Our sweet tiny Yorkie, Pirate, recently turned 14 years old. At 4 pounds he is pretty fragile and he’s been a trooper.
I’ve written about some of his adventures and mishaps but now it’s time to talk about something a bit more serious. He is blind. It seemed to happen overnight. About a year ago I noticed his eyes seemed to have a blue haze when the light shined on them…same with his “wife” Skipper who is 16 years old (he’s always loved older women…well actually he loves all women).
It wasn’t till about six months ago that I noticed he started banging in to things and that his left eye was more whitish blue. I think he’s been totally blind in that eye since then…but in the past few weeks, his other eye caught up in color and I don’t even think he sees much light through the right eye anymore, leaving him virtually totally blind. Skipper is pretty much blind also but I think she still has enough sight to figure her way around the house.
My mom is blind and has a service dog so I am particularly sensitive to needs and difficulties of the blind. Several years ago I researched several products to help her travel across the country alone to visit her sister. Word got out and others asked for my help so I started American Service Paws. I soon realized that a majority of items I was finding to help mom and those with service dogs were also helpful to any dog so my store morphed into 4thedogs.com.
I am still trying to find the information on the first product I found back in 2012 but in the mean time I did find Muffin’s Halo. Pirate has been wearing the halo for about 4 weeks now and it seems to be helping him in several ways. It has kept him from smashing into the sliding door before we get to open it. He also is able to avoid hitting his head on the car when we go outside to potty. He has picked up his speed and seems like a snow plow when running through my other three Yorkies.
So now that he has more confidence to go out in the yard, I have realized a new hazard. My pool enclosure is surrounded by a ton of bromeliads which he likes to go up close to lift his leg. Although the halo keeps him from running into things, it doesn’t actually protect his eyes. I took an up close look at the plants and they have razor sharp leaves. I am so afraid he is going to injure his eye that now I have to pick him up…place him to go potty and bring him back in.
I thought of putting his Doggles on but that is too much work for the amount of times he needs to go in and out. Don’t get me wrong….Doggles are great for on the boat or a bike ride but to wear them all the time would be too much for him. Imagine having an elastic strap around your head all day long…twelve plus hours….Do dogs get headaches?
I am working with an inventor/manufacturer to try out comfortable protective eye wear for Pirate…and if it works as well as I think it will, I’ll be getting it for Skipper also. I hope to offer it in my store as a solution for those with blind pets (I think it can be used for cats and other mammals too!).
I was horrified when a friend with a pet food ministry told me about the number of pets that are surrendered to the shelters just because they are old, blind, arthritic etc. Just at the time they need you most you just throw them away? Not on my watch. That’s why I am launching GrampPaws.com (under construction 7/2016). I just started the Facebook Page Gramp Paws and hope it will be a place where people will come and share any solutions they found helpful for their ailing pets. I hope you will check it out and spread the word.
In the meantime stay tuned for new solutions that should be popping up shortly!