“You know it’s really nice that you kept her, don’t you? A lot of people wouldn’t have.”
I hear this all the time. I’m a grown man and it makes me want to cry. It’s true. A lot of people, sadly, would not have kept her. You know what that means.
She’s not ordinary. She’s blind. Even after medications and laser surgery, the pressures from glaucoma were wracking her eyes with pain and she could hardly see with them anyway. So her beautiful amber eyes were removed two years ago and the pain went away with what was left of her sight.
When we go somewhere I guide her into the car and while we walk in the park I watch the ground ahead of her to make sure she won’t step on something sharp. I also look for mud puddles and snakes and guide her around. I slap bees away from her. I keep her from falling off steep embankments. When we come to a curb I say, “Up!” or “Down!” She knows what I mean. I am a seeing eye human.
In the beginning, after her eyes were removed, she often banged her head into things in the house. I would cringe and console her, but she would just shake it off. In an amazingly short period of time she had the house memorized, so this problem went away for the most part. When we go away for a holiday and leave her at The Perfect Pet Resort (it’s actual name), they always comment on how amazed they are that, after the first time she goes out in their fenced play area, she gets around like any other dog.
One day, not long after her eye removal surgery, she and I were walking in the park. It was autumn and the leaves were gorgeous, but she couldn’t see that. A single leaf came tumbling out of a tree and helicoptered slowly down in front of us. She tracked it perfectly in the air, pointing like a bird dog, following it until it came to a skittering, rustling halt on the sun-dried fall grass. I emailed her eye surgeon about this and got a quick reply: “You just made my day!”
Some people say the worst thing is that she can no longer see me. “That little dog really loves you.” This is what a woman sitting next to me on a bench at a lacrosse game once said, watching Dusa gently put one front paw and then the other on my knees so she could get closer to my face and simply stare into my eyes with her deepest affections. I miss that and she must, too, but we make up for it with lots of nuzzling. I think I have become more dog-like and it’s wonderful.
Sometimes when we’re walking in the park, a passerby will comment on her “blue” eyes.
Usually, I smile and let it go. What they see are her fake eyes, her silicone ones. Sometimes I don’t let it go and say, “They’re not her eyes.” This is for the amusement of watching their puzzled expressions. Then I pull a laminated photo out of my wallet that shows her before her surgery, so they can see how beautiful her real eyes were.
In the winter months I cover Dusa up in her bed with a fleece blanket. I know she loves that and she looks so contented with just her head showing. When she gets up and turns around to reposition herself in the middle of the night, I cover her back up and nuzzle her.
Our bond is so strong because we really need each other. She shows her affection in countless doggy ways. She depends on me and I adore her. She will be nine years old this October. I am blessed.