Friday, April 8, 2011

an update on Jack...

Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.  ~ Agatha Christie

For those who read this and don't know about Jack:  see picture at right.  Jack is my sweet little guy and one of my best friends ever. He was diagnosed with diabetes this past January.  He was in and out of the vet's offices many, many times over the past couple of months.  For reasons too lengthy to deal with here, I wasn't  real happy with the care he was getting, so we switched to a vet that came highly recommended.  One of the first things the new vet said was "has anyone mentioned the fact that Jack is completely blind in his left eye?" No.  No one ever mentioned that.  Probably due to, or at least exacerbated by, the diabetes, he had severe cataracts in both eyes.  Severe enough in the left as to blind that eye, probably some time ago.  
As of this past weekend, he is now blind in both eyes.  Saturday morning, instead of jumping off the bed as usual, Jack seemed very hesitant to move.  I lifted him off the bed and set him on the floor.  I then watched, very sadly, as he walked right into the wall behind the open door.  Taking small hesitant steps he found his way to the kitchen, hitting the wall and furniture several times.  After giving him his insulin shot, I usually give him a little rawhide chew as a treat. On that morning he couldn't find it in the palm of my hand, right in front of his nose.
It's been a few days now and I can see he's making progress dealing with this.  Probably more progress than I am.  He gets around in the house much better already, but he still spends much of his time under a chair in the living room - trying to stay out of the way, I think.  He can't go out in the yard by himself anymore.  Every trip involves a harness and leash - at least for now.  I have to remember to tell him when there is a step up or down in front of him, and I try to make sure there are no twigs or stones on the path that would startle him.  He is teaching me to slow down and look at everything.  I'm guessing he will never be the same little Jack.  No more running like a little bullet, or jumping straight up, waist high when he wants my attention.  No more acting like a tough guy.  He's slower, more timid, softer, and somehow he's even sweeter.

There's a good yoga lesson in this.  Everything changes.  Nothing stays the same, no matter how much you want it to.  I just wish Jack didn't have to pay the price for this lesson.

A few months ago - when he was still fat.

It doesn't show up here, but when you look into his (beautiful, soulful) eyes they look almost colorless.  My sweet little guy.


  1. This makes me want to cry. You can't help but feel badly for them when they don't understand what's going on. And if they could only tell us how they're feeling.

    I know a woman who's been diabetic for many years and she's had two episodes of blindness in one eye and her vision slowly comes back. I'm not sure if there's a hemorrhage on the retina and that slowly heals or what it is.

    Is there anything that can be done about the cataract or is surgery not recommended? I wish the cute little guy well.

  2. Thanks Steve. It is sad. It's sad to see a dog who was once so active, so bounding with joy, turn timid. Now he sort of walks around the house hugging the walls. The vet says cataract surgery could be done but it would be very, very expensive and there's a good chance the cataracts would come back. I don't really understand it all, but it has something to do with the glucose in his blood that sort of encourages the cataracts. But the good news is he's doing better and gaining confidence every day. I'm still working on managing his insulin levels, so it's a challenge. But, of course, he's worth it! Thanks so much for your good thoughts!

  3. Poor little sweet Jack. Such a sad story. I hope he adjusts to losing his sight soon. I know you are such a good doggy mommy that you will be there to help him get around and get used to having to rely on his other senses.
    Please keep us posted on his progress.

    I am a huge dog lover and always worry about my dogs' safety and health. Wouldn't it be so much easier if they could just talk?

  4. hahaha Adrienne, yes it would be so much easier if they could talk, wouldn't it? Thanks for the nice thoughts and words. And a hug to your furbabies!

  5. Jack is precious, and you are obviously taking wonderful care of him. I wish you both well. Our sweet animals bring so much to our lives. Don't you wish you could explain to them what was going on? It breaks my heart to see them so confused. Hugs to you both. Keep us posted on his progress.

  6. Well I am crying. It's like a son or brother going blind truly.

    Sending you a big hug and a little butt scratch for Jack.

    Reality sucks. Speaking of...4 more hours till government Shut down?

  7. Bonnie - thank you for the nice words and good thoughts.
    Hi Jane - Don't cry! He is going to be okay. Life will be different for both of us from here on out, but he's getting more confident every day. Today he went out back without a leash and only had a few minor problems. But thank you so much - I need the hugs more than he does, but he does love a little butt scratch! And I know - do you think it'll really happen? Shit, I knew I should've gotten my passport renewed a few weeks ago!! I'm hoping I won't need it in 2012, but just in case, I want to be ready!