An Eye That No Longer Sees
Expectations vs. Reality
In an earlier article about my eight-year-old female dog going blind, I ended on a note of optimism. I was reading a book about what to expect during the adjustment period and what I could do that might help her adapt. Optimistic, I expected to fill the next segment—Part 2—with positive anecdotes and an expression of hope for the future.
That was the ideal scenario…but not the reality.
You Can't Predict How Humans--or Dogs--Will React to Change
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that dogs, like humans, are unique as individuals. Every dog has her or his own personality and temperament, a mix of genetics and environment that drive all behaviors not hardwired. A dog reacts to major changes in her (or his) life circumstances according to the traits she possesses and how she handles adversity, whether she's stoical, high-strung or somewhere in between. Even dogs have coping mechanisms. Similar to the behavior of humans, the ways they cope aren’t always positive.
This, then, is the story of one dog, the blindness that occurred in the middle of her eighth year and its effect on her life…and mine. Since I’m retired and at home most of the time, I’m able to care for her. Being around also gives me plenty of opportunity to observe how she is coming to terms (or not) with her loss of vision.
Did I Make the Right Decision?
When my eight-year-old female miniature schnauzer, Puppy Girl, showed signs of blindness in mid-summer, 2013, her primary vet referred her to the ophthalmology veterinarian who had treated her a year previously for keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). This is a disorder in which the lacrimal glands stop producing tears, causing extreme dry eye syndrome. Her KCS was apparently caused by an immune system failure and did not respond to treatment.
The ophtho vet wanted to re-route one of her salivary gland ducts into the conjunctiva sac. This procedure causes a dog’s saliva to empty from the duct onto the eyes, but research convinced me it often causes more problems (some requiring additional surgery) than it helps. I read about side effects on veterinary medical websites. In forum comments going back four years, only one person didn’t regret having the procedure done. I decided against the surgery, opting instead to continue the regimen of frequently cleaning her eyes and keeping them lubricated with an ophthalmic ointment that dissipates slowly.
The specialist vet said Puppy Girl's corneas showed scarring and confirmed she was going blind. I’ve diligently cared for her eyes since her dry eye disorder was diagnosed, and learning there was corneal scar tissue was a shock. I didn't believe she could have suffered the excruciating pain of a corneal ulcer without my realizing it because she whimpered after she hurt her foot. (I later read on a veterinary website that scarring from chronic KCS is more common than exception, even with dedicated care.)
The vet said in six months the blindness should be complete, and he would discuss an operation to remove her eyes. I took my dog home.
Back at Home....
Even though I’d been fairly certain Puppy Girl was going blind—she consistently ran into walls and furniture and seemed terrified of the steps leading to the yard—hearing the diagnosis was emotionally painful for me. Back at home, I sat beside her on the sofa and stroked her back for a long time, talking softly to her and calling her, “…Mama’s sweet girl.”
Finding Out What to Expect
A book my grandson gave me, LIVING WITH BLIND DOGS, by Caroline D. Levin, RN., is a valuable educational resource for pet parents with blind or low-vision dogs. It confirmed my emotion over Puppy Girl’s blindness is normal, an expression of grief stemming from my love for her.
The book describes ways in which dogs react to blindness, whether gradual or sudden. Some behaviors listed I’d already noticed in my schnauzer girl. The book prepared me for others.
For example, some dogs bark more after going blind; others bark less. There was a dramatic change in Puppy Girl’s barking patterns. She barked more and differently than in the past. The differences encompassed actual sounds, timing, volume, frequency and (apparently) motivation.
Anyone who lives with a mini schnauzer will tell you the range of “voices” this remarkable breed uses to communicate can be delightful. That is, they’re delightful under normal circumstances. The present situation and her modified barking patterns weren't normal, and many times I had no idea what she was trying to tell me. At times, her barking became frantic, lengthy staccato bursts of NOISE that accelerated to HOWLING. I felt she was desperately trying to communicate with me, only I didn't understand this new language.
