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  1. #1
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    Has anybody ever owned a BLIND cat or dog?

    I just adopted an 18 year old, blind tomcat from the Humane Society. We have been jonesing for a new boy since our old one left us in Feb. this year, at the ripe old age of 19.

    So I know how to take care of old animals, give injections, etc. but I've never dealt with a blind one before. We got him separated from our two females.....right now, he's confined to the front bedroom, which is about 50 times bigger than the cage he was living in at the shelter. This is pretty challenging to him...it seems like he can't jump up on the bed, due to not being able to see the trop. He jumps down ok, though. He's learning the room dimensions now, but if anything is moved, he gets confused.

    So if anybody here has ever owned a blind animal before, do you have any suggestions? I don't intend to take him back or euthanize him.

  2. #2
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    Seems like you are doing an incredible job creating a safe environment for your boy! What is his name?

    I have not had experience with a blind pet, but my dog was totally deaf and his vision very poor the last 2-3 years of his life. Keeping routines consistent, (food and water bowl and bed in same place), gating off stairs, letting our presence known.. try not to startle. I would reward Rocky for good behaviour with small treats, and cuddles

    I think that it is amazing that you have adopted an elderly or sensory disabled pet but I think pets are very adaptive to their environments. Just keep it safe and predictable if possible.
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    I am afraid I have no experience with this, but I would think keeping things consistent is important as Licious says. I do have to say that I think it is wonderful that you have chosen to make this guy's fading years some years with some love and good care. More power to you, and him, you have brought a lump to my throat
    It's all Here. Now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    Seems like you are doing an incredible job creating a safe environment for your boy! What is his name?

    I have not had experience with a blind pet, but my dog was totally deaf and his vision very poor the last 2-3 years of his life. Keeping routines consistent, (food and water bowl and bed in same place), gating off stairs, letting our presence known.. try not to startle. I would reward Rocky for good behaviour with small treats, and cuddles

    I think that it is amazing that you have adopted an elderly or sensory disabled pet but I think pets are very adaptive to their environments. Just keep it safe and predictable if possible.
    I'm hoping this one will adapt to a set of three carpeted steps, so he can get up and down off the bed, couch, etc. So if anybody knows anything about them, especially which ones that are good for blind animals, I'd love to hear about it.

  5. #5
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    Ooooh! First of all...YOU ARE AWESOME!

    I don't have a blind pet but from what I've read, they are very very adaptable. One of my friends had a dog that went blind and they kept things off the floor and the dog managed great. I don't think they get the same pain as us when they stub their toes on the corner of the sofa or coffee table. :P

    I've seen those stairs that you mentioned at Petco and Petsmart. Probably could make them pretty easily too. The carpeted ones are nice since they have nails than can help their grip. I used a simple stool as a jump spot for mine when she got older and more frail. I think one of those copy boxes with some weight in them could work too if you want something before you commit on the stairs.

    Good on you, Ray! I would give you a hug if I could.

    some links:
    Blind Cat - 8 Ways to Help a Blind Cat
    How To Care For Blind Cats

  6. #6
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    Here's another AWESOME! for you Ray! You got some good karma coming your way from the powers that be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    Ooooh! First of all...YOU ARE AWESOME!

    I don't have a blind pet but from what I've read, they are very very adaptable. One of my friends had a dog that went blind and they kept things off the floor and the dog managed great. I don't think they get the same pain as us when they stub their toes on the corner of the sofa or coffee table. :P

    I've seen those stairs that you mentioned at Petco and Petsmart. Probably could make them pretty easily too. The carpeted ones are nice since they have nails than can help their grip. I used a simple stool as a jump spot for mine when she got older and more frail.

    Good on you, Ray! I would give you a hug if I could.
    Thanks. I'm gonna get some of those. Thing is, he's 18 years old, so I don't really know how much he CAN adapt.

  8. #8
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    hmm...I've had some pets that got very old and I have to say, they adapted way better than I will getting old. They're made of tougher stuff than us, those little beasts.

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    The idea we have is to gradually expand the areas he can access as he gets familiar with the room he's in. We also have the issue of how he is going to fit in with the other cars. The H.S. listed him as 'good with other cat'. They claimed that he would be better off in a home with other cats. so far, it doesn't look that way.

    He also has other health issues. He had an upper respiratory infection that was supposed to be resolved with only a bit of sneezing left. But we are finding that he sneezes quite a lot at times, and the GF just discovered that he had fleas. The shelter was supposed to have 'Advantaged' him, and they gave me a thorough looking set of pages detailing his medical history, and lab tests. I got some Revolution to put on him at my Vet, so I put that on about an hour ago. Hadn't planned on applying it for at leas a week or two, but fleas are fleas, and that room was flea-free. So now I got a PO-ed human to deal with on account of that, too....

