It is a common flaw of human beings to take people and things for granted when they are not thrown into a situation whereby that thing or that person is no longer around. There are gazillion of quotes reminding us not to take things/people for granted and to cherish them, but humans being humans do not often to as they are advised…sigh.
We get reminded by these quotes or even incidents which leave us heartbroken and filled with loads of regret but as times go by, we tend to conveniently forget about cherishing again.
Recently, such an incident happened to me, or more so to my dog. Not that anyone close to me pass on or something, which of course is something I would never look forward to.
My dog has had a cornea scar in her right eye for some time and more recently, developed a cataract which is very common in old dogs as well as for her breed. She is a shih tzu. Dogs with bulging eye balls tend to suffer eye problems more so than dogs who do not. I believe she is blind in that eye.
Just few days back, I had an inkling on her vision and unexplainably felt the need to test a reaction on my dog’s left eye (the good eye without any problem). I approached directly her eye creating an impact using my hand but not touching it of course, just to ensure that she blinks. Blinking means she is able to see an object nearing her eye and her natural reaction is to blink to prevent the object from entering her eye.
And she did. I was very rest assured at that point of time.
However, come weekend just 2 to 3 days after testing, I received a text from my mom informing me that my doggy was acting weird and all and she doesn’t seem to be able to see. She was knocking against walls and she did not know how to get back from the kitchen to my living room. What was worse was that she peed inside the house which is a rare sight as she would relieve herself along the corridor next to my garden to do both her small and big business.
When I first received the text, I was in total devastation. My hands were shaking a little, heart and mind racing a marathon. At the back of my mind, I was attempting to find a solution (or excuse) to deny whatever my mom has said.
It was until I actually witnessed with my own eyes.
I rushed back home with my fiance after my event that day to receive no dog running towards us, no licks and no paws scratching on our legs. All we saw was an old lost dog, attempting its best to use its nose and partial sense of hearing (her sense of hearing is not in tip-top condition anymore due to old age) to locate us.
Nevertheless, her little tail remained wagging throughout, despite not knowing where we exactly were.
My heart shattered into pieces at that very moment which I will never forget. Never in 12 years have I witnessed anything like that.
She has never acted this way. She never fails to chargeright at us once we are home, leaving us with awful red scratch markings on our thighs. Although they were always painful, I have hardly ever complained. Seeing your dog’s joyous welcome and how over the moon they are when you are back home is something an owner should never ever take granted for.
My mom has also told me that my dog refused to eat anything the whole day and I had to get her to eat, otherwise, she will suffer from gastric and vomit yellowish foam-like liquid, which is most probably stomach acid.
So, knowing that it would most probably be difficult to whet her appetite with dry food, I bought steamed rice and Caesar’s wet food to mix with instead.
Initially, she was doubtful which I am pretty certain any blind person/animal would be. However, after much sniffing and cajoling, her doubts were cast aside and she gobbled the food hungrily.
She was starving.
All this while, I was fighting back my tears. Although they get well up pretty much easily, holding them back is also my forte.
Then, inevitably, random thoughts started racing again.
What if this blindness is permanent? What is going to happen when she is blind? Who is going to provide her the extra care and attention when I am not around? How is she going to live normally everyday? How is she going to pee and poo? How is she going to look for her food tray when she is hungry or thirsty?
And the last thought, what if I have to put her down?
At this point of time, I decided to banish my brave front and cry, just like any other owner would.
With tears streaming down, I could not help but to feel helpless. There was my little girl, struggling to see but yet unable to and me being her owner, not able to assist her in any way.
I slept with a heavy heart that night.
The next day, I got up early to bring her to the vet, and one of my greatest fears was confirmed – She is blind, on both eyes. Blind without any apparent reason.
I was advised that I could consider bringing her to an optometry specialist for a MRI scan to check out what is exactly going on inside her optic nerve and all. However, as with elderly humans, elderly dogs may not take sedation very well. I was also prescribed an eye drop, supplement for my dog and a referral letter which I would require should I decide to bring my dog to the specialist.
It has been 3 days since I visited the vet and I still find myself being stuck in a catch-22 situation.
However, this morning, it seems like things changed for the better, or somewhat better.
My little precious seemed like she could actually see again, with her good eye! I was all hyped up again, looking at how she could respond with her good eye and that she could see again, was undoubtedly one of the happiest moments in my life 🙂
But my hopes were dashed as soon as it was raised.
At this point of time, I can only confirm that her vision is still somewhat unstable and uncertain. At times, it seems like she has difficulty seeing but yet at times, it all seems like she was just like before, following alongside and charging at her toys, happily playing by herself.
I guess the only thing to do now is to continue monitoring her progress, since there is a high risk that sedation may harm the health of older dogs.
With age, my dog’s sense of hearing has gradually deproved and so has her sight. She also suffers from arthritis. Despite that, we were told by the vet that her heart is still going on very strongly and I am really very thankful for that.
She may not be the cutest dog you have chanced upon, but she will always be that sweetheart in my heart.
A feeling that nobody else can ever comprehend – which I do not blame them for.
A feeling that only I know.