Blind Love

Blind Love, by Debby Kay © 2015 all rights reserved

You have heard the cliché “all good things come in small packages” many times, I am sure. I can think of no better way to describe how I feel about my little Chihuahua, Boo. He is full of happiness, joy, and a zest for life that is very uplifting, no matter how troubled I might be. He makes me smile and snuggles with such passion you can feel the love coming through the warmth of his fur.

One of Boo’s favorite games to play in the house is what we call the dragon game. He has a special dragon toy he adores. I will snatch it up and fly the dragon around his head making silly sounds as he jumps at it. When he finally catches the mighty dragon, I let go and he races off, making sweeping circles around the furniture, with a final leap up to his favorite chair. Once in the chair he “tames” the dragon by chewing on his nose.

As we were playing one evening with the lights a little dimmer than usual, he missed the chair when he tried to jump. He did not try again and stopped playing abruptly. In fact, it was several days before he would play again. I noticed also that night when I took him out for his last walk that he waited at the door until I went out first and tripped the motion sensor light on our porch. Over the next week my husband Sam and I noticed more and more things that made us think our sweet little dog was not seeing well. I scheduled an appointment with the veterinarian. After a careful examination along with a lengthy technical explanation, the vet determined that Boo was going blind. I had hoped it would be a diagnosis of something simple like cataracts, which can be operated on. No, this was a more elaborate disorder and unfortunately there is nothing to do to stop the progressive decrease in his vision. We were told he would have greater difficulty in low lights and at nighttime. There was no way to determine how much longer he would have nominal vision. The vet also told us he was a much older dog than the 2 years old the shelter said he was. Based on the changes in the eyes the vet said he was more likely to be 7 or 8 years old. Boo acted embarrassed at the vets office, almost as if he was afraid I was going to abandon him. I hugged him tightly and whispered, ” I will always love you no matter what.”

close up of dog'e eyes

Boo will most likely go completely blind in a few years.

Knowing the status of his eyesight has made me realize why all the remodeling being done in our house has him so upset. Things are constantly being shifted from one place to another as contractors finish up one part and move on to another. One of the first things I will make sure happens when the last contractor leaves, is once the furniture is placed, it will not be moved. It is very important to a dog with limited vision or no vision that objects remain in the same place as he learns the patterns of where everything is so he can function close to normal.

In the meantime, while we cope with the constant ebb and flow of contractors, I have done a little research to see what supplements I can get in his diet to help his eyes. From an article by Dr. Karen Yale, I found these five supplements to add to Boo’s new diet plan.

  1. Bilberry was used by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots during WWII so they could see better on their nighttime bombing runs. Because it boosts night vision, provides quicker adjustment to darkness, and allows faster recovery from glare, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular nutrient today for anyone who needs to see better, especially at night.
  2. Lutein is a nutrient found mainly in green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli. It’s a unique antioxidant that safeguards your eyes’ retinal cells from damaging high-energy blue light and free radicals. It’s like a pair of sunglasses that filter out bright light. Lutein’s been clinically proven to protect your vision by increasing the density of your macula by as much as 50 percent.
  3. Vitamin A is considered to be vital for ongoing vision health. It improves weak eyesight by influencing the formation of rhodopsin, a pigmented compound in the rods of the retina. Vitamin A helps you see better in dim light and maintain the integrity of membranes that keep the cornea moistened.
  4. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is often called the “universal antioxidant.” Soluble in both water and fat, ALA helps neutralize a wide array of cell-damaging free radicals in your eyes.
  5. Taurine nourishes and protects the lens and retina. Stress and vitamin deficiencies can reduce taurine levels.

I still take Boo with me as I do farm chores. He seems to relish his role of keeping birds out of the garden, and will lie soaking in the sun for hours while I weed. I have never had a dog go blind on me before, so this will be a learning experience for both of us. We are ready, though, for whatever the future holds.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

William Shakespeare

small dog sleeping with a toy dragon

Once conquered the Dragon makes a nice nose warmer