A Good Resources for a Blind Dog's Human
A nose is a nose is a nose....
Sensory Enhancement to Compensate for Loss of Sight
I read books written by people with blind dogs and veterinary articles about blindness in adult dogs. I wanted to know as much as possible about how dogs experience blindness so I would be prepared to help her.
I thought her superior doggy nose would meet the challenges of blindness to overcome the problems she faced daily. I expected her to develop a heightened awareness of solid matter so she could avoid obstacles and stop bumping into things with her head, face and body. I thought this sensory blossoming would happen quickly. Three months later, I’m still waiting for the enhancement of her other senses to kick in and replace what she lost with her eyesight. I remind myself the author of LIVING WITH BLIND DOGS wrote that most adult dogs adjust to blindness within three to six months, but it may take others a year. Patience, Mama....patience.
A Blind Dog Can be a Happy Dog
Barking. Barking. Barking.
And Other Issues
The barking was only one indication that life was radically different for Puppy Girl. While she practically ceased barking at the mail carrier and other delivery people—my feisty little protector who had always considered it her job to alert me of their presence—Puppy Girl increased barking at me.
She began waking before daylight and barked to wake me. My natural biorhythms are not set for early morning. I spent most of my life rising two hours before my body and mind were ready to greet the day, a necessary adaptation to hours of school and the business world. When I retired, I expected to sleep until at least 8:00 a.m. if I felt like it. Before she lost her sight, Puppy Girl liked to sleep in as well.
With the loss of her vision went her sense of night and day. Her internal clock got hopelessly out of whack. Like newborn human babies who sleep all day and stay awake at night, her days and nights were “mixed up.” This unfortunate state of affairs continues.
I blamed depression for her increased daytime sleep and lack of interest in her toys. A small toy basket containing her favorites sits in the den and has for years. With the loss of her sight, she stopped getting her toys from the basket and wouldn’t play even when I handed one to her. It was sad then, and still is, to watch her ignore toys she formerly enjoyed.
Her appetite, on the other hand, increased. Perhaps food seemed the only pleasure she had left, and now she started fussing for her food two hours before her former schedule. I compromised with the half banana that's her mid-morning treat, but held firm on regular meals.
The enthusiasm she'd always displayed for walking around the back yard barking at squirrels disappeared. Wearing her harness seemed to comfort her when I took her outdoors on leash, but she walked slowly and sometimes froze in place. At this writing, there's been some improvement, and she lets me walk her around the back yard. She's also mastered the four back steps. As I say, "step up" or "step down", she does.
Research studies show animals have emotions, and depression is an emotional state. I wasn’t surprised Puppy Girl seemed depressed after losing her eyesight. I’ve experienced depression following traumatic changes in my own life, so why shouldn’t she react the same way to trauma? She's getting older, and the ordeal of blindness may have accelerated the aging process. Arthritis makes me feel older than my chronological age, so blindness may affect my dog the same.
The Huggies Quandry
To Diaper or Not to Diaper?
Perhaps the worst side effect of her blindness is the effect it’s had on a dog who practically housebroke herself as a puppy, with a near-perfect record ever since...until blindness struck. Her potty behavior changed abruptly, possibly the result of other factors too.
Here’s some background. Within a week of my realization she was losing her sight, Puppy Girl was struck by a terrible illness known as hemorrhagic enteritis, or HGE. This deadly disease can quickly be fatal without the appropriate treatment, and it landed her in the animal emergency hospital’s ICU. Vets there could not tell me how she acquired it (the cause remains a mystery), and she leads such a sheltered life it’s difficult to conceive how she picked up whatever organism is to blame. She was very ill and lucky to survive. It took her a week to fully recover after she returned home.
