When Night Fell Over Ben – living with a blind dog

Blinddog

After a walk in the wet fields, today we went for our scheduled vet appointment with Ben.

The walk was nice, only Ben bumped into a tree whilst following me – I still have to get used to being his eyes. When another dog ran up to us (we know the owner and his dog), our Molly came sprinting from the other side of the field to bark the poor dog off. She does that lately; it looks as if she wants to protect Ben from other dogs. We talked to the dogs and the owner of the other dog gave Ben a cuddle. It feels really good when other dog owners show their support.

After the walk, we decided to take all three dogs together to the vet as they are a pck and I think, Ben feels a lot less irritated when we continue with a normal routine.

We didn’t have to wait long and when we saw our vet, who knows Ben from puppy age on, we had a long talk about the procedure of removing Ben’s eyes, all the pros and cons and the vet really took his time to explain everything to us. Ben is 9 years old now and it is a major operation with quite a long anaesthesia which bears risks for him. We decided on Wednesday, the 3rd of February at 8 o’clock. As the operation costs pprox. £800, we have the option of paying in 4 monthly rates, which really helps us. Alternatively, we could have one eye reoved and some weeks later the second one; I decided to do it in one session as operating twice would bear the risk of anaesthesia twice.

To be honest, I am upset about the rules of pet insurances not to pay in cases of inherited diseases. When we bought Ben nine years ago, we had no idea about glaucoma in Spaniels and the breeder obviously didn’t care to have his puppies eye checked. I strongly advise every new dog owner to invest thoroughly about inherited diseases because it could prevent a lot of suffering for the pet and for the owner. Not even mentioning the costs and life long care, which really is secondary.

Ben is on pain killers at the moment because glaucoma is painful and at night, Ben usually is whimpering and howling which tells me he is not comfortable.

Looking at our situation now, I think we slowly are getting used to it. Ben needs more physical contact and cuddles and i always have to be alert where I am going, not to leave cupboard doors open and not to move chairs etc from their usual place. Everything with sharp edges in the house and the garden has to go because the risk of injury is quite high at this stage. Just stepping off the sidewalk to cross the road needs to be practised if your dog is not to stumble and get hurt. Ben is a brave and strong dog; together we are learning to cope with his blindness. When there is a step, I usually give a command like ‘up’ or ‘down’ and guide him with my hand on his chest. It all needs patience and time.  To live and care for a blind dog is a challenge but it can be mastered if you love your pet. For us, there never occurred the question of putting him down.  This option had been proposed to us several times by (I’m sure) ‘well’ meaning fellow humans. A blind dog does not suffer unless he is in pain. He adjusts and takes life on the chin.

 

 

 

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