Thursday, November 29, 2012

How difficult could this be?

Annie, her life begins. Paul and I are confident that we can do this. She's blind, we will help her, shouldn't be too difficult, Ruby will guide us, can't be that hard?

I'll just Google "how to raise a blind puppy" that will tell me everything I need to know, the local library has to have a book I can borrow, Amazon, I'll try Amazon! Guide Dogs For The Blind, no, that's not what I need. Yahoo Groups, someone over there must have all the answers, "my dog is 12 years old and going blind" getting closer, not close enough.
Alas, an amazing website, complete with New Owner Resources, tips, training, adoptions, toys for blind dogs, puppy page, house breaking, what not to do. I have found a wealth of information and some excellent suggestions to guide me.
Use bells on your shoes to help them find you, a tabletop fountain can be used a a water bowl, use textured materials to mark areas, throw rugs and decorative pillows are great, hang a potpourri sachet on the door, try using different scented candles in each room, try to express happy emotions!!

Can it be done? Look at that face, sweet as pie. "Can't be that hard" as I hold her in my arms.

As the days go by I read and re-read. I look at Annie and shake my head.

Water fountain? Raised water and food dish.
Bells on my toes? Hand held dinner bell.
Throw rugs and decorative pillows? Removed immediately.
Potpourri and scented candles? Only to cover the wafting odours of the many accidents on the floor.
Express happy emotions? Smiling on the outside and crying on the inside isn't as easy as it sounds.

In a perfect world with a perfect puppy everything would be fine. Within days Paul and I realize this is a massive massive responsibility, and that's an understatement.

Annie is tough. Annie wants nothing to do with scented candles. Annie will bite your hands so hard, she will make them bleed. Annie has no listening skills, no bladder control, no manners what so ever. Annie likes smoked salmon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Journey

Paul and I choose Route 1. It had been years since either one of us traveled this road. It will be a fast trip, but the excitement of meeting Annie for the first time keeps us going. 

We stopped for the night about an hour away from Calgary, Alberta. The next morning Ron and Dianne were waiting patienly for us at a crossroad gas station near Cochrane.

Could this be love?

Within an hour we had said our goodbyes. On the road again for the long journey home. Annie doesn't settle in very well. She is sitting quietly on my until we hit our first bump on the road. White fur can fly!! Oh my, this is going to be one heck of a trip home, there are alot of bumps in the road. Eventually, after an hour or so, she relaxes, while the entire time I'm telling her "you're safe" and holding her tight. Ruby in the meantime is simply sprawled out on the back seat of the truck, sleeping soundly knowing that Paul and I had the situation under control.
"Hey, there's a river, let's stop and stretch our legs?"
Yes Annie, you are free to run and  jump and bark and play all day.
You're safe.
We are getting closer to home now, Annie has settled down quite nicely, the scenery is gorgeous, classical music is playing on the radio, Ruby is still sleeping. Paul and I are speachless.
This was the moment of truth. What would she do? How do we go about showing her the life she will come to know?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Annie finds us.

When we met Annie our lives changed in a way we never thought possible.
How could a puppy make such a difference?
There she was, just an advertisement on Pet Finder. Something very special caught my eye.

SPECIAL NEEDS Leanne was born into the care of a backyard breeder. At a very young age, it became apparent that she was special and unlike the other pups in her litter. She was taken away from her mom & bottlefed at the tender age of only 2 weeks. As she grew, the breeder noticed that Leanne could not see very well. Realizing that she would be unlikely to be able to sell this particular puppy and make any profit, she surrendered Leanne to us. While Leanne is quite vision impaired, she can make out large shadows & shapes, so she is not completely blind. Her eyes have been examined by two veterinarians and an optometrist and no one can find any reason for these vision problems. Her eyes, retinas & optical nerves are all perfectly normal and responsive. Perhaps she was born blind, or maybe she suffered some sort of head trauma during birth or as a very young puppy. Regardless, there is nothing that can be done to restore her sight.

I can't tell you how many times I read this ad over and over again. Just out of curiosity, I emailed the link to my husband Paul with the title
Why did I have to see this?
A reply came back immeiately, let's go!!

Now, "let's go" meant a 2000 kilometer road trip from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to Calgary, Alberta. We only had three days to complete the journey. Truck and camper all loaded and all ready to roll. Myself, Paul and the most important passenger, Ruby.

Ruby? Let me introduce Ruby to you. She is also a Great Pyrenees, we raised her from the age of 8 weeks, she is now 1 and 1/2 years old and I couldn't think of a more appropriate guardian, mentor, canine companion for our new puppy. If there ever was a description for a family pet, I would have to say Ruby is the most loving, kind, gentle and compassionate dog we have ever had the pleasure of calling our own.

The moment arrived, Paul, Val, Ruby, please meet (whom we lovingly now call Annie) Leanne. Through tears of joy, and tears of sadness Annie was officially our newest addition to the family. Her foster parents Ron and Diane Steppacher taught us everything we needed to know, her likes, dislikes, the words to use, what foods she eats and what habits she had developed. I couldn't help thinking how they must be feeling after handing her over. We have kept in touch with the Steppachers, via email, text messages, and phone calls.

Fast forward to our arrival home and the introduction of Annie's new digs.
Large home in the country, fenced property, landscaped yard, a couple of old cats, a few chickens and loads of room to run and play. Annie has found Pyradise. She is scared when we carry her to the grass, Ruby is barking wildly at the new addition, Paul and I have no idea what we have got ourselves into as Annie starts spinning out of control. She has no idea of where she is, why she is there, or how she got to this place from the other place! It must have been terrifying for her. Round and round small circles, big circles, throwing herself backwards, falling over , barking uncontrollably. We watch this wild like behaviour with our eyes wide open. Paul and I discover very early on that we are the blind ones, Annie is home.

So yes, love is blind.