During that time, she wore a diaper—Huggies Little Movers, size four. Since her tail was docked short before I got her, diapers for human babies fit her just fine and cost much less than those made especially for dogs. The back of the diaper is roomy enough not to restrict her stub of a tail, allowing her to raise or even wag it (which, I must tell you, looks incredibly funny). I know how important a dog's tail--even a docked one-is to the dog, so I made sure she had "tail-moving room" in the seat of the diaper.
Even after the diarrhea ended, I was worried about a relapse (which my research warned me happens with some dogs). It wasn’t her first experience with the temporary use of diapers. (Read my HGE hub to learn why.) She didn’t appear to mind wearing them and even remembered their purpose. Is my dog smart, or what?
I still took her outside to potty regularly, but noticed that unless I was nearby when she felt the urge, she couldn’t seem to find the back door, nor did she search for me or bark once sharply (as was her lifelong habit) to let me know she needed to go out.
Before the onset of blindness and her HGE attack, she always came to get me, with the one recognizably special bark before racing to the back door. That was her signal for, “Mama, I need to go out and potty.” It worked consistently for eight years, but now her potty signal bark was AWOL.
She urinated in the diaper at least once every couple of days…just often enough for me to be afraid to leave off a diaper unless I could watch her constantly. On one occasion while I was folding laundry, she walked down the hall and, somehow—don’t ask me how she did it as I wasn’t there to observe—she managed to push her diaper down far enough to poop on the floor. When I saw her a few minutes later with the diaper drooping below her stubby tail, I went looking around the house and found the “deposit” she’d left in the hallway. I used an enzymatic cleaner so she wouldn't be tempted to use that place again.
Since the elastic of the disposable diapers quickly loosens as she moves around, I bought some size 3T toddler’s cotton knit training pants. Pulled on over the Huggies, one of these keeps the diaper from sagging or sliding down, but looks so funny I call her “Droopy Drawers.”
I don’t think she is physically incontinent, because she will wait to relieve herself when I say, "Outside to potty." However, when she wakes from an extended nap, I know to take her out immediately, or she will “go” in the diaper.
Just this afternoon, she was napping in her favorite chair, the den recliner, and came to find me at my computer after she awoke. It was obvious she wasn’t fully alert, so I stood up to take her outdoors. Too late! She squatted and wet the diaper. Disposable diapers are convenient and protect the furniture and floors, but I can’t help but wonder what the supermarket checkout person thinks when I (with my gray hair) place a package of Huggies Little Movers on the counter!
Perhaps her "accidents" result from a combination of the psychological effect of wearing a diaper plus the difficulty she faces when she needs to go and can't find me. I take her outside frequently these days--it’s almost like potty-training all over again—but I’m concerned that even after she fully adjusts to blindness, the need for the diaper might remain. I can’t watch her every minute. In short, what seemed like a temporary measure may become permanent if she accepts it as the “new normal.”
Life is Different at Our House, but That's Okay
Another problem is when she gets “stuck” somewhere in the house and won’t move. While she can now get around the main traffic paths of our one-story rancher fairly well, I keep the doors to bathrooms and one of the extra bedrooms closed. When she comes to an obstacle in an area not yet “mapped” in her mind and doesn’t know how to get around it, she simply stands there…and stands…and stands until I find and rescue her. At least the need to check on her frequently keeps me from sitting for too long a stretch at my computer.
I try not to leave her alone at home for more than an hour, two at the most, when I have to go out. I put her special calming music CD, “Through a Dog’s Ear”, playing on a loop so she will relax while I’m gone. Still, I worry that she’s wandering around in my absence, tripping over floor lamp bases or getting entangled in electric cords. (Did I mention I’m a worrier?) I need to find a reputable bonded dog-sitter who will come to my home and stay with her if the need arises. This shouldn’t be an emergency-initiated task. (Note to self: find good dog-sitter.)
The author of LIVING WITH BLIND DOGS cautions that some dogs equate their blindness with being attacked, and that makes sense to me. After all, as my daughter reminded me, Puppy Girl can’t understand the concept for why the world as she knew it suddenly went away.
