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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

I have always loved R's eyes. They glow deep brown, standing out against his black fur. More than anything, his eyes are so expressive. I can see how he's feeling by looking into his eyes.
We are still attempting to wrap our brains around what is happening to R's eyes. Of course, we can see that they look changed to us - they are a bit less expressive than before as glaucoma attacks them. But what matters the most is what is happening to his vision.

He's always been our SuperDog - the dog who can spring into the air and fly as if gravity doesn't affect him.

His elbow CUE surgery, now 2.5 years ago, preserved his ability to run and jump.

His over-the-top enthusiasm for running, leaping, and retrieving has always made us grin. This is R demanding that the ball be thrown into the lake for him about a month ago.

The end of each play session at a lake is similar - with him saying "please, please, please... just one more throw!". You can see the intensity and intelligence in his eyes.
Now, we are facing a probable big change in his life. In what feels like an instant, he's blind in one eye. The type of glaucoma that he has always affects both eyes. We are treating his good eye to try to slow the deterioration but we know where we are headed. So, we watch him incredibly closely to try to see signs of how vision loss is affecting him. Of course, we can see how his behavior has already changed due to lack of vision - but he's still an exuberant dog.

I've read that it will help him if we can teach him various verbal cues before he goes completely blind. These cues would be things like "step up" and "stop" to alert him to dangerous things in his environment. I haven't had the heart to start on them yet. Also, I'd like to resume nosework with him because it's something that he likes... that he can still do when he's completely blind. That's on my list of things that I'll do when I accept where we're headed.

The Runner has an idea for how to make a beeping retrieving object so that R can keep leaping into lakes and bringing back toys. That's one aspect of his life that is already affected by his vision loss. I hope that the Runner's idea works because it would make us all smile.
So, we are in a phase of contemplating and trying to accept the cruel truth of glaucoma. However, we suspect that R is way ahead of us in accepting and coping with it because he's still so happy. There will undoubtedly be big changes to our life as the disease progresses but now is the time to make the most of each day. In other words, we want to imitate R's life outlook!


  1. my eyes are filled with tears, this is so heartbreaking. He will most like adapt better than you and your hubby. dogs are so wonderful and R is so smart. prayers and hugs to all of you for your aching hearts. Your superman dog loves to fly... we never know what life will slap us with and I am so sorry this has happened to you

  2. We know you will help R cope and R will help you too, love makes all the difference.

  3. Perhaps a simple water toy could be made by putting something that makes a constant chirp or alarm sound - there are a lot of little electronic things that you can set alarms on, even kitchen timers - in a little soft waterproof case or bag, like one made to hold important papers, matches, a phone, etc., and stuff that inside a spongey foam dog stick or a heavy canvas dog chew thingy...

  4. Maybe some kind of soft case like one of these then stuffed in a 10 inch length of a thinner pool noodle?|401_12208648|%2Brei%20%2Bwaterproof%20%2Bcases|PB|81958820-d5a4-41d7-99cd-c945941385a8|kwd-485754877399&kclid=81958820-d5a4-41d7-99cd-c945941385a8&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3ebdBRC1ARIsAD8U0V4O-BoLNf3DOqRWshg-gbiljLQ5I1RnJTv-s-n9VMWXGKRw2ZvwNfIaAifIEALw_wcB

    1. Thank you so much! I had no idea that there were so many "dry" containers that we could put a beeping thing inside. Also, I am not a pool swimmer so I had never heard of a "pool noodle". What a great idea! Our options just expanded a lot, thanks to you!

  5. And these bumpers/dummies can be injected with scent and used on land or water :)

  6. We hope you can be happy every single day of your life, R, and we know that your mom and dad will do whatever they can to make that happen. We love you, buddy♥

  7. I saw a quote from a book entitled, "Really important Stuff my Dog has Taught Me" by Cynthia L. Copeland...I think it describes R
    "His enthusiasm for even the most seemingly insignificant events is contagious. A dog is a living exclamation point!"
    Happy Black Dog Sunday

  8. Dogs always accept their limitations better than us humans. The idea to create a beeping item seems like a great and creative way to allow your guy to enjoy his water retrieving days after the glaucoma completely takes over his vision. Good luck!

  9. These photos are amazing and show a happy and active dog. I am convinced that animals in general deal much better with diseases and loss of abilities than we humans do, so I think he will stay happy even if his vision totally declines. But I can understand that it is hard on you, and I love how you and the Runner think of ways how to keep life good and active for R.

  10. Yes, it's big huge changes and it's going to be so different, so challenging, so hard. But I just know that you will find new ways to enrich R's life and that he will find new ways to enjoy each day as well.
    We look forward to seeing the new toy the Runner comes up with for him!
    Jan & the crew at Wag 'n Woof Pets

  11. Another even bigger challenge, and you will face this one with courage as well. Innovative, I am sure R will get many new toys that tell him where they are, and enjoy them with his same enthusiasm. XXX

  12. I wish I had words that would help or change everything. And I don't. It is hard to accept. I hear you. I'm guessing it is scary for you at the mere thought of R going blind and the disease is already in progress. You will find your way KB. R and Shyla will help you. I know it doesn't seem like it, but it will be OK. Just take it one day at a time. It is all any of us can do. (((HUGS)))

  13. R is incredible. He has already proven what he can overcome with his recovery from that elbow surgery. We hope the Runner is successful with his idea. That would be so good for R.

  14. There is no way anyone else could care for R as well as his pawrents! Yous are doing everything to help him as his vision deteriorates. Despite this loss, and more to come, we know he is going to have a good life!

  15. We know R will take on this new challenge and with your help be successful in transitioning to his new normal. Our paws are crossed that all goes well for all of you.

  16. Murphy and Stanley are so right. We know you will do the best you can to help R continue to live a full and happy life
    Hazel & Mabel

  17. I love how you're thinking of ways of keeping him active and part of the fun! He will be fine and happy with your being "his eyes" and finding those fun ways to help him do all the things he loves and are a part of him!

  18. I am so sorry this happened to R and so sorry this is happening to you. I'm sure he will find his way and he probably will show you the way as well. Dogs have a way of doing that. I met a woman who trains you to train your dogs before they go completely blind. Maybe you can find someone or I'm sure there are books that can help. I think it's important to do it ahead of time, as you said. Samson is doing so well now, that I haven't done anything either. Sending good thoughts and hugs.

  19. R trusts all of you! And his bravery shows in everything he has been through..
    We constantly are sending good thoughts, and healing thoughts,, for R and all of you, his family.
    Runner will come up with something,,,, I just know it..
    And we still see the sparkle in R's eyes, in his personality,.. in his happiness, and his love of life.


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