  10. #10
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    The world needs more people like you Ray. There are so many animals that need end of life homes and no where near enough people willing to take them in. Earlier this year we adopted Karl. He's a 10ish yr old Boxer/hound mix who's not only blind but deaf as well. He uses his nose a lot to get around and he follows our other two dogs pretty well. The first few weeks were a bit awkward to say the least.

    I think you're on the right track. We only let Karl in the downstairs living room and dining room (baby gates) for a while. Once he gradually learned the house with us, we noticed he would follow us close as we moved around to learn where we walked. He still runs into things like our ottoman and half open doors once in a while and it's sad and funny all at the same time. When he's surprised by something he hits the ground, duck and cover!

    I'll post some pictures when I get home.
    The cake is a lie.

  11. #11
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    Re: Has anybody ever owned a BLIND cat or dog?

    My dear Nicholas was both blind and deaf. He did fine in a three story townhouse with six other cats. He even played! The trick to getting him to play was to shake a toy in his whiskers so he could sense it.

    Keep his world small to start. Make sure he's always proximal to litter box in that small initial space. Then gradually increase his area. This will help him with both with orientation AND getting into the pecking order with the other cats. Unfortunately, Nick was always the lowest man on the totem pole - but he didn't seem to care.

    The get the cat to use the steps up to the bed, put a cat treat or two on each step leading him upward.

    Our Nick was like a Roomba vacuum cleaner. He spun in ever widening circles until he bumped into something he could orient from.

    Oh - and he didn't like getting picked up. That would cause him to lose his orientation in his mental map. He wouldn't know where he was when we put him back down. Then he'd do his spiral trick to find a landmark and reorient. So try to minimize picking him up.

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    Kubikeman and connolm, thanks for the input. I'll try out some of your suggestions. This boy also may or may not be diabetic....his previous owner had a vet diagnose him as a kitten, and he had been on insulin until she relinquished him. That means 18 years of insulin. At the shelter, they gave him an initial shot, but when they re-checked him, his BG was fine. They put him on a special diet food ..."DM diet. Wet and kibble. Since he started to eat only that, his BG has been normal for over a month.

    In addition to blindness, he also exhibits nystagmus. Side-to-side movements of the eyes. My vet doesn't know what that may be due to, and suggests I take him to a veterinary opthamologist. I just got him a set of pet steps, and with some complaining from him, he climbed them up to the bed. Now if only he will remember to do it on his own!

    He's a big boned cat, at 18+ lb.s he is really not very fat at all. The GF finds him very hard to pick up, so he won't be getting much of that, I think. I'll remember when I pick him up to put him down on his blanket, so he'll know where he is. Good tip!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockerc View Post
    I am afraid I have no experience with this, but I would think keeping things consistent is important as Licious says. I do have to say that I think it is wonderful that you have chosen to make this guy's fading years some years with some love and good care. More power to you, and him, you have brought a lump to my throat
    You really ought to have that lump checked out!

    But seriously, I think I benefited from taking in my old tom, the one who lived to 19, more than he did. He taught me a lot about cat behavior and such. That cat had an incredibly strong spirit.
    If anything, I think animal spirits are actually stronger than human spirits. The Big Brain thing really does not make a difference in that department.

    One of my favorite books by Kurt Vonnegut was "Galapagos". If anyone here hasn't read it, I highly recommend.

  14. #14
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    Ray, how about a few pictures of your new buddy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wishful Tomcat View Post
    Ray, how about a few pictures of your new buddy?
    I've never posted any pics before, believe it or not, I still don't know how, but the GF does. I'm gonna try and get her to show me, and post up a few pics of the various cats we have/had, including my late tomcat, who was known as the King of the cats.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    I've never posted any pics before, believe it or not, I still don't know how, but the GF does. I'm gonna try and get her to show me, and post up a few pics of the various cats we have/had, including my late tomcat, who was known as the King of the cats.
    Great!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    So try to minimize picking him up.
    I think a "trench" shaped bed may help with this, as the cat can only lay 1 of 2 directions in it, like this, our cat loves it,



    It is 2x4 in the fron, a 2x6 in the back, with a towel stapled to the top of each board to form a hammock and fleece laid on top. Actually, with one side taller than the other the cat would always know it orientation in that bed.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    I've never posted any pics before, believe it or not, I still don't know how,
    How did you find the internet? Just kidding. Kinda. Yeah, man! Let's see some pictures!

