Lily, Oscar & Archie's Easter with Kate
I was lucky enough to spend my Easter long weekend in the company of three gorgeous little dogs, Archie, Lily and their cousin Oscar. One of the main reasons Archie, Lily & Oscar’s pet parents wanted a Vet Nurse sitter, was the fact that Archie needs daily medication, and has some specific personal needs.
Archie, a 10-year-old Shih Tzu X Maltese, is blind. Archie does not let blindness define him and he does not let this stop him from living his best life! At first glance, you would have no idea that Archie could not see. He is extremely confident and happy, navigates his way through life with a can-do attitude and can always find his toys when he wants them. I never thought that I would find myself playing fetch (quite successfully!) with a blind dog. In fact, Archie was better at playing fetch than many full-visioned pooches I have played with that couldn’t quite grasp the concept! Archie required daily eye drops to help keep his eyes lubricated and to prevent them from drying out. As he cannot see, it was important for me to build up trust with Archie before I attempted to administer his medication. When we first met, I spoke to him a LOT so he got used to my voice and knew I wasn’t a stranger. I can often be overheard in the vet clinic chatting away to my patients, asking them questions and telling them what we are doing. I find the chatting can help to calm them when they’re stressed about their vet visit, and this certainly helped with Archie. After not too long, he was coming up for pats, and within an hour we were snuggled up on the couch together.
Lily and Oscar, both Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, were chalk and cheese. Lily, at age 11, lives life in the slow lane. Always a few steps behind me, Lily would loyally plod after me whenever I moved around the house, or would watch me carefully from her standpoint. If I was ever seated, she would position herself right beneath my feet, making her the perfect foot warmer. If she wasn’t at my side, I would always know where she was by her SNORING! Never have I met a dog who would drop into a nap so quickly and immediately start snoring away. Who needs a bell on your collar when you have a personal sound system?! Being the oldest and the wisest, Lily also knew exactly when it was meal time, and knew the exact sound of any food packet being opened. If I was ever handling food, I could see her big brown eyes peering up at me, waiting for a dropped morsel.
Lily’s 4-year-old cousin Oscar was constantly on the move! Oscar was always keen for an explore and would eagerly dash into the garden at any stage he could. He would snuffle around with such excitement his tail would be constantly wagging, and he would return to the house COVERED in leaves. When Oscar knew we were going outside to play, as well as meal times, he would bounce and spin in circles in excitement. As excited as he was for activity, he was also the first to leap up onto the couch with his Moose toy and snuggle into my side to join me as we powered through Game of Thrones.
Blind pets can have such a wonderful quality of life and can be very happy if their environment is safe and secure for them. One of the things you can do to assist a blind pet is to have a routine for them, and ensure that things such as their bed, food bowls, toys etc are all kept in the same place, and that the pathway between these items is kept free of clutter or obstacles. Blindness in dogs can be caused by a number of things, including old age and some medical conditions. Initial signs of blindness can include disorientation, general clumsiness, startling easily, bumping into furniture, and a loss of playfulness or reduced activity. If you have a pet that you believe may be showing signs of blindness, it is best to have them checked over by their veterinarian.