24 January 2009

The Blind Dog


No, the light hasn't caught her eyes, Goldy, the cocker spaniel is completely blind. (I didn't see the grass on her nose till later but then Goldy uses her nose all the time).

Goldy has been coming to Pension Milou for a few years now. She's eleven years old and was bought in a shop in Nice when she was just four months. She lives with a beautiful French lady called Catherine and her two children in Monaco and in La Turbie where she enjoys the garden. Two years ago when Catherine went through a divorce, sweet Goldy was there for her. And Catherine has always been there for Goldy - it's a relationship that is beautiful to see.

When Goldy was one year old, she was diagnosed with degradation of the retina and Catherine was told she would eventually go completely blind. She deteriorated but for years still had the tiniest amount of sight and so she managed very well here, finding her way down the steps to the garden. She'd even go on the ski lift with the family when they visit Valberg - and she still does.

Catherine and I used to discuss how Goldy would manage when she went completely blind and I told her I was sure , because she was so familiar with her Monaco apartment and with this house and garden, that she'd do fine.

I was wrong. One day Catherine called to say that Goldy had suddenly gone completely blind and that she was at a standstill. She wouldn't move. It took a month before she found her confidence and could find her way around her apartment alone. The same happened here. She was terrified, frozen to the spot, and I had to guide her everywhere for the first few visits.

But you know, dogs are amazing. Goldy is so brave. She now walks around, nose glued to the ground - that's how she finds her way about - she moves slowly, especially going down the flight of steps to the garden. But she manages. She won't be rushed. She trusts her nose more than me. She sleeps in the kitchen, behind a baby gate. I feel that is best for her. She has security with no other dogs to bother her. I was concerned some of the dogs wouldn't understand why she doesn't react as other dogs do and so perhaps could hurt her. In fact, at times, when she's with the dogs outside, they are fine and she always likes to sniff them and say hello. She knows the kitchen area though - she can find the water bowl, she knows where her bed is located.

Her head is always on one side, cocked, listening for sounds. When I go into the kitchen, she perks up - is it food time? Goldy loves her food. And she is so trusting. When it's 'biscuit time' before bed, she stands there waiting - she knows I won't forget to give her a biscuit. Or two.

Dogs astound me. They are brave, they don't complain, they even enjoy life despite their physical problems. Didn't someone say, 'Everything I learned, I learned from my dog?' That is surely so.

Every dog I've owned has taught me something different and some of the dogs who come to stay teach me too. There are new challenges with Mistral and Mia. With Mistral I'm learning patience as she won't allow me to relax on the sofa. If I'm reading she'll paw the book out of my hand for attention. She isn't yet able to sit beside me, me stroking her, she has to continually push and prod me for yet more. Not very relaxing when I want to watch the television. Patience, Jilly.

Mia is scared of strangers and has obviously been beaten by a man as she goes crazy when she sees one, wanting to get as far away from him as possible and telling me with her continual barking that this dreadful creature is in the vicinity. Yet, she's not as needy for affection as Mistral. She's happy to sit alongside, just so long as she knows where I am. With her though I have to deal with her mad crazy barking when I prepare the food. Any other dog I'd tell to be quiet. With Mia, I'm trying Cesar Millan's (The Dog Whisperer) technique of saying quietly and calmly - but definitely - 'Psst' - and slowly we are getting there. There is improvement with strangers - she too is brave - she sometimes ventures up to sniff a hand, but then runs away again. We'll get there...

From our dogs, we learn how to love unselfishly. We learn compassion, patience, how to fall about with laughter and so much more. Goldy taught me about courage and not to complain. It can't be easy for her to stay at Pension Milou and when Catherine comes to collect her, she goes crazy and is truly happy again. It's almost as if she knows Catherine has to go away sometimes and so she bravely puts up with the time spent here. Goldy is a kind dog. Another lesson.

13 comments:

USelaine said...

What a lovely, lovely story about Goldy. There is a dignity in her continued happiness, and it must surely be fortified by having such empathetic care from you.

Kate said...

Jilly, this is a wonderful of post with three anecdotes of your canine friends. I must try to find "The Dog Whisperer" now. Thanks for the tip!!

Jilly said...

Kate, the Dog Whisperer is an American television programme about training dogs. Cesar Millan is really good.

Virginia said...

What a grand story jilly. Give Goldy and little smooch for me! I hope "Les Girls" are continuing to improve. Mia will settle down soon with your love and care.
CV

Neva said...

The Dog Whisperer....quite the fellow...his show is amazing....as his "bond" with dogs.....I am glad your 2 new dogs are settling in...all be it on their own terms....but just think how long it took them to get to what they were and how they are today....good job, Jilly.

maria said...

I used to get a kick out of Barbara Woodhouse (yes, I Know, I'm dating myself...) but Cesar Millan is great.
Amen to your thoughts, Jilly. Humans have a lot to learn from them - especially about unconditional love.

lady jicky said...

Jilly the lady we bought Kenzo from had a blind pug! I thought well - that is a sign from my pug Rosie! Well, this pug had all the other dogs inline. When we got our puppy home -I have a concrete statue in the garden of a pug and little Kenzo must of thought it was the blind pug - he backed off and was scared. this pug was the boss - blind as a bat but she was giving them all "what for"! LOL
I am doing the Cesar "calm assertiveness " here too. I think its working! Well - it did yesterday! LOL

Snapshutter said...

Just love reading about your dogs. Everything you say is spot on. Brings back so many memories of our Annie, gotten from the Humane Society, our first 'child'. And Nicki, a stray who picked our front door step for someone to take her in.

PJ said...

Hi, Jilly. Love your observations about pooches, I'm always humbled by them. You're a good mum.

Nathalie said...

Jilly there's so much to take from your last couple of posts and certainly from this one. There's so much to learn in life. Dogs are certainly a good way to learn - kids are another.

I'm so pleased things are turning good for Mia and Mistral. As you say, you'll all get there.

Lessie said...

She's a good dog and a beautiful one, too. Candy, my mom's dog, went blind silently, with no change in behavior. So much so that mom said she argued with the vet about whether Candy could see. Mom refused to believe Candy was blind until the vet explained Candy's retina was completely gone. Dogs react differently -- like people. I'm glad Glody has gained her confidence and is getting along great.

Julie said...

I enjoyed the post very much, Jilly. Thank you ...

Adam said...

i feel bad for the blind dog

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