  19. #19
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    Hey! Connolm's wife posting this.

    Dude, if there were more like you in the world, this place would be so much better!!! As far as i can tell...you both got a good deal. Sorry to butt in...my husband showed me this post. I think they give you everyting and MORE than you put into it...so congrats...you did the right thing. Thanks for taking the buddy in! You rock!

  20. #20
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    I wish more wives read their husbands' posts.

  21. #21
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    Has anybody ever owned a BLIND cat or dog?

    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    I wish more wives read their husbands' posts.
    Mine does.

    Kudos Ray for adopting this old fart of a cat. All the advice so far has been great. I would add to keep clutter to a minimum but would also point out that wide open spaces might be disorienting.

    My wife and I had an old cat that was losing its sight and hearing. Not totally blind or deaf but enough to upset her. She adapted well mostly but would yowl at night. I think the dark bothered her because her loss of vision was probably exaggerated then. A night light helped (i got a motion sensing one). If this guy has any sight left, it may help him, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Mine does.

    Kudos Ray for adopting this old fart of a cat. All the advice so far has been great. I would add to keep clutter to a minimum but would also point out that wide open spaces might be disorienting.

    My wife and I had an old cat that was losing its sight and hearing. Not totally blind or deaf but enough to upset her. She adapted well mostly but would yowl at night. I think the dark bothered her because her loss of vision was probably exaggerated then. A night light helped (i got a motion sensing one). If this guy has any sight left, it may help him, too.
    That sounds like a good idea, Nate. I'm thinking it will also prevent us from stepping on him, or more likely tripping over him. He's a big boy. 18 lb.s is gettin' lean for him.

  23. #23
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    my cat is slowly going blind. he still manages ok. cats are good at navagating, give him some time to get used to things and he should be fine.

  24. #24
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    Props to you Ray.

    Lots of good advice already given in here, so I'll just add my $0.02 on a couple things:

    1. For the upper respiratory problem, or just a bit of help to the immune system in general, try adding a squirt of Enisyl-F to one or more meals a day. We use this for one of our cats that was adopted (as a kitten) with a chronic URI, and it definitely makes a difference in the frequency of symptoms (watery eyes & sneezing).

    2. Food-grade diatamatious earth for flea control, in the carpets and furniture. Makes a dusty mess when applied, but vacuums up fairly easily, and is non-toxic.

    3. Expanding on NateHawk's idea of the night light: Consider placing items throughout the expanding "territory" that have familiar scents, to help your buddy navigate. Maybe fabric that he's slept on a few times. Another idea would be something like battery-operated clocks that tick (not too obnoxiously).

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    Thanks, b-kuhl, the thing about this cat of course, is his age......everyone gets less adaptable as they get old. But after 3 days in the one bedroom, he has improved a lot, so I'm hopeful.

    random walk, thanks for the product suggestions, I will definitely look into them. He has already learned the lay of the land in the room we have him in...I'm a bit surprised, to tell you the truth. He's an old cat.

  26. #26
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    Has anybody ever owned a BLIND cat or dog?

    Cats are smarter than us and will take over the world by 2135.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    Thanks, b-kuhl, the thing about this cat of course, is his age......everyone gets less adaptable as they get old. But after 3 days in the one bedroom, he has improved a lot, so I'm hopeful.
    i forgot to say hes about 15, now that he cant hear or see and isnt too limber he just tends to lay on the couch or patio chair if hes outside. i suspect that is the standard operating mode of old cats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    i forgot to say hes about 15, now that he cant hear or see and isnt too limber he just tends to lay on the couch or patio chair if hes outside. i suspect that is the standard operating mode of old cats.
    Yes age is certainly a challenge for cats just like it is for me...that said, my previous boy made a nightly walk with me for exercise...(he did not like being outdoors in daytime, because he didn't like most humans. Hence our nocturnal walks on a deserted dark street.) That walk consisted of him climbing 77 concrete steps, then a ride to the top of the hill (I carried him, and then he would 'trot' down to the yard where we live. I never needed a leash with him...he was smart, smart enough to intuit my voice commands to him, whenever he started to stray off into the street or a neighbors' yard. He stayed right by my side. As I've said, he was SMART.

    He did that walk, about 150-200 feet of climbing/descending, every night, just after I gave him his second dose of percutaneous electrolyte fluids, until about 2 weeks before he had to go...he did a shortened version of it up until just 3-4 days before I had to take him on that last ride to the Vet....(he told me it was time). On that last ride, for the very first time ever going to the Vet, he did not vocalize. He just sat in his carrier next to me, patiently. He knew that this was it, in fact he had let me know it was 'time'. Everybody at the Vet clinic who knew him was in tears. He was quiet, very peaceful, to this day I know that he knew this was the end, and that he had 'called the shot', so to speak. He'd had enough of that failing body. He went, in my arms, while I was holding him. An incredibly smart, strong, willful cat.

