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She is in excellent health overall, bloodwork is good, hips and elbows no problem and to see her running around playing she looks like an 7 or 8 year old but in reality she is an old girl, 11 this year.

Unfortunately, in the last few weeks she has lost almost all vision. I noticed that she had started bumping into things and then it has become that she can't find her food and water dish and I have to guide her to it. Last night, I let her and Urro out and when I opened to door he came running back in but no Branca. I finally had to go out and get her as she was completely disoriented and couldn't find the house! She was out there running here and there bumping into the fence but just couldn't get her bearings. It was so sad


I was just wondering if anyone had had a dog of this advanced age go completely blind and if they adapted OK? My biggest fear is leaving her at home in the daytime during the heat of the summer and her wondering out into the yard and not finding her way to the water bucket or back into the house (she has a doggy door) and her overheating.

Any advice, any at all will be appreciated.
 

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Poor Branca. I'm sure she will adapt alright. My dog trainer has a 15 year old Border collie who is both blind and deaf. She does have to do things differently with him. Like as soon as he gets up she has to take him out to potty or he will go in the house. But he seems to get around fine. He will get lost on occasion and she goes and helps him get back in the house.

Good luck and hugs to you both.
 

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I don't know-I think there are people on here who have though and know they will offer great advice.

Do they make collars (if not-let's make millions and do it) for blind dogs? We could put a thing on the collar that would beep (if the dog still has their hearing) when they get near designated items-bowls, doors, etc.

Ack-I always forget to say what I am thinking re. the emotional part-I wish you the best with her and hope that her adjustment is quick and that her eyes are okay overall.
 

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My friend had a Black Lab (Quincy) who developed Progressive Retinal Atrophy and ended up totally blind when he was about 9 or 10 years old.

Quincy acted depressed for awhile, but did eventually adapt. My friend would tell him where the 3 steps were to get outside from the house by taking him by the collar and saying "Step" and guiding him up or down and he gradually conquered the steps on his own. The important thing for him was that she left the furniture, etc. in the house the same way, so that he developed sort of a blueprint of the house in his mind.

He loved to swim and he was so happy when he found out that even though he couldn't see any more, he could still swim! He would fetch his toy duck by following the sound when it hit the water and seemed to be so at ease in the water.

The weird thing was that after he went blind, he would chew the eyes out of every stuffed toy my friend gave him - very eerie!
 

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My Massie went almost completely blind but it was over a period of several years. It did get very scary as she almost went over a ravine once and did get stuck outside one time in a ditch. Luckily one of my sisters found her and walked her back to the cottage. She would let herself out of the cottage and smell her way to wherever I was so I finally had to close the door so she couldn't get out. Massie was completely off leash trained but I had to keep her on a leash all of the time after she went almost completely blind, especially at night (she could see a little peripherally if it was light out).

Branca will adapt but it will take some time. I would NOT leave the dog door open. It would be best if you can condition her to stay in one room while you're gone and either close the door or put up a dog gate. Always leave the water, bed, etc. in the same place. You may want to buy some sort of harness so that you can lead her around more easily. If you can train your other dog to lead her then she can follow his tail. That didn't work for Massie though so I became her eyes. Be sure to orient her to any new space and avoid moving things in the house if at all possible. You may want to keep her leashed to you when you're home so she gets used to having you lead her around.
 

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My Heidi went blind (and eventually deaf) when she was 11. My then younger Tasha would act as her "guide" when they were wandering around the yard; Heidi would actually follow Tasha around wherever she went. We have a doggie door, also - Heidi would just follow behind in or out the door.

I kept (or tried to keep) everything in the same place - water bowls, food bowls, chairs, table ect. and she would "remember" where everything was and not bump into them (eventually). Her sense of smell helped her alot, also - when I put food in the bowl, she made a bee-line for it!

I wish you all the best for her ~
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank All, It is reassuring to hear of other dogs going thru this.

I usually bring her to work with me but I am up and down the stairs a dozen times a day and she just can't do that now so last Friday was her last day I decided. One of the guys got her a "retirement" cake from the grocery store and had the clerk write Enjoy Retirement Branca It was really cute and sweet and yes she had a small piece, LOL The owner of the company who is just the biggest dog lover ever had doggy sat for her when me and his wife were out of the country last year and he really seemed to be upset about her not coming back. He even teared up (though he hid is face)
when he was down on the floor rubbing her belly saying goodbye to her which of course made me tear up. Then today he said that next time he was out my way that he might stop by and see her if that was alright... LOL

Her bed still sits behind my desk and I know I should probably take it home but I can't just yet. Aww, I better stop writing or I am going to be bawling soon.
 

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Tammy, I think she'll be fine. Ruth's advice is good. Branca may likely just instinctively start to follow Urro around. That's what my girl does. Our dogs are pack animals, and they like to be together. So where one goes, the other one goes.

Does Urro know how to play the "find it" game, like to find a toy? Start playing "find it" but tell him to find Branca. Make it a game, with lots of pets, treats, and hoorays for everyone. This way, when Branca doesn't respond immediately when you call her, you can just send Urro out to find her. It will help both of them realize what you want, and Branca won't feel so lost if Urro is around.

Keeping things in the same place is a good idea, especially now, until she gets comfortable using her other senses more. There's all sorts of research that shows that the more we (humans and animals) lose one sense, the areas in the brain that govern the other senses start to grow. If her loss of sight is sudden, it's going to take a while for all of this to catch up though. So Branca will learn to use her nose and ears more. Any sort of scent-markers that you can give her will be helpful. Lightly spray Febreze on the sofa, a tiny touch Lysol in the kitchen, Yankee Candles in your bedroom. And rub lemon on the place mat under her water bowl. Give her a scent map of the house. This way, when she wants her water bowl, all she needs to do is head for the lemon scent. If she wants to join you in the living room, head toward the febreze. Time for bed? The bedroom smells like Orange-vanilla.

Keep the blasts of scent tiny so they don't overlay each other.

You could do the same thing in your yard by planting jasmine, lavendar and lilac in strategic locations. I'd avoid anything with thorns. Branca has a mental map of your home and yard. We just need to give her a new way of "looking" at it. This might help. And you certainly don't need to do it for long. Just til her brain makes the adjustment.
 

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i think animals adjust remarkably well when they lose their sight.
i think we are the ones that are worry warts. they have their scents and hopefully yours has some hearing and those take over.
obviously, you will just have to keep an eye on her outside, or in certain situations, but i think it will be ok.

debbie
 

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My sister's OES was blinded by a burglar hitting him on the head with a pipe. Thor did remarkably well with his sudden blindness. The only thing my sister said was she could not move the furniture around - everything had to stay in it's place. She had to keep his water bowl in the exact spot it was in when he could see, feed him in the same place, etc. One day she left a laundry basket in the middle of a hallway and Thor tripped over it. After that, until the day he went to the Bridge, he would always walk around the spot where the basket had tripped him up.

Best wishes with your girl, but I have a feeling you'll have a more difficult time accepting her blindness than she will!!!
 

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Originally Posted By: Branca's MomHe even teared up (though he hid is face)
when he was down on the floor rubbing her belly saying goodbye to her which of course made me tear up. Then today he said that next time he was out my way that he might stop by and see her if that was alright
The owner of your company sounds wonderful, what a compassionate soul. Sending good thoughts your way.
 
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