Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ruffin's eyesight problem worsens

On Thursday I have a followup appointment to take Ruff to The Animal Eye Institute with Dr. Haeussler, the Ophthalmologist. I don't look forward to this with any high hopes since the previous exam suggested that Ruff's eyesight problem was likely caused by a tumor pressing on his optic nerve and that would suggest surgery. But a tumor could only be confirmed after a CT Scan.
We had some false hopes that the Prednisone prescription was doing some good reducing the swelling after a few days but the hopes were dashed when Ruff's blindness condition worsened. Now he seems to be unable to walk through the house without walking into corners and getting confused. Bessie seems unable to recognize the nature of his problem and seems to want to make a game of it all. I am hoping this is some way that she is slowly learning how to help.

A few years ago my brother told me a story about two Labrador Retrievers he once owned. He said he found out one day that one of them was blind and it was only after the other dog had died. For some length of time the dog that could see was helping guide the blind one around and was doing such a good job my brother didn't notice. As I recall this story I realize that Bessie could possibly be of help but I don't know if she can do this intuitively.

I have tried to make things go as easy for Ruff as I can to help him get around without hurting himself. I have taken him out front on a leash because I found when he walked around he often walked into the bushes and got lost. The only place where I can let Ruff go out unattended is in the fenced back yard around the pool. We have a low deck outside the back door that has three steps down to the ground. I have noticed Ruff carefully feeling the steps with his front paw as he tries to go down the steps. So far he has managed to do this by himself but once in awhile when I try to guide him by his collar he freezes at the top step and is hesitant to walk down it.

If anyone who reads this blog has first-hand experience with a blind dog, please send me an email.
Thank you.
I have gotten one reply about living with a blind dog and after reading it I realized my first mistake already, today. I mentioned I saw Ruff trying to get his footing walking down the short flight of steps off the deck. Once he found the first step he went down the next two pretty fast and leaped off the bottom step.

Inside the house he did something late this afternoon he has never done before. I went down to the basement and when I came up I turned off the stair lights but left the door open. The next thing I heard was a loud thump, thump, thump and when I ran to the basement door I saw him walking around downstairs. Apparently he didn't fall down the stairs because he wasn't hurt. He must have gotten his footing set on the top step and did a rapid walk/fall down the stairs. He must have memorized the proper gait going up and down the stairs that he got used over the years but today he did it very fast.
The unusual part of this near deadly accident was the fact that over the years, every time I went down to the basement Ruff would play a game with me and wait at the top of the stairs for me to come back up. I called him the toll collector because he wanted to get hugs and kisses before he would let me get past him. This is the photo I posted here back in October 2012. And who wouldn't want to sit down and give him a big hug and a kiss?
I also did a spot check of the other links I found but didn't see any mention of a two dog family where one dog helped the other. That is what I am hoping for as Bessie gets a little more mature and begins to realize what is going on.



  1. I did a google search and found this site, I thought it might be of help to you. I hope that Ruff is doing OK. I hope that Bessie can help him.

    1. Thanks for the lead. I registered on this web site today.

  2. Several years ago, we had a little house dog named Rags (so named because when she was adopted from the rescue, her hair was so long and matted it looked like rags hanging off of her) who developed bad cataracts and went blind. She memorized her way around the house and didn't have to much trouble getting around. There were issues when the furniture was moved, but she eventually grew used to the the change.

    It may take some time, but Ruff will grow used to the change if surgery isn't an option.

    1. Cinny, Thank you for the words of encouragement. I am more concerned about the possibility of a brain tumor. Something that serious would preclude any surgery. Just the costs of a CT Scan is estimated at $1500.