A dog that feels “attacked” by blindness may lash out, so it’s important not to startle her. When I walk into a room, I talk softly before I get close to her. I never touch her without first speaking in a soothing voice. This works well when she’s awake, but it’s difficult to rouse her from a deep sleep, even if I talk loudly. Abruptly touching her when she’s asleep in the chair is not a good idea. (For some reason, I can move her over in the bed at night when she’s asleep without any reaction other than a “grumble.” Perhaps that’s because she’s already lying next to me, and her subconscious recognizes it is Mama who is moving her back onto her own pillow. This is good; otherwise she’d keep inching over until she pushed me off the bed!)
I tried—just once—leaving her asleep in the recliner when I went to bed. Fortunately, I was still awake and reading when I heard the noises as she bumped into things when she jumped or fell down from the chair. By the time I got to the den, she was in the dining room “stuck” with her nose pushed up against a chair leg. Rather than tell her to follow me, I spoke soothingly, picked her up and carried her to bed.
At least she’s stopped kicking like a bronco when I lift her from the floor as she did when it first became necessary. (She’d fallen and hurt her leg while trying to jump onto the bed.) Since then I have to pick her up and put her on the bed every night, and she now allows me to put my arm beneath her back legs, the other arm across her chest and hold her carefully as I lift. She must feel safer when I do this, because she accepts it. Small blessings.
And something else came from Puppy Girl’s blindness. Only when she was a puppy did she want to sit in my lap. As an adolescent, she decided that she wasn't going to be a lapdog. For years I’ve yearned for her to sit in my lap contentedly, but it wasn’t to be. Until now. Perhaps she needs comfort or simply closeness to me, but at least once a day when I’m sitting—sometimes twice—she either puts her paws on my leg and waits for me to lift her or jumps into my lap, though it’s not always a perfect landing. When this happens, I stop what I’m doing and hold her. She puts her head on my shoulder and relaxes as I stroke her back with one hand and support her bottom with the other. One day she even fell asleep in my arms. Small blessings indeed. I enjoy every moment of these special times that I never expected to have.
Update: December, 2013
At this writing I am discussing with Puppy Girl's vet the possibility of bilateral enucleation (removal of both eyes) to ensure that she doesn't feel pain from severe chronic dry eyes. Although I continue frequently cleaning the collected mucous from her eyes and applying Genteal P.M. ointment every one-to-two hours, day and night (I've trained myself to wake and check her), it's possible that she feels pain and hides it. The thought of removing her eyes is, of course, upsetting to me, but reading accounts of the benefits and how dogs react after the surgery (on a support website for people with blind dogs) encouraged me to consider it. I do not want her to be in pain if it can be avoided. Many pet parents say their dogs recuperate quickly and begin acting like their former selves after the surgery...even becoming playful once more. I think I owe it to Puppy Girl to consider what is best for her in this situation.
Yes, enucleation is a very difficult decision, but I realize that I'm reacting as a human. Since she is already blind, the only changes Puppy Girl will notice is the loss of any discomfort and the near-continuous ministrations to her eyes. Yes, she will look radically different (photos on the support website prepared me), but I can let her schnauzer eyebrows grow long and fluffy again to at least partially cover the surgical scars.
Thank you, readers, for caring about my dear Puppy Girl!
Highly Recommended by Jaye and Puppy Girl
First Part of This Story
- When Your Dog Goes Blind
When an adult dog suddenly goes blind, it's traumatic for pet and pet parent alike. A blind dog can adjust to life without sight and get along fine, but it's difficult to believe that at first.
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Extreme Dry Eye in Dogs
- Dry Eye in Dogs -- Coping with Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) - Part 1
The sudden appearance of what seemed to be simple canine conjunctivitis turned out to be something a lot more ominous.