    It was a helluva long drive home.

    So, that's why we still miss him so much, even though it's been since February (Feb 8, to be exact), and that's why, when I saw Juniors' 18 year-old, blind mug on the Humane society website, I had to drive all the way up to Oceanside to get him. He had that same, look, that same 'presence' to him, as our old boy did. Now, we just gotta be patient, and see how things go with him. I know he's a lot better off now than when he was in that 4X4' cage, that's for sure.

    And G.O.B., if what you posted is true, then things are gonna become extremely tough for a lot of cat-hating, cat-torturing humans. Mostly of the young male variety, in my experience.

  29. #29
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    dude, wow. stirring up emotions on a bike website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    dude, wow. stirring up emotions on a bike website.
    I'm sorry b-kuhl, I prolly should not have put that much detail into that last post. It had me feeling a bit shaky when I re-read it!
    But then again, he was the smartest cat I've ever seen, or either of my favorite Vets ever saw, too. So, yeah, he's missed. But this "new" boy (I laugh a bit every time I refer to a blind 18 year old as new!) is showing some flashes of surprising character. I think my intuition was right about him.

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    kinda reminded me when my last cat got put down. dont think he was so self aware though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    kinda reminded me when my last cat got put down. dont think he was so self aware though.
    Few cats, or dogs, or even people are, b-kuhl. But what's more important than that is the bond that you felt between you and that critter.

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    Update on "Junior". Well, it's just over one week and our 'new' 18 year old, blind tomcat has adjusted pretty well to his new 'room', but yesterday I re-read the shelter notes on him, and came up with some disturbing info that I had missed the first time around.

    It concerned the admitting notes about him, which stated that he was relinquished by his only owner along with another cat, "Baby Boy", with whom he was suspected to be 'bonded'. The other cat was helping Jr. get around and such, and they always slept together. My own two older females are showing no sign of even liking Jr., let alone 'bonding' with him, so I started wondering about why he was in that cage alone in the shelter. Turns out, 'Baby' was indeed a baby compared to Jr.....he was only 5 years old. But when they came in to the shelter, and were settled into a dual unit, the blood tests came back showing Baby FIV + .

    FIV, if you don't know, is the feline version of HIV. Jr. on the other hand tested negative more than once. I had decided that I would call the shelter, as they had state3d in their notes that the 2 cats were 'bonded', and should NOT be adopted out separately, mainly for JR's sake. So, I thought maybe I could track down Baby, and adopt him, even if somebody else had already taken him, by mistake, perhaps.

    That ain't what happened. What happened was, just days before I went in to pick up Jr, while we were still discussing whether to get another tomcat, the shelter euthanized 'Baby'.

    No WONDER the girls there were a bit misty-eyed when I came for Jr. not days after his best buddy had been put down. This has depressed me deeply, as I feel like I was the foot-dragger in this house about getting another Tom. I feel like shite now, and Jr. is basically spending most of the day in his 'hiding place' that we made for him out of a cardboard box. He is still eating though.

    And I know....this about mere CATS....it's nothing like the hurt that jonshonda is going through. Check out his latest post. It's heartbreaking. WWMTBRD? Doctor Missed a Tumor. How To Proceed?

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    well, Ray, if he's eating and he's improving, he'll do okay. I'm so sorry about how frustrating that news must be to you. That shelter kind of messed up and seems to me that if they put down Baby, it wasn't going to be long before they would give up on your little baby as well if he wasn't soon adopted.

    Poor guy....needs a kitten. :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post


    well, Ray, if he's eating and he's improving, he'll do okay. I'm so sorry about how frustrating that news must be to you. That shelter kind of messed up and seems to me that if they put down Baby, it wasn't going to be long before they would give up on your little baby as well if he wasn't soon adopted.

    Poor guy....needs a kitten. :P
    Thanks, GoB, I think JR will come through. He has shown some flashes of above normal intelligence and character. But like I said, what wer'e going through here is nothing compared to what jonshonda and his family must be going through. In a situation like that, I would likely want to revert to homicidal mode. But that's why I have 'friends', to keep a look-out.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    In a situation like that, I would likely want to revert to homicidal mode. But that's why I have 'friends', to keep a look-out.
    Good friends will help you move. Best friends will help you move the body.

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    Ok, I hate to piss in everyone's cereal here but, just for the sake of discussion...

