Jessie came to us many years ago as a temporary foster dog but she was never going anywhere. From a naughty and previously ill-treated nine-month-old dog she grew in size and in beauty into a dog with the sweetest disposition. She gave us many years of pleasure and loyalty and hopefully we gave her a loving happy home; but with age she became almost blind and we were still there for her.
Sadly on September 12, 2015, Jessie's life came to an end.
But here is what we learned as she grew older and her eyesight began to fade
When your dog goes blind there are many daily challenges. Here are just a few that Jess faced:
What you can do
Never take your dog's eyesight problems for granted.
Make sure a veterinarian checks your dog's eyesight at each visit especially in older dogs. A sight problem could be a sign of an underlying health problem or even easily fixed.
If the problem is cataracts surgery may be possible but expensive. A good vet should always consider your dog's age and any other health concerns before considering surgery; anaesthetic in older dogs could prove fatal and should only be given in emergency or severe health situations.
Dogs rely a great deal on sense-of smell and so Jessie was usually able to find her food bowl without problems. But it is still best to set aside a feeding part of a room or outdoors and stick to it.
Remember that dogs are unable to communicate concerns to you vocally and you have to think for them sometimes. Think about this when you are trying to make your home friendlier for a blind pet.
Quality of life
For all of us quality of life should be paramount.
Jessie went into a shell when her sight began to fail and her beloved companion Leo died. Depression set in and she took to her bed big-time.
Feisty Tinka a young small rescue dog with issues breezed in and breathed new-life into Jess.
They looked incongruous as we went for walks, him so small, and she so tall, but they became firm buddies.
Taking another dog in when your existing one is ageing fast does not always work. The older dog can feel pushed out if you do not play the game. The older dog must be top dog, fed first, go through doors before the new intruder and so on.
Jessie and Tinka never quite had the almost Mr and Mrs Relationship she had with Leo but he was a naughty youngster for her to get into shape.
Jessie's eyesight remianed at the nuisance stage throughout her latr years; if visual impairment threatens an aimal's quality of life itmis best to act.
When Jess first came to us in around 2003 she was thin and leggy. She had been mistreated physically and mentally. Finally her cruel owners decided to move home home and left her behind tied to a tree in the garden.
In the long run that was a good move for Jessie but she was left without food and water and was terrified.
She had the usual rescue dog problems eating again and settling in; but one memory hard to ignore is her curiosity.
As we took walks she would look up at birds flying by, look back at other dogs and kids and stretch her neck to look over garden walls and have a nosey.
It is sad that she was no longer able to enjoy that in later life but she, Tinka and still enjoyed life.
When the end came it needed veterinarian intervention but it was peaceful and calm.
Jessie calmly went to sleep one last time but she will be forever missed.