When a Dog Lives with Chronic KCS
- Dry Eye in Dogs -- Coping with Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) - Part 2: “After the Diagn
Whether or not KCS responds to treatment depends on the cause of the disorder.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 28, 2017:
Hi, Ali. Thanks for your concern. Coping with KCS followed by blindness was tough, but we managed. I'll be glad to answer your questions and help you and Leila any way I can. Regards, Jaye
Ali Helfrich on August 22, 2017:
Hi - I realize most of these comments are 3 years old so I'm not sure if you still get alerted if someone comments. First off, I'm so sorry for what you had to go through with your baby and KCS. I can absolutely relate as I'm on my own journey with it and my 3 year old French bulldog Leila. I'd love to ask you a few questions and get your feedback based on your experience, if you don't mind. I'll wait to hear back from you before I type up a long thing - thanks! Ali
Kristin Sylvie on December 23, 2016:
Jaye, hi. I came across your hub as I was researching whether or not dogs with KCS sleep with their eyes open. My terrier mix, Sylvie, has severe KCS and often appears to be sound asleep, although her eyes stay open. You've given me a lot of great info.
I'm wondering... did you have the bilateral enucliation done for Puppy Girl? I ask because a few years ago, my sweet Maltese, Binkie, developed glaucoma and retinal reading in both eyes overnight; she went from being a fully sighted dog to completely blind in less than a week. I tried everything I could to save her sight (her need schedule was insane) to no avail. The veterinary ophthalmologist thought she went bind in a matter of hours.
Anyway, after much research, I decided on enucliation as the other alternatives just seemed ridiculous and geared towards aesthetics rather than what would make Binkie the most comfortable. I had it done and her recovery went very well. Since she'd always lived in the same house since I got her, she didn't have to much trouble mapping her way around. I wore boots for a few months while she was getting used to her "new normal" - I'd stomp on the wood floor and say, "come this way." She learned very quickly and soon was back to using her doggy door and getting around the house.
While she never got back to how she'd been prior to surgery, she stayed as sweet and loving as she'd ever been.
I hope Puppy Girl is doing well and has adapted to all of the changes in her life. You're lucky to have each other!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on July 11, 2014:
Thank you, Donna. This has been quite a challenge--both for Puppy Girl and for me. I will soon be writing another installment of this journey because, even though I applied a thick lubricating eye ointment to both her eyes every couple of hours, day and night, the vet said there were signs she was in pain. Dogs can be very stoic and hide pain from the people they are with all the time, but there were subtle signs all the same that I hadn't seen.
The vet recommended enucleation (removal of both eyes), which was supposed to take place several months ago. Because of another possible health threat, the surgery was postponed until late June. This was a difficult decision for me to make, but the possibility that she was in pain was the deciding factor.
Thanks for reading, your comment, and especially your good wishes for Puppy Girl and her human mom! JAYE
Donna Cosmato from USA on July 11, 2014:
Jaye, what a wonderful job you have done in documenting your experiences with Puppy Girl and her journey through blindness. Best wishes to both of you for the future.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on June 25, 2014:
Thank you, Alison. She is, indeed, a much-loved girly dog, but she gives me back much love as well. She's given me so much joy that it's my pleasure to care for her needs. She so much enjoys it when friends and family visit us and greets them with a high-pitched welcome. (They can tell she's happy!)
I'm currently trying to find some toys with bells inside to pique her interest. She has a 'talking' ball, but the special batteries run down too fast.