    First I must say that I love animals and have 2 dogs right now, who live the life of king and queen of my house.

    We had an acquaintance who had an old dog who had diabetes. He eventually went blind and his eyes got infected and the vet suggested he be put down. The lady instead chose to have his eyes removed.

    I saw this poor old dog with no eyes stumbling around the house not knowing where the hell he was and I was horrified by that scene. To top it off the people were moving from their home, to a temporary home, while they looked to buy a house in a new city. Like it wouldn't be hard enough to find your way around the one house you are used to without eyes!

    I thought that lady was the most selfish and self centered person I had ever known to disregard the quality of life of that dog rather than deal with the pain of letting him go peacefully.

    She said "they adapt well" and all that kind of stuff, but how in the heck do people know what a blind animal is thinking?

    "Oh look he didn't even hit the wall today!!"

    BFD! Meanwhile, the dog is thinking, I'm old, I'm scared, I don't know what's going on around me. I risk running into stuff every time I take a couple of steps, I can't go outside, can't play, etc.

    Sometimes prolonging the life of an animal is neither kind, nor natural.

    Discuss.

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    Ray, Steve sez you bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    Ray, Steve sez you bad.
    Well, just asking the question...

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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Ok, I hate to piss in everyone's cereal here but, just for the sake of discussion...

    First I must say that I love animals and have 2 dogs right now, who live the life of king and queen of my house.

    We had an acquaintance who had an old dog who had diabetes. He eventually went blind and his eyes got infected and the vet suggested he be put down. The lady instead chose to have his eyes removed.

    I saw this poor old dog with no eyes stumbling around the house not knowing where the hell he was and I was horrified by that scene. To top it off the people were moving from their home, to a temporary home, while they looked to buy a house in a new city. Like it wouldn't be hard enough to find your way around the one house you are used to without eyes!

    I thought that lady was the most selfish and self centered person I had ever known to disregard the quality of life of that dog rather than deal with the pain of letting him go peacefully.

    She said "they adapt well" and all that kind of stuff, but how in the heck do people know what a blind animal is thinking?

    "Oh look he didn't even hit the wall today!!"

    BFD! Meanwhile, the dog is thinking, I'm old, I'm scared, I don't know what's going on around me. I risk running into stuff every time I take a couple of steps, I can't go outside, can't play, etc.

    Sometimes prolonging the life of an animal is neither kind, nor natural.

    Discuss.
    I agree with you 100%, but in this case JR is definitely still capable of enjoying the rest of his life. If/when that changes, I'll be the first to notice. I always am, with humans or animals.
    Which isn't necessarily a self-complimentary statement. Often, it's a rather painful one. I've euthanized a lot of animals that were mine. I never dragged their life out needlessly.

    Going strictly on an evidence based protocol, JR shows no need, either medically or from a psych. perspective, to be a candidate for euthanizing. I think I'm prolly closer to that end of the stick than he is!
    Based strictly on objective evidence, JR's status from insulin-dependent to no insulin at all is pretty impressive. I've brought animals back to a better enjoyment of life before that were closer to the end of the line than JR is. In one case, the cat actually perked up enough that he lived another 1-2 quality years.

  41. #41
    R.I.P. DogFriend
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    When I was a teen (back in the 70's), we adopted an Irish Setter from the animal shelter that brought home a nasty bout of distemper. He went totally blind for a while, and then had very poor vision for a while after that, and never did get all of his vision back. I would still take him to the park a few times a week and let him run off the leash in open areas. I could keep him close by patting my leg every 15 seconds or so. He would just run in large circles by listening for the noise from me patting my leg. When he was at his worst, he would just trot right into a post or tree, but loved to run around in open areas.

    He would also swim around in the lake there and would stay close enough to hear me pat my leg. One day when his vision was coming back, he saw a kid on a bike that had the same color shirt and jeans as I did. The kid was riding away from the lake and the poor dog thought I was leaving him behind. He let out a couple yelps as he furiously swam to shore and lit out after where he saw the kid disappear to. I was yelling at him as loud as I could, but he only thought of chasing that kid that he thought was me. I had to run after him for quite a ways before I finally got him to come back to me.

    They (blind animals) will usually find some sort of way to adapt to their environment, but may have things that challenge them from time to time.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    I agree with you 100%, but in this case JR is definitely still capable of enjoying the rest of his life. If/when that changes, I'll be the first to notice. I always am, with humans or animals.

    ...
    Cool

  43. #43
    No Stranger to danger....
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    I had a blind girlfriend once............
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    I had a blind girlfriend once............
    Ill bet that worked out quite well for you, mate.....

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