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New to the family

You are so excited! You are bringing in a new Boston into your family, perhaps a foster from your local rescue or a dog you have adopted from a local shelter. But this new dog is extra special, and it is hard to stay calm. From the first the moment you saw her photo, you knew this was the dog you had been  wanting for. You have meet her and it is a dream come true. You and your family are eager to get her home.


She is perfect, except for one thing. She is sight impaired and possibly in the future may go blind. Well, you have to admit, that crushed you and the family at first, but after talking to others that have blind dogs; you have been assured that most dogs adapt to the point that it is hard to believe that there is any problem with them at all! You even took the time to meet a family who proudly introduced you to their totally blind dog. Wow! he was amazing.


If you had not been told you were observing a totally blind dog, you would have never known. You wereBANDIT9122 even cautioned by this family, that it may not be smooth sailing for your new Boston. However, if you  have prepared your home for her, and did some research, you could help her adapt quickly. So for the last couple days (You gave you and your family three days to get everything ready for her.), you had been reading books. You went so far as to talk to your vet and talked to other friends, some on social media for ideas, hints, and support groups. Your family discovered there was a lot of blind dogs and sight impaired dogs out there living long happy productive lifes.


Naturally, you hesitated, dang it! You even tried to put her out of your mind, it was hard... But the kids, they would not let you...  When they learned she was almost blind, instead of the reaction you had thought they would have had, they were even more eager to bring her home. They promised to help anyway they could to learn about any special requirements she might have. Finally after a couple days delay, you gave in. They were right, this was the right dog and everyone could feel it. " Okay"  You told the family, "but only if you help me make a few changes, so we know she will be safe." 


The kids were jumping up and down in joy and making lots of noise like excited kids always do. The eldest suddenly grabbed the sleeve of her sibling almost causing him to fall down. He gave her one of those "What the heck" kind of looks "shh!!!" she exclaimed " If she was here you would have scared her! You have to grow up, and learn to be excited in a quieter way. You know what the book, said." She gave her brother one of those big sister knows best looks. Josh in return, jerked his sleeve out of her grasp, and glared at her. He stepped back and almost responded in his usual way, that normally would have started a sibling squabble.


But then, he glared at her, glanced at me and raced over to the couch, were they had thrown the book, on blind dogs, that they had previously been fighting over. "I bet I know more than you do, on how to make this house save for her!" He exclaimed to his sister "Look we need to do this now! " Then as if to reassure themselves that you had not changed your mind, they both gave you one of their "pleading" glances. and disappeared behind a chair.


You stood there trying to keep up with their sudden change of attitude. The kids were already on all fours crawling through the living room, with their eyes closed, pretending they were a blind dog. Only because you had already, unknown to the kids, read the book, along with doing some research on your own, did you have any idea, what on earth they were doing.


HUNTERCHRISTYHEATONYour new friends, who owned the blind dog, had also cautioned you, " to ensure that your sight impaired dog, remains safe, especially while she learns her way around her new environment".  To help you they had given you the book the kids were so busy studying.  Both the kids you observed, were already trying to out do the other, of  their knowledge on how to prepare their new Boston's home.


You had to admit you were happy to let them to do this part. "First, get down on the floor and crawl around at the dog's eye level to find anything that might be dangerous."  Yep, Sometimes it is useful to have eager kids wanting to help; and this was one of them. With your bad knees, you would never  have enjoyed this part as much as the kids are.


You smiled as you slipped your camera out of your pocket and took a quick video... Just might come in handy later on as a surprise when the grandparents come to visit..You remembered also the suggestions; "To really make a learning game for the kids, blindfold them and tell them to go from point a to point b,. to help them understand how hard it will be at least the first week or so, to locate the main paths in the house. 


" Hey kids, you may want to try this next." As you start to reach for some kitchen towels close by.  "You need to try this too, Make a list of all the danger areas we need to work on."  Before you could even finish, they had already eagerly started tying the towels over their eyes. This game was suppose to help them to appreciate the dogs special needs.


As you fondly watched the kids bumping into each other and some of the furniture, you were making  mental notes where the sharp corners were. You were advised,  "Not to wait until the dog walks into your home to decide on a specific area that will the dog's home base; an area where it can be contained. Consider having a crate there for it to sleep and eat in  at least till it learns to map out the rooms."


Guess you better find out what size crate she will need; then there will be food bowls, noisy toys, crate pads and a blanket, lead, halter, just for starters.. Tomorrow you decided you and the kids will go to the pet store and pick up these items. Oh yes, you will also need to find out what kind of dog food to buy her And maybe even a doggie door..  She will be entering your life's in two days!!  You better get you act together.




If you have or are considering getting a sight impaired or blind dogs:

Get Living with Blind Dogs by Caroline Levin ( Great resources for learning and asking questions from others with blind or sight impaired dogs is Blinddogs list at Yahoo!Groups (