Alison Graham from UK on June 25, 2014:
This is such an interesting and helpful hub, Puppy Girl is a lovely dog and I am so glad to know she still enjoys life and gets all the love comfort and reassurance she needs from you.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on December 22, 2013:
Thank you, moonlake - I've read a lot lately about blind dogs adjusting to their lack of vision. I'm confident Puppy Girl will continue to progress in adapting to this big change in her life. For the most part, she gets around our house pretty well with only an occasional bumped nose. Thanks for your comments. Happy holidays! JAYE
Shyron - You have such a caring heart, and I thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I've learned through this experience that once I (as a human) stopped fighting against it, everything about Puppy Girl's blindness and the possibility of enucleation surgery became easier to accept. As for her, she no longer seems depressed (though she does nap more than before), so she's apparently enjoying her life anyway. I do hope so because I love this little dog so much. Thanks for reading, voting, sharing and your thoughtful comments. Hope you and your family are having a happy holiday season. JAYE
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on December 22, 2013:
Oh Jaye, you are in my prayers that everything will turn out well, whatever you decide. It is so sad.
Voted up, awesome and shared.
--Your friend Shyron
moonlake from America on December 22, 2013:
Sad about your dog but I'm glad to hear she is getting along veryly well now. My brother-in-laws dog went blind and she learned the paths she needed to take including walking around the pool. Thanks for sharing your story.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 27, 2013:
Thanks, Paula - Although there continue to be challenges, Puppy Girl appears to be getting "mellow" in some ways. My daughter visited me last week and said PG seems sweeter-natured than before she went blind. I'm around her all the time (and she "fusses" at me when I'm slow to get her meal ready), but I think that's right. I know she seems more demonstrably loving to me...and that's great. There are also some things that don't seem to bother her as much, so I suppose she's becoming adapted to her blindness. It's still very sad to me, and I miss her "eye-to-eye" looks, but I'm just thankful to have her with me.
Appreciate the vote and +++.
Suzie from Carson City on October 27, 2013:
Jaye My heart just breaks for your baby and for you. Your choices are made from love and concern, with much information. Of course you've done the best. You're a good Mommy. Sorry this has happened....UP+++
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 21, 2013:
Hi, Shyron - I ordered a small ball encased in what looks like two tires from Amazon. Instead of a bell, the small ball (inaccessible to the dog) contains batteries and make animal sounds. It hasn't arrived yet, but I expect it any day. If she likes that one, I'll probably buy her a larger size Gabble ball, that "talks." I looked all over Amazon's pet toys (there are a LOT of balls), but couldn't find one with a bell. I may have to take one of her plush balls, rip open a seam and put a bell inside, then re-sew it with very strong nylon thread. That should work, don't you think?
Thanks for asking. Puppy Girl and I had some good days last week (and a couple that weren't so good, but that's life). The weather turned a bit cooler in the mornings, and my lazy girl likes to snuggle under the cover when it's chilly. She let me sleep two mornings in a row until 8am with her backed up to me as close as she could get and her head partially under the covers! She's a character!
P.S. Just saw all the info you sent me as sources for the medical Botox article. THANKS! You're a "darling and a triple dear" for taking the trouble to provide it. Jaye
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on October 20, 2013:
I had to come back to see if you received Puppy Girl's ball with the bell in it and if she is playing with it.
Anxious to find out if it helped.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 20, 2013:
Thanks, Deb. It seems to be getting easier in some ways--perhaps because I'm becoming adapted, whether Puppy Girl is fully so or not! Maybe she just has me trained well...haha. Seriously, I'm glad that I'm retired and around to care for her now that she needs extra help. She's a good girl who's given me so much joy.
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on October 20, 2013:
Jaye, you're such a good mom. I remember doing extra things for Bacon when his eyesight was going, too. You just do what you have to do to make your kids comfortable and happy.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 15, 2013:
Thank you, Shyron. There are good days and not-so-good days, but we make the most of all of them. I like the idea of the ball that rings or makes noise. I'm going to order one for her from Amazon. When looking at pet toys on the site, I saw a "Gabble Ball" that "talks." It has a hard shell so it can hold batteries. I think she might respond to it, which would get her started playing again. Thanks for the suggestion.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on October 15, 2013:
This is so touching Jaye, I can imagine how caring for someone who is blind (Puppy Girl) really is someone! I do know how hard it is to care for an ailing pet. I remember how my grandfather cared for Trixie when she got bit by a rattler, she was very sick.
