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How my dog got even cuter after losing her vision

My dog Cleo has always been clumsy. She is a big girl who never hid her excitement. Her joy could be demonstrated by leaning hard into your legs or racing toward a toy to squeak it. It wasn't that many years ago when her joy at your arrival home would be expressed by her suddenly tearing off down the hall to our bedroom, then knocking our mattress half off its frame, before racing back down the hall to land against the couch, that proceeded to be slammed against the window as it received her 85 lbs like a catcher's mitt.

Her doggy joy at my homecoming is a highlight of my day. Sure back then I was afraid she'd break our couch or worse, go hurtling over it and out the window. But it is just so cute that she couldn't hide how happy she was that I had walked in the front door. 

"Express Yourself" Cleo squeaks her song of love
Obvious Joy

When she began to show signs of vision loss, I was initially scared. We live in a city with hills and stairs, and lots of obstacles. I worried that her blindness would mean she'd become fearful and that she'd lose that playful nature of hers. This is a dog who doesn't hesitate. This is the dog who inspired our motto, and our name...grouchy puppy. I was concerned she'd become "fearful puppy" and I couldn't have been more wrong.

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Instead of racing down the hall to greet you, if Cleo is in the other room, she'll whine lightly then start swishing her tail before getting up then begin her journey to find you, poking her way methodically with her nose. Cleo displays her obvious joy at finding you by plopping down in triumph. If she's feeling really excited about you being home, or her accomplishment, she'll give you a little prance. Her joyful response to your arrival now elicits claps, cuddles and a liver cookie. In that order.

No Vision? No problem! Here are a million reasons (okay, actually eight) why Cleo remains as sweet as ever, and proves she doesn't need eyesight to have us think she's the cats pajamas...

  1. She doesn't chase pigeons on the sidewalk anymore, and everyone is relieved
  2. She has taken cuddling to a whole 'nother level
  3. She still smells like sunshine and love
  4. Her sense of smell scouts a path to dog treats on the floor
  5. The mailman now has a 50-50 chance my dog won't notice him when we're on a walk
  6. Her smiles at us are not dependent on vision
  7. When she confuses dirty sneakers for a live person, we smile at her and she smiles back when we catch her and clap our hands to guide her over to where we really are
  8. Dogs do not need eyes or eyesight to see your love for them, they FEEL it.

Living with a blind dog is new for us, if you have any comments or thoughts please share!

This has been a new experience for us, and we're grateful our dog is taking her blindness in stride and showing us it's no big deal. Once again Cleo gives fearlessly to me so that I feel capable of caring for her, and thanking my stars she was my first adopted dog. Thank you SF-SPCA for seeing her potential.

Check out the adoption pages at the SF-SPCA

Learn about living with a blind dog from Petfinder

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