specialist again she ran to him across a room littered with chairs and tables without bumpimg into one and he refused to
believe she was blind until he looked into her eyes.

Silky lived a happy, fulfilled, loved and loving life in darkness for a further 9 years until she finally crossed the bridge one day after Christmas 2000. So to anyone out there who sheds as many tears as we did- there is hope and happiness after blindness. We will never forget what she went through at the beginning but we will never regret letting her live and enjoy life as much as we enjoyed living with her.
Yours sincerely
Diana Hudson

Sorry, I don't have a picture of Dutchess to send, but I can describe her quite well. She is a black cocker spaniel, with a white streak under her neck. She has  a long snout and when you call her name, she slightly tips her head to one side. 

We have had Dutchess since she was 5 weeks old and she is now 11 years old. Dutchess developed SARDS and went blind over a 2-3 month period. We too took her to the vet and was told it was cataracts. We then took her to the School of Vet. Medicine at N.C. State University.  She was tested and found to have SARDS. 

We live on a 30 acre farm and Duthess has numerous other animals around to play. She quickly mastered the art of going up and down the steps since she sleeps upstairs.
Dutchess has continued her favorite things such as going on car rides, riding the lawn mover, and even the tractor. What amazes me is she knows almost instinctly when we are
going to work and when we are staying home. She hears the alarms go off and gets out of bed and lays in the bathroom while we shower and get ready for work. Then, she smells
our shoes to see which ones we are wearing today. On the weekends, she hears no alarm and rolls over in bed for a  few more hours of sleep. She knows when we pull up at a 
drive-thru window and quickly has her head out the window. The bank tellers laugh when she sit there in my lap with her head pointed directly at the bank drawer, waiting on her two marrow treats.

Dutchess loves to camp and canoe. As the weather is now getting warmer, it will be interesting to see how she can manage around the campsite. Of course we will be careful
of her around the fire. She is used to wearing a life jacket in the canoe since we tipped a few years ago and she got really scared. Since she has been totally blind, the only thing Dutchess has not gotten used to is not being able to run and fetch a tennis ball. She has just gotten back to the habit of chewing on one, but I believe this is the one thing she really misses. 

Dutchess going blind has taught me to be very patient and more alert of her. She has made me very proud of her too. I think she has adjusted to her blindness better than I have been able to do. I still pray she will one day be able to see, but then she nudges me as if to say, "mom, it will be okay." 

Dee


  

Dr. Joughin is a Toy Poodle, born April, 1990. He is owned and loved by blinddogs member Bea, and also by Monty (Toy Poodle) and cats Eve, Pierre, Simba. Dr. Joughin is blind from cataracts and PRA.

Dr. Joughin is a white/apricot shaded toy poodle. I purchased him when he was two months old. He was the biggest of the litter, totally adorable, and picked me out right away.

When Dr. Joughin was four months old, he went to Europe and New England. He has been on cruises and all over Canada and Mexico. Just like Will Rogers, he never met a person he didn't like. Always friendly and affectionate, yet very independent. He loves all visitors and welcomes them all to our home.

When Joughin was five, my niece wanted a poodle just like him. She had fallen in love with him each time she visited. We offered to get one for her--as a gift--so we went shopping. A friend told us about a litter just born to an Air Force Captain-not a professional breeder. When we picked out the poodle for my niece, there was still one left alone and grieving in the corner--the runt of the litter. Well, we couldn't turn him down, and ended up buying the little one as a companion to Joughin.We called him Joe Montana because I am a 49er fan, big time!!

When Joughin was seven, he began going blind! I took him to the University of California at Davis, but nothing could help. It is a story similiar to a lot of the owners on Blind Dogs: At first, the local vet didn't think anything was wrong, but, of course, there was. He has Cataracts as well as PRA, but the specialists feel it would be an unnecessary pain to remove them.

Joughin is so brave and full of spirit. The only thing is, he does not run anymore--but he still trots briskly after his balls with the bells, and jumps into the unknown, totally unafraid. He knows when we are near home-after a ride-I don't know how, but I believe the intervals between the turn signals tell him that these are our streets, and we are home again.

Monty looks after him--and gives up the ball on a simple command. He is a wonderful dog, too. We have two 18 year old cats, Eve and Pierre, who are beginning to fail noticeably. We also have a 12 year old cat, Simba, who is still in great shape.

The rhythm of life goes on, I know, but each day I have Joughin to hold and to love, I count it a blessing. He is my bright and shining star--and I don't know what I will do when he goes. Hopefully, he will live as long as most poodles do-and then again, I am 71, so who knows what lies ahead?  
     Bea

Ray Charles-I thought everyone was blind!
I was born blind and with colitis. My vet speculates it was the result of poor home breeding because I'm also far to big for a MinPin. Mom found me while looking for a companion for my sister, Litlbit. I was the smallest of the litter so, she took me. Separated from my litter I began to act strange, not play with toyıs and bump into stuff. A quick trip to the vet disclosed that my retina's were not attached. After leaving a message that the check had been cancelled because of this, mom would be returning me to "my seller". Mom also quickly began a campaign to find someone to adopt me that could handle a blind dog. She found a Vet Assistant who had a friend, who had a mother, on a farm in Nebraska, who already had a blind dog and would happily adopt me too. My seller called and Mom returned me, informing them that she had found a place for me and would pay for transport. Well, the next day the "Seller" called, "come pick up the blind puppy and do what you want with him. He's been crying all night." When Mom came back the "Seller" called me over but, I didn't respond-when my Mom said "Come here litter blind puppy" I bulleted to her and, we left that place forever.

The next day was my flight to Nebraska. Mom got up to take shower-I missed her SO much, I jumped in the shower too and sat ON her feet. Finally she got the picture...I had adopted her.

We have been together ever since. I'm constantly sneaking out when the gardeners come-the other dogs know better but, I love adventure! I go several blocks away and find another stoop to sleep on. Everybody knows me and brings me home where I know the lay of the land. It's a wonderful life!

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Linda Glass
Blind Dog List Owner
Last Date Updated 4/9/2000