Sunday, October 14, 2012

Three blind dogs.

A quick glance and a whispered, "What happened to her eyes?"

That's something often heard when out and about with Hiker and/or Breeze.

Brook's eyes look normal since she has detached retinas and therefore it's not readily apparent that she has no vision.  If you were to look closely for a minute or so, you'd see that Brook's eyes sometimes slightly shake within their sockets and each eye will move independently of each other.  But if you didn't know, you'd think she could see.

Brook is a very confident little thing.  Little in that she is only 28 pounds yet is two years old.  Initially we thought she might be a dwarf but have come to learn that there are people trying to down-size the breed.  Likely she is a result of that.  Another term to describe Brook is intense!  She is always ready to go and wants to be the first to get there.  

Hiker (also double merle, therefore the extra white in her coat) and Breeze were both born with microphthalmia, tiny, undeveloped eyes.  Hiker's left eye was becoming constantly infected despite eye drops 2 - 3 times per day.  This past spring, a decision was made for her to have enucleation surgery.  (Our vet said that Hiker's left eye was about half developed and the right eye was only about a quarter of an eye) Since she had no vision in either eye, both were removed.

When she came home, Bill stayed close by and I think he might have been making fun of her just a little bit since he has one eye closed. (His eyes and vision are fine.  Sometimes he thinks he's funny.)

"Her eye.  I think there's something wrong with her eye."

Hiker recovered quickly from surgery and within a few days was back to her usual happy-go-lucky self.  The other most often heard comment about Hiker, "Is she always this happy?"  Yes she is! For a dog that was attacked and left with thick scars across the back of her neck, her face and had a part of her ear ripped off, she is the most laid-back and happy girl.  She is also very independent and likes her time alone but also loves, loves attention.

As you can see in this picture from our hike yesterday, Hiker just looks like she always has her eyes closed. (those are seeds on her ear and neck)

Breeze's eyes look almost identical to how Hiker's were.   

It was only two and a half months ago that I arranged to pull Breeze and her brother Chance (who is blind in one eye and happily was quickly adopted to a wonderful family) from the kill shelter on their PTS date. Then it was a 30+ hour drive to get them home. (thanks T & C for joining the road trip)  In that time, Breeze has gone from weighing 13 pounds to weighing 37.5 pounds - she is getting big and those spots are getting darker!

Breeze and Chance at 12 weeks old.  Safe at home!

I really notice how big Breeze is getting since she still has not mastered the stairs in the house.  That means that I carry her up to bed at night and down in the morning.  Each time I do this I tell her she has to learn the stairs.  Likely I am starting to say it in a slightly pleading/whiny tone of voice.

Breeze will learn the stairs.  Both Hiker and Brook did and now they literally run up and down, often jumping the last stair or two while playing.  We're going to keep trying!

A typical puppy, Breeze is learning quickly.  She was never really taught to sit, yet does.  She has somehow "taught" herself to shake a paw.  

In addition to the usual commands, the blind girls have been taught "watch",  "stop" and "curb" to indicate an obstacle.  When Hiker was first adopted, the word curb made sense since she had to step up and down off the curbs at the ends of sidewalks.  We just kept using it.  Sounds a bit silly out in the wilderness to say "curb" when approaching a downed tree!

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to visit our new blog!  We love the comments and will be checking out your blogs. 


  1. We have seen collies with the same problems, because of double Merle breedings. One pup was dumped jn a shelter, and she was both blind and deaf. But she loved being petted and cuddled. She was adopted by her foster mom. It's so sad when people risk their puppies health, just to produce a litter of just merles.

    1. I agree with you about the breeding and there are also those that breed without being responsible. I hope that through my blog more people will see how normal the blind and deaf dogs are and maybe give a rescue a chance.

  2. Anonymous10/14/2012

    I have to admit, I don't know too many dogs with vision challenges. It was interesting to read about your pack! They are all so beautiful!

    1. Thanks! Any guess as to what breed Breeze is? We initially thought ACD but she's far too big already at not quite six months! But oh so cute!

  3. I love reading more and more about your dogs! Breeze is quite stunning! Here's to hoping she learns the stairs soon - if not, hey, she's helping you with your work out! ;)

    1. Breeze HAS to learn the stairs, she's getting too big to carry - oh my aching back!

  4. I fostered a blind hound puppy ( from age 6-11 months (before he found his furever home), and while he had no issues going up and down the outdoor steps to the yard, he never would go down my indoor stairs. Up he'd go, then I had to carry him down every time. By 11 months old he was BIG, and it was getting flat out dangerous for both of us! His adoptive mom Jean says he went up AND down the stairs at her home immediately with no problems, so go figure! I think he just had my number...