You are a special person and so is your Puppy Girl.
I had a friend whose dog went blind, he use to tell his co-workers stories of how he took care of her and taught her how to find her ball. Terry for a ball with a bell inside of it and he would roll it a few inches in front of her until she got the idea and then he would roll a few feet and she could still play with it.
Thank you Jaye for this story.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 15, 2013:
DrBJ - Thanks so much. While writing this account, I kept thinking that anyone without a pet might consider me overreactive, but I felt confident that readers with their own beloved pets (or who love animals in general) will relate to my quest to help Puppy Girl as she learns to live with blindness. I appreciate your kind words, as always.
Anita - Familiar surroundings for a blind or low-vision dog should make the condition less stressful. Fortunately, we live in the same home my dog has known all her life. In the beginning of her vision loss, she continually bumped her head and face into furniture and other objects, and I cringed every time it happened. Now she is more familiar with our living space and gets around much better, with far fewer bumps. That is such a relief.
I'm sorry for your loss, as I know you miss your dear pet. Their shorter lifespan is the only downside of losing your heart to a pet. But avoiding the grief of loss would not be worth missing out on all the joy and love our pets give us while they share our lives, would it?
Thank you for sharing your experience.
Anita Saran from Bangalore, India on October 15, 2013:
Thank you for sharing your experience with Puppy Girl, Jaye. I too had a dog blind in one eye (cataracts I was told) who would stumble around at times especially in unfamiliar surroundings. I believe that it's best to keep blind dogs in familiar surroundings. But I did have to move house twice, in fact, and now she' s gone (she was about 16) and I am finally in my own home newly built. I so wanted her to accompany me. You are a great mother to your dog. She must love you so much.
drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 14, 2013:
Others may not understand, but dog lovers and dog owners know exactly what you are going through, Jaye. You are an incredibly warm and loving pet parent, and your sweet Puppy Girl knows it.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 14, 2013:
Thanks, Crafty - Schnauzers are adorable dogs, smart, independent and pretty as well. I just put my girl on her pillow after she sat in my lap "helping" me work on my computer for a few minutes and giving me a hug. I miss her being able to wear the gorgeous "schnauzer cut" with long fluffy hair, but since I have to keep the hair around her eyes shaved because of the KCS and medication routine, it looks better to cut it all short. She's still pretty to me!
CraftytotheCore on October 14, 2013:
I do have to say, this dog breed is one of the most sweetest I've ever met in my participation at the dog park. She is truly a beauty.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 13, 2013:
Thank you, Bill. Since you and Bev are also pet parents, you know the unconditional love we get from them and understand why it is so easy to love them in return.
The relationship between human and dog (or cat) should include a commitment that holds firm through ill health or disability. I can't understand uncaring people who dump pets in shelters because they consider aging or sick animals "burdens." The loyalty of dogs is legendary; that of their humans to them should be no less.
Thanks for the read. I know it's long!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2013:
It's a beautiful story of love, Jaye. No matter what happens from here on, your dog will have experienced incredible love during her final years and for that I say "bravo" to you. Well done my friend.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 13, 2013:
Writer Fox - I feel so much compassion for this sweet dog because she must be bewildered by losing her sight and the problems it causes her. However, I am still hopeful that she will learn to overcome the troubles and enjoy her life in spite of blindness. I've read some very inspirational stories about blind dogs that have "happy endings", and that's what I want for her. (I am fortunate to have her, too.)
Lisa - One need not be entirely original when words come from the heart. I appreciate your kind thoughts and good wishes for Puppy Girl and me. You're so right--it is a privilege to love and care for our loving pets. Unasked, they give us so much love and joy.
