It’s been a while since I’ve continued our story with Ben.
We are slowly all getting used to the situation. As far as it is possible to look at your beloved pet thinking, he never sees sun light again on our walks. It is spring now and how much did he always enjoy being out in the fields!
It seems very strange that most of the problems he has, are inside the house and in the garden. He still bumps into everything, especially when he is excited. His position in the pack surely is the lowest now. My two Cocker Spaniel girls have taken over and sometimes are even ‘bullying’ him. He doesn’t come into the living room any more in the evenings when we are watching tv or are reading. I’ve tried many times to lead him gently into the living room, even offered him his old place on the sofa next to me. The girls wouldn’t have it! They growl at him and when I tell them off (I am still the pack leader, no matter how hard they sometimes try to get this position as well) they simply stare at Ben. He cannot see their body langeuage but somehow he can feel the tension, I think.
In the kitchen, he has a large cushioned basket. Whenever I put his toys into it, one of the girls snatches it away into her own basket. So, his basket is bare of toys, which he used to love and never got tired of carrying them around and offering them to us. But, he never defends his toys to the girls. At night, his favourite place is now next to the garden door, for whatever reason. When he walks, he keeps mostly to the sides of the walls and the kitchen cabinets.
I am sure, he is still enjoying the walks, though. The other day, he was rolling in the freshly cut meadows and ran, yes he ran! I don’t understand why he is not using his nose much to track us. I always have to keep an eye on him because sometimes, he seems confused about the direction we are walking in. I keep talking to him on walks, calling him whenever he goes the wrong way. I’m not a very talkative person and often forget that Ben can’t see when I am pointing outside at something or when going about my housework. The other day I said: ‘Look Ben! A birdie!’ He looked puzzled trying eagerly to please me and to find the birds to flush them. I felt really sorry for him.
One thing I’ve noticed is, when we are outside, Molly and Dina are stopping at whatever they’re doing, looking at Ben, who is too slow now to run with them like before. I know, dogs don’t feel pity like human beings but, they feel he still is one of the pack and we have to keep together outside.
Molly is in heat now, and we decided to have 1 litter of puppies from her and keep one of them. Ben has always been great with puppies. Years ago, when we had a litter from Dina, he lay all day in the garden in front of their box guarding them. Even when they grabbed his tail with their little gritter teeth, he never complained.
I am so looking forward to the puppies. It will cheer us all up, I think. Living with a blind dog is heart wrenching for me. Am I selfish? I think, yes. I have been living with dogs all my life. In fact, they are my life. I am not working any more and my children are all married and have their own families. My family are my dogs. They always will be. People who never had a dog would not understand.