An ordinary day living with a blind dog

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 …

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An ordinary day living with a blind dog

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 …

Source: An ordinary day living with a blind dog

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An ordinary day living with a blind dog

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 …

Source: An ordinary day living with a blind dog

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An ordinary day living with a blind dog

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 …

Source: An ordinary day living with a blind dog

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An ordinary day living with a blind dog

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.

 

 

 

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Ben – living with a blind dog

Slowly, slowly Ben – and I for that matter- are adjusting to this big change in our everyday life.

We have decided for now not to get Ben’s eyes extracted. We will have to face that when there is no other choice, which means if Ben is suffering, in pain or other medical reasons which might occur.  At the moment, Ben is enjoying his walks in the fields which he is used to since he was a puppy. He is socialising with many of his friends and if I meet people who don’t know that my dog is blind, I let them know and the dogs can enjoy getting to know each other. Occasionally, we have the big bouncy dog running towards us but, so far, there never was a problem. I think, dogs who have grown up in an appropriate, good environment, don’t have problems with Ben’s blindness. Mostly, it is how dog owners react and influence their dog’s behaviour in case the hackles go up. But, as I’ve said,  up until now we only had good experiences outdoors.

Indoors, however, there seem to be more problems. My two girls, Dinah (8) who grew up with Ben, and Molly, her four year old daughter, seem not to be as tolerant as I would have expected. They claim more and more space in the house. At night, when we are in our living room, the girls claim the sofa and chair and growl at him as soon as he wants to come in. The other day, I caught Molly, the bold one, snatching his bone from underneath his nose. Outside, both girls are very protective of him when another dog approaches but, in the house, it’s a different story.

I am not quite sure yet how to react. I take his side, get the bone back but he doesn’t take it back any more. I carry him onto the sofa next to me, but he feels uncomfortable and makes his way back,  after seconds, into the kitchen to his corner, bumping against walls, chairs and cabinets. The behaviour of the two girls seem to have more effect on him than my ‘protecting’ him. So, I decided to just stand back and watch how things are developing. As a human (and a mother) I tend to protect him, give him his way, guide him. Slowly I doubt that this is the right way. Dogs, I think, are quite capable of taking care of themselves in any given situation. Maybe I have complicated the whole matter by interfering too much from my human point of view.

Since I am sending this blog out, I’ve had many helpful responses and most dog-friends assure me that dogs do adjust to their blindness, some of them so much that it is hard to reckognise that they are blind. In Ben’s case it is very slow going. Each dog is different. Ben has become a very timid, insecure, helpless dog. It breaks my heart. I try not to show him my pity but dogs sense whatever you are feeling, don’t they? If only my two bitches would support me more but they seem taking  more and more advantage of their big brother.

If you have any kind of advise, I’d appreciate your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ben – Living With a Blind Dog

Ben, my companion of 9 years, my friend, my follower, my joy, is blind since 4 weeks now. He still is bumping into everything. Yesterday, I took him off the lead in a field where we are taking the dogs  since 9 years. There was ONE tree in his way and he heavily bumped into it. He got up, shook himself, and carried on. That’s dogs. They live in the moment, deal with it and carry on.

As his total blindness came suddenly, he needs some time to cope, to adjust. Some dog owners are telling me: He will be fine. Dogs are amazing. They’ll adjust. Well, let me tell you, one dog is different from the other, just like us humans. Ben is not doing well.

He seems to have forgotten day and night rhythm. At 3 o’clock, usually, he starts crying. Is it desparation, is it fear, is it to be comforted? One of us, usually my Eric, is going downstairs bringing him up to the bedroom. There, he lies behind the door, is content and sleeps until 7 o’clock or so.

I have 3 dogs, 2 girls and him. I’ve noticed, the girls growl at him, snatch his treats and food and today I ‘ve seen one of them laying on his place, growling when he wanted to go to his bed. I told her off, of course. They say, there is a dog’s world and our human thinking. But what am I to do? I don’t want him to be constantly intimidated.

My Ben has been a proud dog, great in his posture – just a beautiful dog. Now, he is timid, trying to adjust, making himself small. Trying to please his 2 girls living with him, and us.

They are great in the field, outdoors, barking off any dog coming near him.Especially Molly. But, indoors, they are reducing him to a timid, frightened dog. How can I change tha withot breaking the girls? It is heart breaking and hard. How much can I interfere without breaking the dog’s world rules? It is all so hard.

There is more to life than dogs, some say. But, living with dogs, it is a life! My life and Ben’s. I am responsible for him, he is my friend and companion. I will not let him down!

I know, there are many bad issues for many in the world. But, Ben is my dog and I love him. I’ve shared so much wih him. I am exhausted, so is my Eric. We will never give up on him.

I love Cocker Spaniels. I love all creatures on this earth; but the issue with Ben is breaking my heart. His innocence, his trying to cope and  his efforts to still wanting to please us, it is hard, believe me.

The vet gave us tranqilizers. I’m not using them yet as I know they will make him addicted. I will just wait, and see, how much I can take withou sleep.  And my Eric, who has to get up at 6 to go to work.

 

 

 

 

 

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