Hopefully you've already read part one, which summarises how and why Bear lost his eyes and his sight. In this post, I'm going to talk about how little Bear has coped. So this little one has been incredibly brave. I try to find the positives in every situation, and I guess we and Bear were lucky that he didn't go blind in both eyes at once overnight. With his conditions, his sight did deteriorate, which seemed to happen gradually, so he did manage to adapt a bit. Luckily for him, dog's other senses are really amazing, so his senses of smell, hearing, and also touch, took over. I also like to think everything happens for a reason, and, although our other little elderly dog, Peach, is a bit of a hooligan at times, I like to think the universe sent him to help Bear, as Bear can sense and follow him!
Bear losing his second eye, and therefore becoming completely blind, wasn't the best timing, as we were soon to be moving house! The dogs did get to visit our new property a few times before it all happened, so he got to familiarise himself to a certain extent, and animals are so much better and quicker at adapting than we are, so little Bear just got on with it. We do have to be conscious about where we plonk things down, as although he can sense things well, new objects in his path can understandably throw him off a bit!
Bear and I have a very good bond, so particularly at first, I made sure to communicate with him a lot verbally, trying to forewarn him of any potential danger, and he seemed to grasp the concept of "look out!"! I'd also reward and encourage him with treats regularly, so he was positively reinforced, which kept him motivated. I was considering investing in a harness which has a 'halo' of plastic wire to protect their heads from bumping into things, but he's adapted so well, it wasn't necessary.
I was never really sure how much Bear would be able to do following the op's, however, he's constantly amazing me and learning. He enjoys having a play every now and again, and he's brilliant at finding his mini tennis balls by sniffing them out (even knowing exactly where they are when they've rolled under a sofa!), or listening to where they've dropped. The boys have some little steps so they can climb onto my bed, and he manages those absolutely fine. I've even taken him out on walks, which I wasn't sure if he'd cope with at first. I always walk my dogs on harnesses to protect their necks, and I tended to keep Bear on a fairly tight contact on the lead so he could feel me on the other end, however, he soon started walking like 'a normal dog'! He generally sticks close to my heal (mostly because I positively reinforce him for staying close), but when I felt it was safe, I've had him off-lead, and he's recently been walking with a canine friend of a similar size, and he enjoyed a play with him (very brief as he couldn't see him to sustain it!)! It was so lovely to see, as he used to enjoy being with other similar dogs to him and I just assumed he wouldn't really get to enjoy that as much now. I'm so proud of my little dog son, and so thankful he still has a great quality of life and gets to enjoy lots of the things he did in the past!