| Tess is a great dog; she's the kind of dog that everyone
wants. She is goofy, loves to be loved and had never been anything but well-behaved. My fiance
and I adopted Tess from a humane society in Boulder, CO shortly after moving into our apartment
together. We'd gone to inquire about another dog, but Tess raised a ruckus and stole my
fiance's heart and she came home with us the same day. She was already eight years old, and she
is a poodle/terrier mix. Before we adopted her, Tess had already done a stint at the same
shelter where she was adopted out and then returned with another dog. Her family cited
financial reasons as the cause for surrender. When we found her, she had literally been in her
pen for only a half hour. It was meant to be.
Tess has been a joy in our lives. She had such a present personality and entertains us with her
silly antics. She's like the naughty child you can't get mad at because she's too cute. Everyone
always compliments that she has the cutest face and the prettiest brown eyes. And she is a total
Momm'a Girl. We counted ourselves lucky because despite her age, she has always been in good health
and good spirits.
One day, a few months after she turned nine, we noticed that Tess started bumping into walls. She
would seem confused walking around the apartment. She'd clip corners when going from room to room
and would have to spend a few minutes sniffing out food or treats and even us. And finally. she
seemed slightly depressed. We were deeply concerned because it seemed to have happened literally
over night. So we took her to the vet to have her eyes checked out. I was fearing something like
SARDS or a brain tumor or something.
Instead, we were met with both good and bad news. The vet diagnosed Tess with progressive retinal
atrophy, a genetic disease in which the retinas slowly die because of a decrease in blood flow. Her
brain and her eyes are just barely communicating. The vet felt that she still has very very slight
vision left, as her eyes do react to light, but at an extremely slow rate. Her eyes always seem
dilated. Eventually, though, Tess' retinas will die and she won't even have that. Because it's
genetic, there is not much the vets can do for her. She is just an unlucky pup swimming in the gene
pool. But our vet felt that she was amazingly well adjusted for a newly blind dog. She is not jumpy
or afraid of new or sudden sounds or touches. She takes all her head and nose bumps in stride. Our
vet said that even without her vision, Tess would learn to adapt and lead a full and happy
We were relieved it wasn't something more serious, but still sad that she's lost her sight. It's
funny how dogs can pick up on our emotions, because the whole week leading up to her appointment,
we were sad and upset and worried, and her own moods reflected that, I think. I think it's why she
seemed so depressed. And now that we've got a diagnosis and are ourselves learning how to adapt to
having a blind dog in the house, we are much more relieved and happy and she has perked right up
along with us.
I wanted to thank you for this website. The tips listed here have really helped me think about and
deal with my girl losing her eyesight, and some of them are already helping her learn to maneuver
our apartment successfully.