Bartok is a 6-pound, blind and deaf terrier mix. We don’t know any history about this boy, just that he was a stray and really needed a loving home. Bart would be coming into a home with another dog who had been the only dog his whole life so I was nervous about introducing them, but the folks at Old Dog Haven gave me excellent advice on how to make the introduction and adjustment. While keeping an eye on Bart as he got used to his surroundings, I otherwise left him alone to settle in, giving extra attention to my other dog, Remy.
It worked! The two don’t interact that much except when Remy hovers over Bart while he eats hoping he will leave tidbits behind. Bart is a messy eater so that’s usually the case. They did share a bed once because it was big and the only one. I think Bart would be happy to curl up with Remy but Remy’s not there yet. Still, I’m hopeful.
Bart was quick to settle in and get comfortable with his surroundings. Bart did and does bump into things and I scrambled to doggy-proof my house and backyard when he first arrived. I didn’t realize how many dangers lurked around every corner for a dog who can’t see. Thank heavens for baby gates! He loves to sleep, eat and wander around the house. In the beginning he had to go outside 2-3 times in a night to go potty, but when he had his physical, it was discovered he had a bladder infection. After a round of antibiotics the infection disappeared and so did the nighttime trips outside. His teeth are bad but he had an EKG to be sure his little heart is strong enough and is scheduled for a full dental. His jaw is crooked which might be due to severe dental disease. He hates having his mouth touched but probably because it hurts. I’m hoping that will be better after the dental so it will be easier to wash his face. As I said, he’s a messy eater.
Bart is a happy little dog and has gained strength these past months. He has better balance when he walks, and climbs the back stoop with greater ease than when he first arrived. I never tire of watching him come in from outside and dash through the kitchen to the living room like he has someplace urgent to be, though he wears out quickly and completely. I also never tire of looking at his tiny feet. They are the size of my thumb and don’t offer him much stability. When he shakes, as dogs do, he knocks himself off balance.
During the day he sleeps in a bed in front of an electric fireplace in my office. There’s another fireplace in the living room and he often stops to stare at the flames. He has cataracts so is mostly blind, but seems to see movement out of the corner of his eyes, and startles when something suddenly comes into view. One day he was startled by something in his way, so he jumped over it. There was nothing there but it was a well executed jump and a testament to how much stronger he is now than when he first arrived.
Having two dogs who don’t do stairs, and having a LOT of stairs, it is a coordinated effort to get them both down to the street when we go for a walk every day. He’s also been to the beach and on several road trips and is always a joy to have along.
I am very thankful to share my home with this little fellow – quite the personality! Our thanks to Old Dog Haven for all the support and getting this boy into the best health possible.
Update: Little Bartok’s health suddenly failed after 9 wonderful months and his new family had to say good bye. He was such a wonderful character and will be greatly missed.