The Blind Dog Chronicles is a series highlighting life with our newly blind dog, Houdini.
We have a sweet little 7-yr-old “chi-weenie” named Houdini, who went blind about six months ago. Just flat out, all the way blind - within one month. There were hints that month, but since dogs can’t tap you on the shoulder and say, “hey my vision is going, can I get some help here?” we had no idea.
In all honesty, I had begun to be annoyed as he took longer for outside walks. He seemed to just wander around, then take his time getting back inside. And I didn’t think much about him not wanting to come down the stairs. But, I knew something was wrong when I put a treat right in front of his face and he bit at the air. Our vet sent us to a specialist. After the specialist examined Houdini, he looked at me and matter-of-factly said,
“Your dog is blind and there is nothing I can do.”
I was stunned. Yes, I knew something was off, but I had no idea that in a heartbeat what we had been witnessing would be so permanent. Compassion flooded my heart. I thought of the mornings I expected him to rush around, while he was just trying to find the door. Here was a little dog that was rapidly going blind and couldn’t tell anyone, yet his owners expected him to act the same as always.
Houdini has taught me volumes since losing his vision - mainly how to see others with ultimate compassion. Everyone is just doing the best they can. I’ve learned how to slow down, to build in extra time to sniff around and that it’s okay to take it easy going up and down the stairs.
That day we left the specialist’s office; it was as if he knew we knew. He was instantly calmer. We are settling into our new normal and accepting his loss of sight without losing sight of what a wonderful pet he is. As a family, we are taking time for fun firsts. We took Houdini to Lake Hefner to run on the shoreline - he ran as fast as he could with nothing to bump into. It was pure joy to see him run without limits.
I can’t get the old adage, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” off my mind. Houdini offered me a chance to see that things can change right in front of your own eyes, without you even knowing. We all know that change is the only constant. How will you adapt to the unexpected firsts in your life? Will you be open to honoring the blessings that may be wrapped deep in those unexpected, even unwanted firsts?
This article was originally published for St. Luke's Daily Devotionals series in April 2015.