Easter 2016. A spring day, with sunshine, clouds and wind. We, my Eric and I, decided to spend this Easter with our dogs, going for walks as much as the weather allowed. I’d love to go for a short holiday but, our finances don’t allow to do that – plus, we would not feel happy to put Ben into Kennels, even though we have a lovely dog minder, Louise, who knows our dogs for quite a while now and is certainly fully qualified to handle dogs.
So, we stayed at home over Easter and walked, walked, walked. Sometimes, rain was pouring and I’m sure, British people know what I’m talking about!
Ben seems to have adjusted. He always has been a brilliant dog when it came to obedience. The slightest tug on the lead and he reacted. Walking off lead, just one call, in a low voice, and he reacted. A brilliant dog! A follower and a cheerful one, always wanting to please me, always obedient. My Ben has always been a very proud dog. Huge paws, like a bear, from puppy age on. Huge ears, hanging with silky hair, brown eyes – oh, don’t remind me of his eyes! Trusting, eager to read my every desire, gentle, intelligent. Brown shining. Full of affection and trust and love. Am I just going by my human view? Maybe, but that’s what the realationship of us humans and dogs are about: this unconditional, never questioning, following, trusting, innocent companionship!
My Ben had great eyes; I was always reading his soul and (am I arrogant?) he was reading mine. We were partners. What am I doing now, looking into his blueish shadowed eyes? So blind, searching, holding his head up, listening to my voice, following my scent in the field. Never seeing the sun shine, the green grass. I so do wish I could show him, saying: ‘look, Ben’ and I do sometimes, biting my tongue.
Easter 2016. Ordinary days for some, not so ordinary for me and my Ben. Does it come across how much I love him? I love him so much. Dogs adjust, they deal with every moment, they follow and live in the moment. Is his life suffering? I honestly don’t know. I try to be with him, be his eyes, telling him, explaining. Trying to comfort him. A few people said to me: ‘Why don’t you put him down?’ How crel can human hearts be and how not understanding?
And still, sometimes I get impatient, dragging him on his lead, getting upset when he bumps into tree stumps or low shrubs. Getting upset when he wakes the whole house up with barking and whinging at 3 o’clock at night. (I have lodgers!)
My Ben. A part of my life. A part of my living in England. A part of my soul and heart. I am getting up at night and more so, my Eric. Patting him on his head, reassuring him: we are here! You are with us! You are not alone! Dreading the lodgers are waking up.
You know, dogs adjust to whatever life throws at them. That’s what they are saying. But, dogs have a soul, an ever so gentle soul, innocent, trusting.
The animal world is so differnt from ours. The two dog girls living with us, Molly and Dina, are giving him a hard time, growling, taking his food from under his nose, denying him a sleeping place. He moves to the blank floor, turning his head, not to annoy them, making himself small.
And, here am I, owner of a blind dog, loving him so much. Suffering in my human heart. Pity? That’s not a word in the dog’s world. But, in mine. Since wolves accompanied humans for hunting and protecting; they always adjust to their environment. Will I adjust to living with a blind dog? I am suffering, silently, because of my heart which is human. I am sad, so sad. And then, Ben comes up to me, carefully, paw for paw, looking into nothingness, putting his head on my leg, wagging his tail.
Life is worth living as long as possible. Life is worth living as long as there is love and understanding, a bond between dogs and humans, a wgging tail, a memory of the sun and the green grass and the gentle spring wind. I will be his eyes, telling him about the green grass, the wind, the sunshine and ‘watch, a doggy coming’, ‘watch, up’, ‘watch down’ the sidewalk.
He is 9 years old now and I so dread the time after him. I grew up with dogs and have never been without a dog and they all died from old age. But, I never have been with a blind dog like my Ben. I have two girls. Why don’t they support me, why don’t they support Ben? Always growling, putting him to the lowest place around. Nicking his treats, Occupying his space. How am I supposed to react? I love all my three dogs but, my Ben is my life.