In my research prior to fostering my first special-needs dog, I learned that a deaf dog is first a dog, second a breed (or mix), and third deaf (or blind, or crippled). Lily, my foster Catahoula/German Shepherd mix has been in my house for 48 hours, and I’m amazed at how quickly the dog has settled in. When I first brought her home, I took her into the garden in the area reserved for the dog toilet to relieve herself. I took her there about two or three times before going to bed.
On the following day I put her on her leash when we woke up, and the first thing she did was to run over to the “potty” side of the yard to relieve herself! She now has access to the entire house off-leash, but supervised, and in the 48 hours that she’s been in my house, she hasn’t once had an accident in the house.
Unfortunately for Lily, deafness is but one of her issues. I discovered that she has really poor eyesight. Aside from crashing into things, she does not recognize people’s features. I had her at the vets today, and the vet techs and doctor walked passed her a zillion times, and she lunged and barked at them a zillion times. Now she’s not an aggressive dog, because each time the individuals held out their hands to her she wagged her tail and was all wiggly with them. However, this will be an issue for her as most people read this behavior as aggression. I know that she only sees shadows coming towards her, and she doesn’t know what it all means. Barking and lunging is her best defense.
Then there’s the issue of her bones, her skeleton. In the initial hours that she was in my home, I showed her around on-leash. She stubbed her paw on an empty metal bucket, and started holding up the paw. I thought it was odd, especially the next day when she was very reluctant to put her weight on the paw. Because Friday was a public holiday in Jamaica, I had to wait until Saturday before I could take her to the vet. X-rays showed that she had broken her toe from that innocuous stub of the toe.
With Lily’s poor vision that makes her crash into stuff and trip over objects, and her weak bones, I have a huge challenge on my hands.
However, she is a real love bug who has just fitted right into my household and wormed her way into my heart.