*Because so many of you kindly ask how the sick one is, I’ll continue to include a brief bulletin right at the end of the blog, after the information about the Aeza Rescue.
Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’
Wednesday January 10th 2018
Yes, the sun, a sneaky, slanting one, bursts through the cloud this morning. Its menacing beam freaks out poor Isis, and when the Pet Angels come, she digs in her toes. Literally. Although R. manages to cajole and tug her out to the gate and onto the pavement, they all return minutes later.
“Abhort! Abhort!”, calls S., and Gilbert and George stand, patient as ever, while the spoiler hurries back into the house.
Even then she is anxious and unsettled when she joins me in the front room. It’s south facing and bright. She lies down close to me, but leaps up and growls when a stripe of sunlight creeps up on her.
For the first two years or so, she is unable to tolerate being in this room at all. Even on dull days the light proves too much for her. She retires to the back room. She prefers to be on her own in there anyway.
Then, gradually, over years rather than months, her desire to be with me draws her in.
This is good, but not exactly relaxing; in fact, it’s quite nerve wracking as every ten minutes or so, Isis shoots up from the rug, barking, snarling, spinning, biting at herself. I have to warn visitors, or they jump in the air too.
Sometimes her Doggles (dog sunglasses) help, but more often they don’t. She creeps off to lie in the hall, but soon, very cautiously, she comes back and tries again. And again.
Now we have bonded and she has other special human friends, she likes to be around me most of the time, and will come into the front room whenever I am there. She is much more tolerant of the brightness than she used to be and will usually try to put up with it. When, as it is this morning, it’s too much for her, we draw the blinds. Until recently this is still not enough to make her want to stay. Now, inclusion seems to be everything.
I have written about her blindness before, but as time goes on, I realise that her light/shade issues are not so cut and dried.
My current thinking is that because tissue overgrowth on the surface of her eyes covers all but a minuscule area of her pupils, she is unable to close off light, and brightness blinds her.
This is a strange thing to say about a blind dog. Yet it seems that the tiny little gap in the overgrown tissue on the surfaces of her eyes allows her to navigate. I think she is able to make out vague shapes if her head is lifted at a certain angle.
When at home, in the garden or off lead in the parks or other spaces she knows, she rarely, if ever walks into anything – unless, of course, an unfamiliar object has been placed in her path.
She can certainly perceive shadows and they frighten her. R and S have also observed this. They report that even on ‘Isis favourable’ weather days, there is a certain stretch along the way to Kings Heath Park where she sits or lies down and refuses to budge. R. now kindly carries her through this threat and off they go again.
The first time I take her to the beach when the sun is bright, I expect a refusal; but she can’t wait to scramble onto the sand to run and dance ecstatically on the end her long lead. “She must feel OK because there are no shadows,” I conclude.
Sometimes, in the park, she will lie down, cowering, on dappled grass or squash herself against a bush or hedge, but when she is enticed into the open she is fine again.
Fortunately, when the sun drives her in, or there’s no-one to take her out, she plays energetically in her back room, leaping and flipping one of her snakes around, twirling, attacking her cardboard or punishing other innocent toys
until she is exhausted.
And now we have our own garden gate into The Lane, so when I have the energy, we have that option too.
If other people have experience or knowledge of eye conditions like Hairy One’s, I would be delighted to hear from them.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk
*Sick one is doing well on her high dose of steroids. She can walk short distances with very little pain, and the swelling in the joints is greatly reduced. On Friday the dose will be cut from 18 mg to 2 mg daily, so we’ll see what happens.
She thinks a lot about being able to drive and to manage Hairy One on her lead again.