By Laura Kelly
My friends John and Kelly contacted my Schnauzer rescue group about a dog who was going to be surrendered to the shelter where they were volunteers. The dog, named Jenny, was 6 years old and blind, and the owner was moving and couldn't take her. My colleague and I discussed it, and decided to give the little girl a chance.
A couple of days later my friend emailed me -- Jenny, along with her two year old daughter, Tiny, had arrived. Kelly wasn't sure if Tiny was all Schnauzer or not. Mentally groaning about taking in a blind dog and a possible mixed breed we'd have a hard time placing, I arranged for them to be transported to us.
It turned out that Tiny was indeed tiny and appeared to have somesort of toy breed in her bloodline. Jenny seemed to be completely blind. She couldn't see dog toys in the floor right in front of her and would cringe if she stepped on them and they squeaked.
It was immediately evident that Tiny took care of Jenny.
Somehow she knew not to let Jenny walk into walls or down the stairs without knowing they were there, and would block Jenny with her little body. She also didn't want the other dogs to bother Jenny and would get between them and Jenny if they approached. She also made a complete nuisance of herself if I did anything Jenny didn't like, such as grooming or nail trimming. She would wiggle in between us or jump up and down and scratch at my legs. In a busy house full of Schnauzers, she was on the job constantly, buzzing around trying to intervene in something Jenny was doing or something being done to her. She seemed to never sleep. She made me tired just watching her.
We put them our adoption website, looking for both a home and for donations to help with the expensive surgery. A few people had the nerve to apply for Tiny and not Jenny. I deleted them without a second look. Anyone willing to do something as cruel as taking away the only thing Jenny had going for her wasn't getting a dog from me.
We arranged for Jenny to see a dog eye specialist, who said she was a good candidate for cataract surgery. He gave us one bottle of drops to begin dissolving the cataracts, and another to dilate her pupils so she could partially see around the cataract.
That night, I got out the drops and tried to put them in Jenny'seyes. She resisted and Tiny drove me nuts, trying to crawl all over me and lick the drops out of Jenny's eyes. Finally I succeeded, and Tiny took up her vigil beside Jenny in the middle of the floor, where Jenny insisted on sleeping.
A short while later I looked up when Jenny moved. She stood up and moved her head back and forth. It appeared she was looking around!
My suspicion was confirmed when she walked over, stuck her head under the ottoman and grabbed a toy that was under it -- something that she never could have known about without seeing it. She lay back downand began to contentedly squeak the toy duck.
Seeing this, Tiny did something that amazed me just as much... She got up, walked away from Jenny, and, for the first time, curled up in a dog bed several feet away and went to sleep. She seemed to just know her services were no longer required and she could relax.
The two were adopted together, and the new family got Jenny her eye surgery.
She could see perfectly afterwards, and Tiny got to be her own dog, reportedly re-living the puppyhood she missed out on being Jenny's seeing eye dog..
-- Laura Kelley [lek1 at bellsouth.net]