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Poor Bandit, I learned so much while trying everything I could to make his life comfortable and if not for the brain tumor being so advanced he may still be walking amongst us now. Unfortunately that was not to be and he was taken from us suddenly and without warning.  But while he was with us he taught me so much on how to comfort, and help him.  Bandit was the first dog I had ever fostered directly from a owner surrender in such dire straights. When the call came in and I meet with the owner's son, I was told the original owner had passed away and the family and taken in the dog. a  couple of weeks before. But they had no idea what to do with the dog. With great relief they handed him off to me. I took one look at him and headed for the vet. I was not even sure if he would live much longer, much less why he was blind or how he became that way.  It was not until the vet examined him that I even knew that he was totally blind.  

Research into how to help a frightened blind dog, did give me a lot of suggestions on how to protect Bandit from getting hurt, while he learned his way around his new environment. At the time, we had no idea if he would regain his strength and will to live. But I was determined to try anything that would help him give him a reason to not only survive, but to gain confidence and his will to live. 

 To protect him, I lined the inside of his crate with bubble wrap and kids floor foam blocks, to safely and slowly let him learn (map) his BANDIT 8985way around  his crate and the space on the out side of the crate.  I put up a x-gate fencing (portable metal fencing bought in most pet stores as a portable fence system) around his crate also with bubble wrap.  

This gave him the opportunity to slowly learn his way around the area. Most Bostons will not need this much protection but as we learned he not only was blind, but had a brain tumor. With this understanding of his health, I knew we would need to use every trick in the book to keep him safe, healthy and happy.

 In our research we learned all sorts of things to help a newly blinded dog, Although many did not help us with Bandit, many ideas once adapted, did provide him with some relief.

 Some of the ideas to help a new member adjust to a new envornment were:

As with all dogs, try to have something familiar to the dog -- toy, blanket, bed, etc. -- for comfort in a strange new place.

Another suggestion is that you should provide the dog with something with your scent on it at least a few days before getting the dog. If there are other pets in the household you should consider providing something like a blanket with the other pets smells on it Remember: a dog's 1st sense is smell, 2nd is hearing, 3rd is sight.

Make use of different textures.¹ I had no idea what to do, so after asking around I learned of a lot of things I could have had done, if i had known Bandit was going to join us. In his case we did not have these options.

Do not be shy in asking for ideas. Each dog and environment is different, what works for one, will not work as well for another. I have seen some blind dogs who had mapped their world so well they were running up and down the stairs, and dodging table and chair legs so well you could not tell he was blind. When I first saw this example of a well adjusted totally blind dog, it only went to emphasis to me how bad Bandits case really was. The shock of reality to me was devastating. I had to face facts. Before meeting this well adjusted dog, I had not realized how much bandit was effected by the tumor.


Provide a base
Keep a bed in rooms the dog is most comfortable. Maybe one in the bedroom, and one in the family room. A crate with an open door provides a safe haven. Put a mat under food and water dishes. The texture of the mat will help the dog identify where his food and water are orientated. Locate something in the main area of the home that the dog can always hear so that he can orient himself to that. A small fountain or a clock that actually takes works well. Do not move your furniture or leave items out of place on the floor. Remember a place for everything and everything in its place. 

bubblewrapw  Shelf liner or bubble wrap can also be used under food and water bowls, in doorways.  Use mats or bubble wrap as "landing pads" in a familiar place for a small dog that is often picked up. The list of ideas to help your blind dog that can be found just by asking is wonderful here are a few more useful ways to help your dog adjust. Don't pick up small dog, carry around, and then just put it down anywhere -- they will be lost. Use a landing pad. (it is suggested each room have a point of orientation. "a target mat" or as they are sometimes called "a landing pad." 

Small pet beds can also be used as landing pads in rooms the dog is usually in. You might use one particular scent under the bed to make it easier to find. If you use a ramp, make sure there is a raised edge so the dog doesn't step off the side.



eve 9313


Resources You may want to check out..
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 (