By Janet McAfee
The animals and their owners patiently stood in line awaiting their appointments at the low cost spay and neuter clinic in Indio. Suddenly the pace was broken by a frantic woman who suddenly appeared carrying a small pug dog, seeking medical care of a different nature. The bystanders were horrified to see that the dog’s eyes were hideously injured and practically hanging out of her head. The dog’s deliverer said someone she knew saw the dog get hit by a car and that person gave her the animal. Neither of them had any money for veterinary care.
Lindi Biggi, president of Loving All Animals, was volunteering at the clinic that December morning, and she quickly arranged for emergency surgery at Country Club Animal Clinic. Dr. Lillian Roberts performed her surgery and she believes the dog was in this condition for at least several days and possibly as long as a week. Dr. Roberts reports, “One of her eyes had ruptured and the other was dangling loose. Her injuries were caused by some sort of blunt force trauma. Without treatment she probably would have died from the infection in her eye spreading to her brain.” By the time she arrived at the clinic, the dog had no sight left, and with no way for her to regain her vision the only treatment option was enucleation, the complete removal of the eyes.
What is her prognosis? Dr. Roberts observed that Baby’s sunny disposition still shone brightly even as she recovered from her trauma and operation. Dr. Roberts explains, “Blind dogs can function quite well, and I understand Baby has already quickly adapted to her new circumstances and should live a normal and happy life. There is no reason to think of her as disabled, one just needs to carefully introduce her to new surroundings. She’s only about one year old, and may not remember all of the trauma that happened to her.”
Baby is now in the custody of Loving All Animals’ rescue and adoption program. It is a joy to watch her navigate her way around and happily interact with humans and other dogs. You easily forget her blindness as Baby enjoys the warmth of companionship and explores the world. She freely gives hugs and kisses. Dogs speak through their bodies and Baby moves through the world with confidence and optimism.
Lindi describes the moment she saw the dog she named Baby, “I could only imagine the pain she must have been in. Today she is incredibly grateful and loving. My hope is that Baby will become certified as a therapy dog and join our 3-legged dog, Cassidy, doing goodwill in the community, going to schools, hospitals, and nursing homes, bringing happiness to people while also educating them about disabilities. Baby will do best living in a home that is one level and has no swimming pool or water works.”
Blind dogs have the ability to distinguish between millions of different smells, allowing them to literally “see” the world through smell. Baby quickly learned to map out her surroundings in her mind and navigates quite well independently. Dogs easily pick up on our feelings, so it’s important that others speak to Baby in a cheery voice, and not convey whatever sympathy they might feel for her. Lots of verbal communication is good for a blind dog, and the sound of soft music playing when she is alone is comforting. Blind dogs like Baby can even continue to play games such as fetch with a squeaky toy, as long as any sharp corners on tables are padded with bubble wrap or other fabric. Scent markers strategically placed in the home help them find important locations and avoid obstacles.
Dogs tend to live in the moment, and dogs like Baby remind us humans how a positive attitude can overcome one’s circumstances. Lindi describes this fabulous little dog, “Although she is totally blind, Baby spends no time feeling sorry for herself. She is enjoying life by keeping in perfect focus all the wonderful things and people that surround her.” Part of a lovely poem about blind dogs tells us more about these “differently-abled” animals:
“You took me in, you gave me love and we will never part!”
“Because I’m blind with just my eyes, I see you with my heart!”
Baby would love to find someone who has a lot of time to spend with her, and who will join her mission to become a therapy dog helping others. For more information about Baby, call Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000.