LKMore01 on October 13, 2013:
Please, forgive my lack of originality but I'm going to restate what other readers have written because there is great truth in their observations. You are a beautiful compassionate soul, a warm and loving human being and by sharing your story you are helping so many pet parents understand this painful transition. You described what so many of us feel as pet owners, it is our job (or should I say privilege as I am greater for the experience of having them share my life) to keep them safe, to provide and love them as much as they love us. Peace to you and Puppy Girl always as you cherish your moments together.
Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on October 13, 2013:
It must be so difficult for the dog to understand what has happened to her sight. I know, however, that she is comfortable with you and all that you are doing for her. I think she's one fortunate little dog to have you. Voted up!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 13, 2013:
Flourish - I've edited a lot of the overly-wrought first half since you read this and apologize that you had to wade through it, brave soul! JAYE
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 13, 2013:
Note on Sunday afternoon: I'm embarrassed you read this before I had the chance to edit some of the padding. Another case of "premature publication." The first half must have bored you to tears, but you were too nice to say that.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 13, 2013:
Thank you, Jodah - As pet parents to a large "family" of dogs and cats, you and your wife are spreading the love. I hope they all continue to be healthy.
I am only able to care for one dog, but do my best for her. She, in turn, gives me a lot of happiness--whether or not she can see.
Thanks for reading.
Liz - Thanks for your feedback, vote and sharing. The book, LIVING WITH BLIND DOGS, was a great resource, especially to help me undertand Puppy Girl's significantly different barking patterns, as well as the probability she considers blindness an "attack." She's vulnerable now, and I try to always remember that (while also trying not to spoil her any more than she's already spoiled!)
Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on October 13, 2013:
You are a wonderful mommy to Puppy Girl and I never knew all of the changes that blindness bring about. Your hub is beautifully written and will help so many, especially those who are going through or have gone through the same thing. I'm so glad that you and Puppy Girl have each other.
Thank you for sharing this. Voted up and sharing!
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 13, 2013:
Beautiful story Jaye,
We are pet parents having 4 dogs and 4 cats. Our dogs are all about 8 years old now, one is losing her hearing but they all seem to stll have reasonably good eyesight.
We have had a dog go blind previously and she kept bumping into the glass door trying to go in and out. It was a little sad.
Anyway extremely beautiful and touching hub where your love for Puppy Girl was evident.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 12, 2013:
Flourish - Thanks for your kind words and good wishes. Her now darkened world must be difficult for Puppy Girl, so I hope she realizes that I will take care of her come what may. I believe she trusts me to keep her safe, and perhaps she will lose the fear as time goes on.
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 12, 2013:
It is beautiful to read about your dedication and love for Puppy Girl as she faces the biggest challenge of her life. Bless her heart, as I'm sure she is fearful and confused but happy that she has you for comfort and reassurance. The photos of her in her droopy drawers were cute. Best of luck to you both as you navigate this difficult phase.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 12, 2013:
Thank you, Joe. While this sweet loving dog is learning to live a new way because of her blindness, I am benefiting from lessons about patience and acceptance. Her adjustment is slower than I expected, and it may never reach the level I'd hoped for, but that's okay. I just want her to be happy and comfortable. I want her to feel safe and loved. That's my job.
She's given so much to me with nearly nine years of unconditional love. I'd never had a pet of my own until she came into my life when I was 61 and showed me what I'd missed. Now it's my turn to give back to her and keep her from harm. And if that care includes diapers...so be it. Adjustment is a two-way street for Puppy Girl and her Mama.
Aloha to you and your family....Jaye
Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on October 12, 2013:
Jaye, what a touching and heartfelt story. I learned a new phrase, one that my wife and I love better than cat (dog) owners--pet parents. I pictured you holding and stroking Puppy Girl in your lap, and I marveled at how God compassionately teaches us about love by way of our relationships with animals.
Thank you for sharing every bit of your and Puppy Girl's struggle with this unexpected illness. There are, indeed, significant lessons for all of us to draw from this beautifully written account.
Aloha to both you and Puppy Girl!